“The true opposites of belief, psychologically…are doubt and inquiry, not disbelief”
*HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED SOMETHING THAT APPEARS TO DEFY CONVENTIONAL RATIONAL EXPLANATION?
*HAS AN EVENT OR EXPERIENCE ALTERED YOUR PERCEPTION OF REALITY, CAUSING YOU TO QUESTION YOUR SANITY, OR THE MEANING/PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE?
*HAVE YOU SPONTANEOUSLY ACQUIRED [OR ACTIVELY CULTIVATED] HEIGHTENED INTUITIVE- PSYCHIC- ENERGETIC SENSITIVITIES OR SPIRITUAL HEALING ABILITIES? ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE DISCERNING, INTEGRATING, OR APPROPRIATING THESE GIFTS? ARE UNRESOLVED ISSUES “CLOUDING YOUR LENS” AND LIMITING YOUR POTENTIAL?
*ARE YOU UNSURE IF YOU’RE HAVING A BREAKDOWN OR A BREAKTHROUGH? DO YOU NEED SUPPORT BUT FEAR BEING LABELED, MEDICATED, OR HOSPITALIZED?
Where traditional (clinical) psychotherapy meets outside the box (psycho-spiritual/metaphysical/transpersonal/parapsychological) experiences, S.E.E. was conceived to help people through the entire range of non-ordinary/paradigm-shifting phenomenon.
A range of private, 1:1 individualized consultation, therapeutic, and exploratory services are available for those undergoing any and all potentially **SPIRITUALLY TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES (STEs).
Services such as:
Need help facing and parsing out what you’ve experienced? This is where to begin. Typically 1-6 sessions (more if needed), consultation focuses on thorough assessment, differential discernment (i.e. what is what? what may or may not have happened/be happening? what’s needed, etc), conceptualization (what does the experience mean?) and normalization of experience. For distance clients via phone or secure video or in-person clients not requiring or desiring a deeper level of care.
Have a decent grasp on what you’ve experienced but need a little more help? Psycho-spiritually-oriented counseling, usually once p/week utilizing a brief therapy model, builds on the goal of consultation with an emphasis on strengths-based adjustment and coping skills and initial consolidation & integration of experience. For in-person clients.
Experiencing significant distress/unwanted symptoms related to your experiences? Prior issues flaring up in the aftermath? Barely hanging on? S.E.E. and traditional clinical psychotherapy converge here in intensive integrative therapy for pre-existing trauma/unresolved conflicts, fears, worries, and/or attachment issues— to help foster maximum STE integration and improve optimal overall psycho-social functioning. For in-person clients only.
*N.O.S.C. EXPLORE (“Psi-Co-Therapy”):
(*Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness)
“When higher intelligence speaks, wisdom listens.” Receiving information/messages? Hearing (non-punitive/persecutorial) voices? Experiencing visions?… Got psi? N.O.S.C. EXPLORE (“Psi-Co-Therapy”) is where parapsychological principles, transpersonal thinking, burgeoning psychic potential, and consciousness exploration meet in a relational therapeutic context. After thorough assessment, and where desire and potential (mediumistic faculty) is apparent and stability/suitability/readiness is determined, participant-observer “sitting”/holding space is offered for organic practice and development of trance/mediumistic communication/channeling (or other similar psychical modes)– within the safety of a protected, clinically-supervised, open-minded/hearted space. Process can be aided by guided imagery/visualization, progressive relaxation, etc as needed. With follow up debriefing/processing and integration. Not a “how-to” as much as “set the stage, declare intention, see what happens.” For in person clients only.
*ADJUNCT HEALING SERVICES:
Need complementary healing and integration work? S.E.E. is in the process of establishing synergistic relationships with practitioners both local and beyond to aid in the healing and growth process of individuals undergoing STEs. Examples would be holotropic breathwork, bodywork, authenticated shamanic/energy healers, medical intuitives, integrative/holistic psychiatry, naturopathic physicians, evidential psychic mediums, energetic home clearers, and support groups for individuals encountering the extraordinary.
*CONSULTATION FOR PROFESSIONALS:
Are you a psychotherapist, mental health counselor or other alternative/allied health professional or coach working with someone in the throes of an STE? Need guidance, support or just a fresh perspective? Professional consultation is available via phone, secure video or in-person.
**What are Spiritually Transformative Experiences?
“There are no miracles that violate the laws of nature, only events that violate our limited knowledge of the laws of nature”
A potentially Spiritually Transformative Experience (pSTE) is any non-ordinary event or experience that profoundly impacts an individual’s perception of themselves and the world– by expanding the person’s identity and augmenting their sensitivities, often permanently altering one’s values, priorities, and fundamental view on the meaning and purpose of life. And these are not things only experienced by a small minority. A 2004 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 35.7% of the adult US population has had at least one religious or spiritual experience “that changed their life.” A 1979 study by the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield found that 40% of participants on a two-week meditation retreat reported unusual experiences such as rapture and visions. Kornfield states: “From our data it seems clear that the modern psychiatric dismissal of so-called “mystical” and altered states as psychopathology… is simply due to the limitations of the traditional Western psychiatric mental-illnesses oriented model of the mind.”
Such phenomena, when experienced, and without the right help, can lead to difficulty discerning whether one is breaking down, breaking through (or both). If one’s ego was healthy and functional before the crisis, a temporary breakdown just may need time and support to become a breakthrough. From a transpersonal (beyond the personal, or beyond the “mask”) perspective, many experiences– depression, anxiety, mania and other extreme states in particular– can be viewed as the psyche’s efforts toward spiritual emergence, and the soul’s quest for depth, meaning and wholeness. Ultimately, STEs are invitations to let go of unconscious patterns and remember our vast, collective, and unitive connection with all. As with many things, it depends largely on how the experience is conceptualized and approached.
Many STEs- in that their outward expression unfortunately resemble symptoms of psychosis- sometimes leads to counterproductive intervention with pharmaceutical drugs and hospitalization by mainstream medical/psychiatric professionals. Orthodox religious counselors and church leaders as well are prone to misinterpret signs and symptoms of STEs for mental illness, referring for psychiatric evaluation– thus creating a feedback loop of inadvertent misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
Modern consciousness research and the field of transpersonal psychology shows that when correctly understood and supported, episodes of non-ordinary/extreme states can be healing, transformative, evolutionary, and serve as invaluable sources of paradigm-breaking information about consciousness, the human psyche, and even the nature of reality.
S.E.E. exists for these reasons.
“The greatest blessings come by way of madness, provided that madness is given by divine gift.”
There are many types and names for experiences that share common features and act as catalysts for spiritual transformation, such as:
-Spiritual Emergency/Emergence (Grof,1980)
-Near-Death Experience (NDE) (Moody, 1975)
-Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) (Tyrell, 1943)
-Shamanic Calling/Initiatory Crisis
-Pre-Birth Memories/Past-Life Recall, Nearing Death Awareness (NDA)
-After-Death Communications (ADC) (Guggenheim, 1997)
-Communication with Spirits or Spirit Guides
-Psychic Opening/Expressions (Precognition/premonition, extra sensory perceptions, psychometry, the “clairs,” somnambulism, automated writing/creativity, glossolalia, trance channeling/mediumship, etc)
-Episodes of Unitive/Cosmic Consciousness (Bucke, 1901)/Peak Experience (Maslow, 1964)/Exceptional Human Experiences (EHE) (White, 1993)
-Close Encounter/”Experiencer” Phenomena and Associated Anomalous Trauma
-Other possibly Mystical/Super-Normal/Parapsychological or Synchronistic Experiences (SE’s), Illuminations or Hierophanies (breakthroughs of the sacred or ‘supernatural’ into the world) (Eliade, 1957)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than dreamt of in your philosophy”
STEs include or may also be considered numinous, noetic, ineffable, sublime, transcendent, transpersonal, mystical, religious, shamanic, sacred, anomalous, psychical, paranormal/supernormal, parapsychological, preternatural, mysterium tremendum, wholly other, or ecstatic experiences.
Some non-ordinary states/experiences are sought through meditation, yoga, ceremonial entheogen (psychoactive sacred plant medicines) use, ritual dance or drumming, holotropic/shamanic breathwork, sensory deprivation, or intensive or prolonged prayer/genuflection, or other spiritual or religious practices. Experiences can (and do) happen spontaneously, arise out of near-death situations, severe or prolonged illness, acute distress, crisis, other anomalous trauma, or during emotionally heightened events such as childbirth, deep ecstasy or acute grief. They may also occur during dreams or sexual activity. These and other similar experiences are particularly effective inducers of the mystical.
Many experiences involve being out of one’s body and/or and immersion into a different or more lucid reality. Features may include visions or communications with deceased loved ones, religious figures, God, the light, angels, beings of light, or other energetic/nonphysical beings. They often engender a profound feeling of peace, love, compassion or forgiveness, sometimes containing messages, guidance, premonitions, or reviews of one’s life. Some experiences can be frightening or deeply distressing.
STEs can be catalysts for permanent, dramatic changes and ultimately, positive transformation. But many involve difficult challenges before integration is complete. For this reason individuals in the midst of STEs can benefit greatly from safely processing these experiences in the context of an affirming and non-judgmental therapeutic partnership and space. Working through preexisting trauma, significant inner conflicts, neurosis or other psycho-emotional disharmony can be essential to healthy incorporation of the healing potential of STEs, and can provide an explanatory narrative with respect to events or dynamics that may have set the stage for STE’s. Research in fact shows correlation between anomalistic experiences and early childhood trauma, which in some instances may serve as a predisposing condition for actual anomalous events.
S.E.E. can also help individuals steer clear of common pitfalls (social/emotional isolation, consensus reality-informed denial, ego inflation, punitive humility, spiritual bypassing…) to healthy integration– defined in this sense as opening up ego consciousness to previously hidden parts of the psyche. Developing a heightened awareness of these barriers/trappings reduces the likelihood of psycho-emotional disintegration/fragmentation as the psyche seeks for balance and integration on the heels of contact with the extraordinary.
“Meaning makes a great many things endurable, perhaps everything. Through the creation of meaning … a new cosmos arises.”
–C. G. Jung
Chris Hancock, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of Tennessee (Lic#4504). He is a verified mental health provider for the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care (FEMHC), a member of the Academy of Spiritual and Consciousness Studies (ASCS), the Afterlife Education and Research Institute, Inc (afterlifeinstitute.org), a clinical member of the Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN-USA) and the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE). In addition to many years in community mental health, outpatient psychiatry and addictions settings, and maintaining a private psychotherapy practice since 2007, from 2013 to 2017 he served as the psychotherapist for the Tennessee chapter of Starborn Support, a national organization for experiencers of exceptionally extraordinary phenomena. Chris practiced Insight Meditation in NYC throughout graduate school, and was later initiated into Kriya Yoga by Paramahansa Prajnananda of the contemporary Kriya Yoga lineage. While in India in 2006 he participated in an event that produced such profound and visceral phenomena that whatever vestiges of doubt as to the existence of an alternate transcendent reality not governed by our physical laws was instantaneously dissolved. He also had a numinous experience during a prayerful meditation in 2011 where in the midst of a particularly trying time, a transmission of Divine love and encouragement was audibly received, and will never be forgotten. Perhaps what started it all was a powerful hands-on healing of acute pain while in hospital by a Methodist minister following an operation as a child. Later, inspired by the work of Psychotherapist Carl Jung, Mythologist Joseph Campbell, Consciousness Researcher/Psychologist Jeffery Mishlove, Transpersonal Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, Parapsychologists Charles Tart and Stanley Krippner, and the late Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John E. Mack, M.D. (and many others), S.E.E. was launched as a way to assist individuals attempting to make meaning of their experiences on the “outer banks” of reality (as best we perceive it). All this said, he is no guru, no savior, master, minister, shaman, alchemist, exorcist, psychic, astrologer, spoon bender, snake charmer, soothsayer, sorcerer, conjurer, ghost hunter, demonologist, voodoist, hoodooist, pagan, mystic, monk, yogi, bodhisattva, starseed, philosopher, scientist, quantum physicist, visionary, healer, curandero, or any kind of enlightened spiritual teacher. And Lord knows, no saint. Just a fellow traveler, an extroverted introvert, wounded healer-type psychotherapist, and an incurably curious possibilist, driven to remain loyal to his own soul by reaching further into the mysterium, toward the edges of the etheric. This will likely remain the case until whatever end his karmic path or Universal Mind has in store.
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