Some small extracts from Courtenay Young's book on Spiritual Emergence & Emergencies (a work in progress)


The purpose of this book is to give background experience in the thinking behind and about what are called Spiritual Emergence Processes and Spiritual Emergencies. It is also to link this into current thinking about and techniques of working with people in crisis, with borderline psychoses, and stress and trauma work. The book looks at some of the socio-political considerations surrounding how we view people in crisis and what can be done to work with this. Many examples are drawn from the author's experiences over 15 years of working as the resident psychotherapist at the Findhorn Foundation, an international spiritual "New Age" community in Scotland. The book is interspersed with quotations and extracts from amny books that give a holographic picture of this field of human development and growth, much cted and even margnalised in our society. The lay-out and structure of the book is that the chapters have no particular order, but there are many links with other chapters and sections which are indicated within a three-dimensional relationship.

Selected Samples:

  Layout & Structure
  Trauma & Stress;
  People Who Walk in Many Worlds;
  The Result of Transformation;
  Facing The Shadow;
  Foucault on Madness;
  ReHumanising Psychiatry;
  Psychic Self-Protection:

This book has an interesting structure

The first idea of a circular book was suggested to me by Helen Davis, a South African object-relations psychotherapist who founded The Minster Centre psychotherapy training school in North London, and who I had the privilege to work with for a few years in the early 1980's in many different ways. She suggested this circular drawer that I describe below as a possible structure for a book she was thinking of writing. I am not sure if it is out yet, and in what structure it is.

Some years later, just before a Body-Psychotherapy Congress in Strasbourg in 1993, I woke up in the middle of the night with a dream or revelation of this developed structure, which has stayed with me, and which I try to describe here. However, as I write the book I am aware of many other relationships, which make a three-dimensional model seem inadequate. I don't know where that idea came from, as I hadn't thought about Helen's concept for many years. So I respect her inspiration and expand the concept a bit here.

However, since then we have had the development of CD-ROMs for computers and CD-ROM books and informational displays which have not just text, illustrations and even speech and music but also interactive components and embedded links. Subsequently I think that this book is actually much better suited to a CD-ROM - or even website - version of the book, without the sequential aspect of text bound into pages, and the exciting possibilities of the more multi-media approach with all the multi-media and interactive elements etc. informing the text. But you might have to wait a year or so for that.

So, envisage if you will, a long filing drawer with a number of related suspension files. Within each file is a sequential piece of writing, that we will call a 'chapter' of this book. The files hang one in front of the other and so the chapters have between each other a certain sequential relationship - but it is quite two dimensional. Chapter 1 is followed by Chapter 2 and so forth.

The proximity of one chapter to another like this excludes the possibility of another file, section or chapter being there - it would have to be somewhere else in the sequence. And it is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to have a choice point, without a lot of elaborate explanation. In this sort of two dimensional sequence it is very difficult to cater for a Chapter 2, followed by either Chapter 3.1 or Chapter 3.2. and the natural sequence from Chapter 3.1 to Chapter 3.1.1 and so on, gets in the way of the Chapter 2 to Chapter 3.2 alternative link, or other possibilities. I will call this sort of alternative route a "fork" for the moment. It is quite common in a linear progression over time like in project management. But not so common in books, though there was a fad for multi-choice books for a while in the mid-80s.

Graphically a couple of fairly simple forks might look something like this:


But just try to arrange this (with any other forks: viz Chapter 2.1) into a linear sequence of pages between two covers. It gets very complicated, however this is often our reality. The information in Chapter 1 may well relate directly to both Chapter 2 and 2.1 (in the example) and similarly for Chapter 2 to both Chapter 3.1 and to Chapter 3.2. Each of these has a natural sequence developing on to Chapters 3.1.1 and 3.2.1 , as shown above. And then I have conveniently shown them all coming together into a Chapter 4. Complicated to physically relate to in a series of files in our example of a cabinet or chapters in a book. And we are still only two dimensional.

The actual information in this book, as in life, might possibly have a three (or even four) dimensional set of relationships. Take for example a chapter about a piece of psychotherapeutic theory (we will call 'Chapter 5'). There may be information that exists "above" and "below" our theoretical chapter - that which is more (say) socio-political and/or archetypal (Cpt 5.a) which would inform the theory and could fall into one of these categories. The other may be a more personal and experiential section (Cpt 5.b), and could illustrate it. If these are signifcant sections, they might form chapters themselves. Then we could even have a historical development, and show that over time (fourth dimension) there are significant influences as well, both past (Cpt 5: [-1]) and potential (Cpt 5:{+1}). So a very simple example might look something like this: and thus with just one chapter there maybe three of four different axes of relationship.

So things are getting a little complicated. Back to our filing drawer with its sequence of chapters, one after the other. So now, if we bend the drawer around into a circle and join it up, there is now no real start; no real finish, but a number of related 'chapters' in a circle. Does our "Chapter 1" and "Chapter 2" have a great deal of significance, or should we use a North, South, East, West type of classification system. The full Compass Rose has about 32 specific directions, some of them a little arcane and complicated like North-North-West by West. It might work, if you know a hawk from a hansaw.

So now let us try now to move into three dimensions. Copy this circular filing drawer up a level, and down a level. So that now we have three tiers; a bit like a wedding cake perhaps. A section of the book, a 'chapter', can directly relate to the section either side of it, in its same drawer or tier. But it can also relate to sections or "chapters" in the tiers directly above and below it. This means that we can consider (say) the overall theory ('top tier') as well as the underlying practice, ('bottom tier'), relating to a number of different, but related theoretical subjects. An illustration could look something like this:


Take a theory chapter, (for example) Trauma and Stress, and locate it in the second tier and give it a particular location (say) South West (dark grey shading), and then on the same level in the circle other nearby & related sections are thus further west towards West-South-West & further south towards South-South-West, all in the same tier and give the various layers or tiers a number and this particular chapter on Trauma and Stress is now located at South-West 2 (SW2). It can relate sideways west to Overcoming Addictions (WSW 2) (dotted shading) or sideways the other way to Facing The Shadow (SSW 2) (stripy shading) . Given three dimensions now, the Chapter on Trauma and Stress at SW2 can also relate down to PTSD (SW3) (medium grey shading) and upwards to the top tier and the chapter on Psychic Self Protection (SW1) (medium grey shading). It might also have a significant overlapping relationship (shown in the diagonal arrow) towards a chapter on Working with A Crisis Group (WSW3)(lighter grey shading).

We thus have a set of operational three-dimensional relationships within the subject. And this is how I have tried to structure the book, though it is not particularly important as your main experience is still a sequence of numbered pages. However it might help you to get around and every so often there is a little diagram giving the spatial relationships, similar to that described above. So I hope that this explanation helps a little.

As I write all this I can also feel myself getting very excited about a CD-ROM version of this book - with illustrations, music, film clips, interactive sections, and embedded links - where a click on an button with an arrow like this * here or an underlined section of text, like on a website, takes you to a relevant or related section somewhere else, or to a whole set of footnotes, or to ........ indeed anywhere. We shall see - or watch this space ! Enough already !

Any further information is available from enquiries'at' (Please replace the 'at' with an @. Thank You)

Trauma & Stress;

Role of the Therapist

Anybody in a therapeutic contact with a victim needs to be able to say, live and breathe, the morality that this trauma should not have happened. A protecting compassionate parent is a good model. Callousness is abusive. Indifference is abusive. Too great an indignation may mean that the therapeutic person's own agendas are running, which is also abusive in the long term. This stance is also not a morality of judgment against those who traumatised the victim. It is all too easy to demonise and condemn the aggressor, be it the incest perpetrator, or Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, or Idi Amin, these 'perpetrators' of wars. However, we all also know that it takes a whole political, social and economic environment to create a war. These wars are not fought by these individuals themselves. In the same way, we need to look at the wider environment of the victim.

Carolyn Myss, in a supervision group to a number of therapists at Findhorn, talking about sexual abuse say, 'Whatever you do, don't judge. For all you know - and I am not saying this is the truth - but for all you know, these two souls may have been in a million-year dance with each other. Lifetime after lifetime, one may have eaten the other. They may have killed the first one. And so on. You may be seeing just one round. Don't 'judge.'

It is also equally important not to 'land a trip' onto the victim, or imply in any way, or even allow the person to imply, that there is any blame to be had on behalf of the victim. Our New Age consciousness that allows us to 'be responsible' for things that happen to us, is totally inappropriate here. If we get a cold, we may not have been looking after ourselves properly. But this does not apply to being caught up in a earthquake; living in a country where, by standing up for your views, you are imprisoned and tortured; or at 5 years old being raped night after night by an adult male. Don't even think about landing this type of responsibility onto someone. It is abusive. It is probably you dumping your guilt and inability to prevent such occurrences onto them. Nasty, countertransferential, and totally inappropriate. If they, at some significant point in their healing process, of their own accord, and when they are ready, choose consciously to look at what they might have done differently, that is their process.

Much better that you are there to receive their transference; their rage. 'Why didn't you (people) do something to stop this happening to me ?' Don't argue, apologise ! ' Yes, it is terrible that (we) didn't stop this. You have every right to be angry. I am so sorry I was not there for you then. That I could not help you then.' It is a matter of integrity. In order to integrate, one needs to be surrounded with integrity. This is one of the main therapeutic roles.


People Who Walk in Many Worlds

Now if we are not told that there is a boundary line between those who experience only one world and those who experience more than one world, or if we are not told that these 'countries of the mind' exist and if it is continually denied that these states of consciousness are actually a legitimate part of a wider reality, then our experience of them makes us 'insane' as sanity is defined as not experiencing these altered states of consciousness.

If however we were to legitimise them and our society accepts not only their existence but even their usefulness, then not to experience these states becomes an 'insanity' or even de-humanization. In T.C. McLuhan's book,Touch the Earth, in which she collects direct sayings of North American Indians, one such is quoted;

The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship os all creatures and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilisation. And when native man left off this form of development, his humanization was retarded in growth. Chief Luther Standing Bear

I am making two points here, somewhat simultaneously. One is that many altered states of consciousness involve an awareness of multi-dimensional realities. The second is that altered states of consciousness are perhaps a necessary part of the transformational process. At some point they are inextricably interwoven but I will stay with the 'many worlds' aspect for the moment and return to the second point a bit later.

I want for a moment to carry on the point about denial. A friend of mine who used to run the Spiritual Emergence Network at Menlo Park in California, told me this story. She was rung up on the Help-line one day by a little old lady from Texas who said, 'God came and sat in my head last Christmas. Can you help me?' Jeneane asked her what her experience of 'God sitting in her head' actually meant and was told that this woman experienced knowing what people were thinking when they approached her and knowing what was going to happen before it happened. The Grofs (who founded SEN) would describe this as a 'Psychic Opening'.

However the woman went on to say that why she needed help was, 'My preacher says that I am of the Devil. My women's group say that I am a witch and my husband doesn't want to know.'

Her actual experiences did not cause her any real difficulty. In her terminology, 'God came and sat in her head'. She had her own label for a direct spiritual (or religious) experience. She did not indicate any difficulty or fear with these phenomena. She was experiencing some sort of multi-dimensional reality where she had some sort of telepathic awareness and precognition.


The Result of Transformation

It is quite easy to talk about the process of transformation, and I hope that I have been doing so quite pertinently. However what about the result ?
The result may not look very different at first. Here is a typical Zen koan. 'Before Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. After Enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.'
However the person, and usually the people around that person, definitely notice a difference. So, what do we mean by Transformation? What are we trying to invoke?
Carolyn Myss says: “Be very careful what you invoke? You have about 10 seconds in which to take it back.” There is another archetypal story of the Kangaroo who wanted to be changed in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Just-So Stories.” Not all change that happens is as we want it.
The Dalai Lama speaks of Transformation in these terms: “Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform the calamity and misfortune into the path. & In the beginning of Buddhist practice, our ability to serve others is limited. The emphasis is on healing ourselves, transforming our minds and hearts. But as we continue, we become stronger and increasingly able to serve others. & The metaphor of light is a common image in all the major religious traditions. In the Buddhist context, light is particularly associated with wisdom and knowledge; darkness is associated with ignorance and a state of mis-knowledge. ”
These quotations, different views, and ideas mean – to me – that we need to get a sense of where we are going, but not necessarily a fixed image of where we will end up. There is no real ‘Celestial City’ where everything will be wonderful and we will be transformed, if we can only get there. The real transformation happens, I believe, when we learn to “travel well,” with those encounters with our suffering, with the ability to heal ourselves and also help others, with the emphasis on the light of knowledge – “knowing ourselves” – and the wisdom that comes from that knowledge.

Facing The Shadow

Demonic Possession I was in the hot tub the other evening and there was a young man in it as well who was a friend of my son. We were chatting gently and he asked me whether I was trained in Psychosynthesis as he had recently started a three-year training in Counseling. He described how some of the training was experientially difficult as well as being good. I made a comment to the effect that this was why it was 'A Road Less Travelled'. He responded that that was one of the first books he had read and how he had enjoyed it. I replied that I had also - 'enjoyed' was not quite the word - appreciated Scott Peck's second book, 'The People of the Lie' which was a psychological study of evil. At which point this young man asked me about the Exorcism & Demonic Possession element in that book.

I found myself describing a spectrum, similar to the spectrum of abuse. There a a great variety of childhood abuses: from disrespect, to physical violence, to emotional cruelty, to sexual abuse, to soul murder. There is a spectrum; not necessarily in that order. Similarly there is a spectrum in Facing Our Shadow. Much of what I have already written about is more at one end of the spectrum. We work through our 'shadow' stuff, more often than not our childhood defence mechanisms, and we discover that we need to find more appropriate alternatives. We also find sometimes the benefits within them. Everything has too sides.

Further up the spectrum, there may be benefit in exploring the destructive rage that we all have within us somewhere, usually buried very deep. We might imagine this a demon. It may be useful to really feel this, to embody it for a few moments in a safe situation. I have described elsewhere a Holotropic Breathwork session where I became such a demon, as large as the demon in Fantasia, and where it took four large strong men to hold me down. All through this experience, which was very therapeutic, I had a conscious link with consensual reality. I knew what was happening. I could have stopped it, and I let it happen. The people around knew what was happening and said that it was O.K. for me to continue.

Further along the spectrum, someone may get into such spaces without such links or safeguards. It might be spontaneous. It might be because of a 'bad trip'. It might be because they wanted to experience the power in such an archetype without owning any of the responsibilities. There are many routes into such spaces. This would look very like demonic possession.

As a therapist, working with such a person who was caught in such a space and was unable to help themselves, I would have to make, or to forge, some links and bridges with the person in that space. I would have to enter their world, in some way. I would have to use their imagery in some way to make contact with them, and them, perhaps, to help them out, back into this world. I might even have to make their world untenable, as a last resort. This would look very like an exorcism.

Now I have no specific information or experience as to whether people can actually be possessed by demonic entities or malevolent spirits à la Dennis Wheatley, ritual magic, Hammer films, or fantasy novels. I really don't know. I believe it is possible, but as yet, not within my experience (thankfully). Whether these being exist depends much upon your belief systems. If Scott Peck has had such experience, and you can find similar accounts in other psychotherapeutic type writings 1, then he is better able to speak about it than I am. However I also believe that a large part of so-called demonic possessions can also be accounted for by other means.

For example, there is strong evidence that the well-recorded events in Salem, Mass. in the 17th century, can be accounted for by plotting the location of the people's (who were possessed) homes, the production of rye, and the possibility of it being contaminated by ergot (a hallucinogenic fungus found on mouldy rye grain). This was done in one study I saw and which I now don't have the reference for. I believe that there has been another study which correlates similar events, wet summers and the production of rye and finds a very high correlation.

There are also events and circumstances for which I have no explanation. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."


Foucault on Madness


Where people can be objectified into madmen, sick or criminals, they can then be treated in ways which, to an extent, dehumanise them. There are cruelties that have been and still are practiced against the insane that result in a form of "moralizing sadism" - Foucault's phrase. The thought forms, the context, and the methods and procedures which allow and support this process are extremely critical. It is therefore very, very important to try to understand the details of this metamorphosis.

A similar sort of examination of dehumanising processes was applied by Sam Keen in his book, Faces of the Enemy, where he uses the images and iconography of the times to look at the ways in which the 'enemy' (whoever that is and that, of course, changes over time as well) is bestialised and demonised so as to justify, in its own way, the act of going to war with these 'non-humans', or evil monsters.

As soon as one takes someone like Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, heading a regime that one's country is supporting massively with arms and technology, and transforms him from an ally against the 'demonic' ayatollahs of Iran into someone you can call the 'Butcher of Baghdad', it then becomes legitimate to bomb him - only because you have dehumanised him - even though it means getting shot at by the weapons that one has previously given him. As soon as one classifies someone as insane, sick or criminal, there are a host of measures available to 'treat' this 'thing' which were unavailable when they were still a person. This is Foucault's essential theme.

But this does not mean that these views are any more correct than the views one condemns, whichever side of the argument one stands. Foucault is just as capable of being criticised by his own analysis as the forms of society that he criticises, as he would be the first to admit. We have to try to step outside of this duality, and see the wider picture. We have to try to be suspicious of the ground that we stand on so smugly and of the rightness of our views. However liberal or free-thinking that they are, they are also formed by the society that we are a part of, and therefore we have to be suspicious of them. They are fatally flawed - as is society.

A society that confines increasing numbers of people in prison; a world where there are more and more people carrying arms and fighting others; and a phenomenon of increasing numbers of people diagnosed as mentally ill and yet also either excluded from society totally, or, at a sudden political whim, thrown back into the millstream without proper support, as the asylums are almost universally closed down, cannot be described as a sane society.

Foucault concludes that the development of the concept of madness, first as form of social exclusion, and then as a medical and later a psychological concept, is a sham.

"What one discovers under the name of the 'psychology' of madness is merely the result of the operations by which one has invested it. ... It must not be forgotten that 'objective,' or 'positive,' or 'scientific' psychology found its historical origin and its basis in pathological experience. It was an analysis of duplications that made possible a psychology of the personality; an analysis of compulsions and of the unconscious that provide the basis for a psychology of consciousness; an analysis of deficits that led to a psychology of intelligence. In other words, man became a 'psychologizable species' only when his relation to madness made a psychology possible, that is to say, when his relation to madness was defined by the external dimension of exclusion and punishment and by the internal dimension of moral assignation and guilt. In situating madness in relation to these two fundamental axes, early-nineteenth-century man made it possible to grasp madness and thus to initiate a general psychology. ...

The whole epistemological structure of contemporary psychology is rooted in this event, which is contemporary with the French Revolution and which concerns man‚s relation to himself. 'Psychology' is merely a thin skin on the surface of the ethical world in which modern man seeks his truth - and looses it. Nietzsche, who has been accused of saying the contrary, saw this very clearly.

As a result. a psychology of madness cannot be but derisory, and yet it touches on the essential. It is derisory because, in wishing to carry out a psychology of madness, one is demanding that psychology should undermine its own conditions, that it should turn back to that which made it possible, and that it should circumvent what is for it, by definition, the unsuspected. Psychology can never tell the truth about madness because it is madness that holds the truth of psychology. And yet a psychology of madness cannot fail to move toward the essential, since it is obscurely directed toward the e point at which its possibilities are created; that is to say, it moves upstream against its own current toward those regions in which man has a relation with himself and inaugurates that form of alienation that turns him into Homo psychologicus. If carried back to its roots, the psychology of madness would appear not to be the mastery of mental illness and hence the possibility of its disappearance, but the destruction of psychology itself and the discovery of that essential, non-psychological because nonmoralizable relation that is the relation between Reason and Unreason.

It is this relation that, despite all the penury of psychology, is present and visible in the works of HÖlderlin, Nerval, Roussel, and Artaud, and that holds out the promise to man that one day, perhaps, he will be able to be free of all psychology and be ready for the great tragic confrontation with madness."

It is to this perspective that I write this book.


Rehumanising Psychiatry

In the introduction to his book, People, not Psychiatry, Michael Barnett writes:

Psychiatry is one of the nest of subsystems we call society. Actually society does not exist. It is just a metaphor for people like you and me acting in certain (patterned) ways, or socially. Likewise, psychiatry, as a concrete reality, does not exist. It is simply an elite group thinking and acting in patterns, with the rest of us colluding.

The process of diagnosis in psychiatry is to an extent political. Today's 'sick' are often the socially useless. Meanwhile power maniacs remain at large, frequently as social successes. ...... As for treatment and prescription in psychiatry, these are almost always politically defined. Political psychiatry says : when this happens or is so, this is done. To act otherwise is to feel in opposition, the crushing weight of mass and power attitudes.

But people are beginning to leave home in unprecedented numbers. In this case 'home' is the status quo, the way things are done. People are walking out on all this and taking decisions for themselves based - which society certainly isn't - on their own experience.

Out of this migration, this emergence or rebirth from the agglutinous suck of society, have come some real alternatives in or to psychiatry, or rather, to the healing of the psyche.

Rehumanising the insane.

In the late sixties, a movement started in London, growing out of the Human Growth Movement, Gestalt therapy, Bioenergetics, and encounter therapy groups, called 'People, Not Psychiatry'. It attempted to see, and show, people who were having psychiatric crises, that they were still people who needed everything that people need; safety, respect, etc. One positive action that arose out of this was the provision of places, alternatives to hospital wards, for people, so they stayed as people, and didn't become patients. This work later developed into the Richmond Foundation which continues to this day. Much of the thinking and theory behind this movement was informed by, if not directly inspired by, the Glaswegian psychiatrist, R. D. Laing.

Much of the following might be seen, out of context, as an attack on psychiatry. I have stated elsewhere that I think it has its good sides as well. There are certainly many dedicated and caring people that I know personally who are working in psychiatric services. I presume that these are replicated throughout the country. I am not attacking them. I am trying to present a broader spectrum. As Mike Barnett implies; to act otherwise, to suggest any opposition is to go against the system and exposes oneself to its crushing weight. This is very like the hold that the Inquisition had over religious thought in the 16th century. You had to toe the line or you got clobbered; witness what happened to Giordiani Bruno. So I state clearly. I am not anti people working in psychiatry. I am anti a monolithic, deific (all-knowing, all powerful) social institution where it dehumanises people. That this is done is incontestable.

The history of psychiatry is - as is the history of most disciplines - the history of the error of 'experts', mainly ignorant practitioners and unpracticed scholars. Mike Barnett recounts, as does Michael Foucault:

In its time psychiatry has used as therapeutics : the feeding of iron filings to patients to give them strength against attacks; the replacement of human blood with calf's blood to produce calm; the inoculation of scabies to give the brain's corruption an outlet - through the putrescent scabs - the consumption of soap and tartar to purify the system; constant cold baths to cleanse of impurity; rotary machines to drive out melancholy. As recently as the end of the last century castration was being used as a form of psychiatric cure. In this century, in the twenties, patients were being warned about the dire effects of masturbation.

And now we have leucotomy, lobotomy, electro-convulsive therapy and a whole plethora of drugs and medications, some of which have such nasty side-effects that it is necessary to take another type of drug to counter these

That is one end of the spectrum. Let us consider a band or area of possibilities. In the centre we find the area of (perhaps) highest concentration, which I have labelled 'Normalacy'. Around it we have an area of 'Abberation'. Some of these are 'natural aberrations': people grieving for the death of a loved one; people caught up in a disaster or a war; people who are alcoholic or drug users; people being given legitimate medications. Inside this area, are other smaller areas (shaded darkly). These might represent people with Alzheimer's, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia, and ordinary Depression, as well as some of the more bizarre mental illnesses such as Tourette's Syndrome, etc. These areas are what fall into psychiatry. Yet there is a well-documented case of a medical surgeon with Tourette's who flies a plane as well.

Eighty years ago, epilepsy would have been firmly in there. Nowadays it is more of a medical condition, admittedly because of the drugs that manage to control some types of epilepsy. Some are still uncontrollable, which the psychiatrists are loath to admit. And some, like temporal lobe epilepsy, actually mimic schitzophrenia and thus there are still a few people in psychiatric wards wrongly diagnosed.

Mechanistic methods, which are supposedly scientific, and many of which have been tested out first on animals, treat people like machines. There is an effect; apply something; the effect changes. However rats under stress (because they were tied down to a board) were given tranquillizers. They seemed then indifferent to their situation and much more passive. This is sufficient basis to start developing a human tranquillizer and calculate dosage. However stress hormones were still being produced in large quantities. The drug masked the effects.

'Talking cures', psychoanalysis and psychotherapy can only help a little as well. Most psychoanalysts and psychotherapists are not trained in extreme states and cannot handle people who are in anyway outside the perimeter of 'normalacy'. As their main emphases are on intellectual verbalisation and cognitive understanding, even though some psychotherapies encourage emotional expression, there are inbuilt limitations. The situation is somewhat artificial, and the therapist is often constrained by his or her own limitations and by 'professional standards', codes of ethics and the like. Quite rightly so. But it does not help the patient who may be in a very, very strange phantasmagorical place and needs help and understanding to get out, or to stay in and cope with it.


Psychic Self-Protection

Occasionally this is necessary. In my line of work, because I see a number of people in Spiritual Emergence and Spiritual Emergency Processes, it is frequently necessary. This is because they have no real idea what they are dealing - with a little like the Sourcerer's Apprentice. They have started something, which was at first beneficial, and now they don't know how to stop it. So they get into trouble and start having serious problems.

I have read a number of books and some of them are quite good. I list these at the end of the chapter. However the most beneficial things that I can do are:


I try to help the person understand that they know almost nothing. Rather than a diminution, this is actually a position of strength. It is a position of truth and grounded reality. From this position they can then begin to explore this new and wonderful world. But this exploration comes out more cautiously and healthily. Often there has been an initial enthusiasm as people open up to their psychic side. It is very heady stuff. It is often associated with a new romance, and feelings that you have known this person somewhere before. This may be true. There might be some karmic material; some reincarnational pattern. This is for later.

The first job is to get their feet back on the ground. Unfortunately this means (sometimes) deglamourising people's psychic 'stuff'. This does not mean that I am against this. I am quite psychic myself and have had a number of psychic experiences. These were, are marvelous. I have also been very frightened, and freaked out. We do not have many Mystery Schools left around nowadays to teach us how to use these gifts, these powers. In The Wizard of Earthsea, the young apprentice Mage, Ged, goes to the island of Roke at the centre of the world. Here there are various Mages, who each teach the apprentices various wonderful things. However there is also a lot of hard word, heavy learning, and rigorous controls. It takes a number of years.

Something of this rigour and discipline are necessary for the newly psychic person to take on. There has to be a step-by-step learning process. This must be done from a position of safety. If there is going to be exploration, confusion, mistakes, re-learning, shifting and sorting of arcane information, etc., then this should be done without the threat of psychiatric commitment, or in the emotional turmoil of a divorce.