Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center (http://rhine.org/)

Clinical aspects of exceptional, psychic and spiritual experiences continue to be discussed in scholarly journals. Here are two examples.

W. Fach, H. Atmanspacher, K. Landolt, T. Wyss, and W. Rossler. “A Comparative Study of Exceptional Experiences of Clients Seeking Advice and of Subjects in an Ordinary Population.” Frontiers of Psychology, 2013, 4, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575056/pdf/fpsyg-04-00065.pdf

 Abstract

 Exceptional experiences (EE) occur frequently within the populations of many countries and across various socio-cultural contexts. Although some EE show similarities with mental disorders, it would be a mistake to identify them in general as disorders. In fact, the vast number of individuals reporting EE includes subclinical and completely healthy subjects. We conducted a comparative empirical study of several characteristics of EE for two samples – one from ordinary population and the other from clients seeking advice. We found surprisingly similar phenomenological patterns of EE in both samples, but the frequency and intensity of EE for clients seeking advice significantly exceeded those for the ordinary population. Our results support the hypothesis of a continuous spectrum between mental health and mental disorder for the types of experiences analyzed.

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Renaud Evrard, “Psychopathologie et Expériences Exceptionnelles: Une Revue de la Littérature [Psychopathology and Exceptional Experiences: A Literature Review]. L’Evolution Psychiatrique, 2013, 78, 155-176. Reprints available from the author: evrardrenaud@gmail.com

Dr. Renaud Evrard

Dr. Renaud Evrard

Abstract

This literature review aims to introduce two fields, which have attracted over the last few decades, many researchers, mainly English- or German-speaking. “Anomalistic Psychology” examines paranormal beliefs, exploring them mainly through conventional psychological hypotheses. Among these hypotheses, several diagnostic categories have been examined: dissociation, trauma, schizotypy, among them. Psychopathology and these experiences maintains a complex relationship, not the least of which is the way in which they are named; “exceptional experiences” or anomalous experiences) in the academic literature. Understanding this relationship is key, especially because a “clinical practice for people living exceptional experiences” has emerged which is founded on some forms of differential diagnosis that may be relevant for clinical practice in general.

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