Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Dr. Walter von Lucadou

Dr. Walter von Lucadou

In this new article Walter von Lucadou and Franziska Wald discuss counseling work with persons that have had a variety of “extraordinary” experiences in Germany: “Extraordinary Experiences in its Cultural and Theoretical Context.” International Review of Psychiatry, 2014, 26, 324-334. For reprints write to the authors:  

Franziska Wald

Franziska Wald

Here is the abstract:

The growing complexity, opaqueness and specialization of many areas of life and – above all – a booming psychological and esoteric market create the necessity for counselling and advice for individuals who encounter so-called ‘paranormal’ experiences. These experiences are often interpreted as ‘transpersonal’ or ‘spiritual’, depending on the cultural background and religious traditions. The term ‘spiritual crisis’ has become a fashionable diagnosis with some transpersonal psychotherapists. Paranormal experiences, regardless of their acceptance of academic psychology and psychiatry, are still a taboo subject in society. The Parapsychological Counselling Office in Freiburg is a professional unit with governmental support, which helps individuals to cope with such experiences adequately. The work and responsibilities of the counselling centre are presented. A large collection of cases in the form of letters, which were sent in by individuals wanting to communicate their unusual or extraordinary experiences have been analysed. Some of the results are reported here. Finally, we discuss a special form of ‘inexplicable experiences’ based on a theoretical model. Its recommendations seem counter-intuitive but are ultimately successful. The model starts from a system-theoretical viewpoint and uses concepts such as complementarity and entanglement of generalized quantum theory (GQT) and the model of pragmatic information (MPI). Since it turned out that individuals who contact the counselling centre also offer their own interpretations and ‘explanation’, the question arises, how these resources can be used to help clients.