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Psychology and Psychotherapy

Paul Kiritsis announces topic for the Fourth Dorothea Dix Award

Paul Kiritsis is pleased to announce the fourth Dorothea Dix Award for all those who have overcome or battled mental or physical illness, disability, or injury. For 2017, entrants are required to answer the following question in 800-2500 words. Back from the Brink: Anomalous Healing Experiences Under the contemporary medical model anomalous healings are usually constr ..

The Savage Past: An Anomalous Experience that Shaped my Life

Looking back over my own autobiographical history, one anomalous experience standing out like a sore thumb is a dark day in my early teens when I underwent a strange malady of unknown origin (Kiritsis, 2009). It began sometime during the summer of January 1992. I was twelve and had just returned from a family vacation in Adelaide and Mildura, reveling in the aftermath of excitement  ..

Anomalous Healings

Anomalous healings seem to be cross-cultural and transgenerational phenomena. Under the contemporary medical model they are usually construed as “spontaneous remissions” of cancerous tumors, recoveries, and alterations in normatively unchangeable body processes like rapid wound healings (Krippner and Achterberg, 2000). On the other hand the associative techniques and practices whic ..

Types of Anomalous Experiences

Three anomalous experiences that are rare but explained within conventional frameworks are autoscopic hallucinations, stigmata, and the multiple nuclei of consciousness which seems to be the chief characteristic of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). In an autoscopic phenomenon the individual briefly perceives a doppelganger of themselves in extrapersonal space from the vantage point of the  ..

Anomalous experiences: Transformational Crises or Pathological Psychoses?

Psychology has a monumental role to play when it comes to understanding and contextualizing anomalous experiences. The first strides, from a historical perspective, were made in the 1880s by the British Society for Psychical Research. Roughly a century afterwards Stanislav and Christina Grof took it a step further when they pioneered the related terms spiritual emergence and spiritual eme ..

Know Thyself: An Interview with Self

If you could be anything in the world what would it be? The wind, for it is unencumbered and expands. If you could describe your life using a song, which would it be? Cancao do Mar, Song of the Sea, by Dulce Pontes If you were a color, which would it be? Powder blue, the color of serenity and unity. If you were an ancient deity, who might that be? Eros, the Go ..

Anomalous Experiences: What are they?

An anomalous experience can be defined as a subjective, idiosyncratic, and/or uncommon experience that is incongruent and/or deviates from the sociocultural-mediated understanding of consensus reality accepted as veridical, normative, and empirically valid by the collective prerogative. This definition is consistent with the definition given by Cardena, Lynn, and Krippner (2000) who desc ..

Creativity: Definition, Research, and Measurement

Taken at face value the word creativity is fairly vague, ambiguous, and leaves the doors wide open for idiosyncratic interpretation. Depending on one’s individual biases it can be construed as imagination, novelty, originality, genius, talent, giftedness, the avant-garde, and other synonymous terms. Creativity derives from the verb “to create,” meaning to bring somethin ..

The Shared Vulnerability Model of Creativity and Psychopathology

One very promising framework for understanding the creativity-psychopathology connection is the shared vulnerability model (Carson, 2011). As suggested by the title the model wasn’t propounded just with schizophrenia in mind; it applies to all expressions of psychopathology which have demonstrated a veritable connection to creativity (i.e. the schizospectrum disorders, the bipolar ..

The Judgment of the Hemispheres

When the Universe became equivocal about which of the two cerebral hemispheres was better serving the human race it invited both to a festivity in honor of human flourishing and suggested that the two contest the right to ascension; whoever gave the most impressive and pleasing answer to a philosophical question posed by the universe would ultimately win evolutionary rights to unprecede ..

Creativity and its relation to Schizophrenia

In pondering the initial semblance of schizophrenic psychosis and its evolutionary trajectory over the last century, one might begin to wonder why such a maladaptive condition should persist in the human gene pool over successive generations. There are ostensible detriments associated with the development of mental illness in all areas of life–personal, interpersonal, occupational ..

The Treatment of Schizophrenia

Without a doubt, the zealous prescription and sometimes overprescription of neuroleptic medications dominating the treatment and management of acute schizophrenic disturbances today is residue from an anachronistic Kraepelinian epoch most fallacious in its core assumption that the phenomenology of psychosis was tantamount to brain disease (Bentall, 2003). Most congruent with ..

Schizophrenia as a Social Construct

Derived from the Hellenistic words “skhízein” and “phrḗn” (literally split-mind) schizophrenia is a complex heterogeneous disorder wrought by both genetic and environmental factors, relegating affected individuals to suboptimum levels of functioning in personal, social, and vocational domains. There is prodigious stigmatization and misapprehension connected with  ..

Subliminal Uprush: The Survival Hypothesis

Epilogue: The Survival Hypothesis Solim: It has come to my attention that you’ve recently become interested in the topic of reincarnation Olyn. Olyn: That’s right. But I’ve always been interested in the topic so it isn’t anything completely new. Over the last decade I’ve spent time reading some of Ian Stevenson’s work on children who remem ..

Subliminal Uprush: Creativity and the Plight for Convalescence

Part Seven: Creativity and the Plight for Convalescence The Unknown Pilot: What are you doing over there Solim? Solim: I’ve been pondering this quote by Antonio Artaud. The Unknown Pilot: Care to share it with me? Solim: “Nobody has ever written, sculpted, moulded, built, or invented except literally to get out of  ..

Subliminal Uprush: Deficits and Excesses, the Passions of the Brain

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part Six: Deficits and Excesses, the Passions of the Brain The Unknown Pilot: A penny for your thoughts Olyn? Olyn: I was just thinking about the human brain. The Unknown Pilot: Mother Nature’s crown jewel, wrought by natural selection…  ..

Subliminal Uprush: The Power of Belief

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part Five: The Power of Belief Solim: You really enjoy interpreting your dreams Olyn, don’t you? Olyn: Oh, yes! I love it. I feel that even though the unconscious speaks through metaphor and symbol, it can illuminate so many psychological and spiritual truths about th ..

The Mad Genius Link: The Connection Between Schizophrenia and Creativity

Derived from the Hellenistic words “skhízein” and “phrḗn” (literally split-mind) schizophrenia is a complex heterogeneous disorder wrought by both genetic and environmental factors, relegating affected individuals to suboptimum levels of functioning in personal, social, and vocational domains. Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s populat ..

Subliminal Uprush: Determinism and Nondeterminism, Fate and Free Will

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part Four: Determinism vs. Non-Determinism Olyn: It’s one of the big questions without doubt. Actually, I’m not sure how wise it is to open up such a profound discussion. The Unknown Pilot: How come? Olyn: Well, you’re both opinionated and h ..

Subliminal Uprush: Precognition

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part Three: Precognition The Unknown Pilot: Do you believe that some people can see the future, Olyn? Olyn: Most definitely–everybody can. Solim: Ha! Asking somebody who has studied and written on precognitive dreams if they believe people can see the futur ..

The Chicken-Egg Debate: The Co-occurrence of Schizophrenia and Substance Use Disorder

Article is being revised and will be back on the site shortly. ..

Subliminal Uprush: The Voice Phenomenon

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part Two: The Voice Phenomenon The Unknown Pilot: I like this new drawing of yours. Olyn: The Gordian Knot? The Unknown Pilot: Yeah, what does it symbolize? Olyn: I would say the many aspects of self, the inner parts comprising the human personality. People assume d ..

The Gordian Knot from Confessions of a Split Mind

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Subliminal Uprush: The Philosophical Dialogues

Olyn: I, Paul Solim: Anima The Unknown Pilot: Animus Part One: The Unseen Worlds The Unknown Pilot: How have you been Olyn? You’ve been emotionally distant as of late, so preoccupied with your art. Olyn: Oh, yes. Art is my refuge from the ravages and wear-and-tear of day-to-day living. The Unknown Pilot: You haven’t ..

Update on "Confessions of a Split Mind"

Click on the link below for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EZDbGHcTSk&feature=youtu.be ..

The Eternal Debate: Are Our Lives Predetermined or Not? (Conclusion)

Determinism and non-determinism, most frequently recognized as “fate” and “free will” to the dilettante, are two theoretical lenses focused on the trajectory of Life. Their cross-cultural entanglement in history is inexplicably linked to explicit religious and philosophical convictions about the cosmos. Popular opinions and rationalizations regarding which of the t ..

The Eternal Debate: Are Our Lives Predetermined or Not? (Biology and Neurophysiology)

The eternal debate between determinism and non-determinism could also be situated and analyzed within a reductionist scientific paradigm, viewing mind as an emergent property of differentiated albeit integrated neural architecture. To understand our privileged position at the uppermost echelon of the evolutionary world tree we must recourse briefly to the gene, the biomolecular mechanism  ..

The Eternal Debate: Are Our Lives Predetermined or Not? (Computational Mind Theory)

Observed parallels between what humans circumscribe as natural and artificial categories, or the biological and mechanistic, have been in vogue since the time of Aristotle. Without meaning to sound like a typical pessimist, there is a crude avarice in comparing our flawed and inadequate creations with the majesty of Nature. All the same by sweeping all sentiments and judgments concerning  ..

The Eternal Debate: Are Our Lives Predetermined or Not? (Historical Context)

The historical courses of “fate” and “free will” began millennia ago, inextricably linked with revelatory components of early religious and spiritual life. These deterministic perspectives of the cosmos were propagated by the priesthood cross-culturally. Looking to the cupola of the sky, these meticulous star-watchers surmised that temporal cycles of birth, death,  ..

The Eternal Debate: Are our lives predetermined or not? (Introduction)

From time immemorial the inquisitive among us have spent innumerable hours philosophizing about existence. Is “life,” the integrated and unitary flavor of conscious mental experience, under our volitional control? Or are conscious intentions and perceived acts of will of unconscious origin? Are goal-directed actions, perceived by me, you, and others as being initiated vol ..

Hypnosis in Action

Click on the link below to hear a hypnotic induction incorporating relaxation, guided imagery, and posthypnotic suggestions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c14XGHnmkao ..

The History of Hypnosis: Video

Click on the link below to watch a video on the history of hypnosis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY72PORbXug ..

What is hypnosis: Video

Click on the link below to view the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBXBdS0NKOI ..

The Mystery of Give-and-Take

The Mystery of Give-and-Take And I’m always writing, forever rewriting, tying the rough ends of my life together with worn laces– the ill-fated faces, the forbidden places. And I’m always editing, forever editing out irate segues that aren’t compatible with the narrative’s primary hues–  ..

We're all rommmates in a house called madness: Drawing and Poem

We’re all Roommates in a House Called Madness It takes an eclipse to make the subtle and sublime visible, to turn everything upside-down for a single moment. As the light diminishes so too do fluorescent colors taste like Platonic solids and letters like flavored numbers. As the corona appears so too do thought ..

"The School of Light and Colour" from Confessions of a Split Mind

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Existence Itself as Symbolic

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. - Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio We are all marionettes recapitulating the same circular motions within linear, co-created narratives across expanses of time. On the rare occasion we peer upwards and become aware of the prehensile forces to which we are attached with strings, ..

Richard Davidson and the Theory of Emotional Style

In The Emotional Life of Your Brain (2013), Richard Davidson expounds his theory of Emotional Style in the context of six phenomenological dimensions with discrete neural signatures. Davidson argues that existing neurophysiological correlates for each of the six discrete categories–resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attention–str ..

The Dorothea Dix Award 2015-2016: New Topics Announced

Paul Kiritsis is pleased to announce the third Dorothea Dix Award for all those who have overcome or battled mental or physical illness, disability, or injury. For 2015-2016, entrants are required to answer one of the following questions in 800-2500 words. Non-fiction What therapeutic practice (i.e. meditation, yoga, reiki, hypnosis, past-life regression, guided ..

The Human Imagination: Our Divine Inheritance

For Olga Louchekova-Schwartz “We are gods but we are not aware of it. We suffer from a self-inflicted amnesia. The aim is to reawaken that which we have always been and we shall always be.” – Dr. Stylianos Atteshlis Recently I found myself cogitating the idea that the behavior of the universe is much more harmoniously aligned to a nonphysical than a me ..

The role of narrative in personal development

Desire for subsistence and inherent meaning is a driving force to be reckoned with, and its sheer value and aptitude in being able to relegate our perceived differences to the wastebasket of triviality is reflected in the cross-cultural immanence of oral and written myth in bygone civilizations and through Hollywood movies, television serials, genre fiction, and pop magazines in the co ..

Hypnosis and Pain Perception: Neuroimaging Studies

Chronic pain conditions constitute a medical conundrum of our times. Their resistance to standard medical treatments (Turk, Wilson, & Cahana, 2011) is burdensome to patients, doctors, and society as a whole because they initiate deleterious cycles involving costly treatments that amount to nothing but inadequate pain relief, an overreliance and abuse of analgesic medications, adver ..

The Role of Narrative in Psychotherapy and Healing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou Creative narrative and storytelling stands at an evolutionary junction reflecting the gradual emergence of semantic language, culture, and the social brain. They predate science, property rights, medicine, the consumer societies birthed by the Industrial Revolution, the religi ..

Work in Progress: Confessons of a Split Mind (2)

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Work in Progress: "Confessions of a Split Mind"

Below are pictures from my personal journal, a work which is swiftly evolving into my own version of Jung’s Red Book.  ..

Human Development: Life through the lens of two developmental theorists

Just as there is no one way to happiness and contentment, so too can the unique mental and physical fields of influence we’ve cleaved in life be interpreted through numerous developmental lenses. Duhem’s thesis reminds us that for any number of facts there can be multiple hermeneutics (i.e. theories of interpretation), and so a most logical deduction would be one regarding all ..

The Ancient Egyptian Mother Goddess in the Context of Archetypal Mythology, Narrative, Healing, and Postmodern Spirituality

Save for reflecting the sociocultural milieus and encompassing blueprints for emotional stability, identity, and behaviour in all known cultures, mythical narrative probably emerged, in part, as a mechanism of neural integration and coordination between the dominant and nondominant hemispheres of the brain–in other words to facilitate homeostatic balance and psychosomatic health. In ..

The Therapeutic Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

In the last twenty years there has been a swift increase in the publication of clinical studies about alternative and complementary treatments to conventional medicine like mindfulness-based interventions and their efficacy in contending with a whole continuum of psychological conditions from anxiety and depression to more organic variants like stress-related somatic symptoms  ..

Human Development: Attractor States

What is an “attractor state?” Neuronal networks (i.e. pyramidal cells in the primary visual cortex) receiving dendritic input from peripheral sources (i.e. the retina) and transmitting to other neural networks (i.e. the visual associational cortex) through axonal connections are called attractor networks. Neuron subpopulations pertaining to the same attractor network feed b ..

Human Development: The Freudian Lens

Over the years, many scholars and cognitive scientists recourse to all-or-nothing thinking in either accepting the sexual foundations of Freud’s psychology together with its psychosexual stages of development or outright rejecting it. But the objective truth is probably somewhere in the middle, meaning that the psychosexual pattern of development may instead be domain-specific and a ..

Human Development: Attachment Patterns

If the axiom “we choose our parents” is to be believed, the decisions I made before my conception are to be commended. It just so happens that both my caregivers were industrious, level-headed, and deeply compassionate individuals with uncompromising morals. I gladly declare that there was contingent communication at the Kiritsis residence and that there was never I time wh ..

Human Development: Life in the Context of Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

If psychobiological research is to be believed, then the dynamic experiences of early attachment are encoded by the immature brain after birth as implicit memories. Consequently there aren’t many formative engrams competing for remembrance or conscious awareness in a mature adult, save for when their quality is value laden, charged with ebullient emotion, and deeply meaningful. B ..

Human Development: The Remembered and the Remembering Self

I was born on the 15th July 1979 at the Royal Women’s Hospital in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, or so I’ve been told! Long before my cerebral cortex had begun to functionally self-organize by pruning those dendrites and synapses unrelated to learning and experience, I remember my empathic mother endeavouring to share her excitement at giving birth to a vigorous, blue-eyed ..

"Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander, MD: Book Review

People seldom give any airtime to “psi” phenomena like Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) and Near Death Experiences (NDEs), and when they do it’s to mock or decry those who have been brave enough to self-disclose. According to our prevailing Newtonian-based scientific paradigm, OBEs are at the very least fictional narratives of the great beyond confabulated to distract from ..

Professional Development: The Clinician's own Self-Care

With respect to a clinician’s own self-care, the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle cannot be exaggerated. In the Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology, Siegel expounds upon seven mental activities that will promote neural and interpersonal integration when time is shared equally between them: the deployment of focal attention; the engagement in playful, vigorous,  ..

The Aminergic System, Positive Mood, and Prosocial Behavior

When the Greek travel writer Pausanias visited Delphi, he noted that the axiom “know thyself” [γνῶθι σεαυτόν] was inscribed in the pronaos of the main temple consecrated to Apollo. Various interpretations have been offered throughout the years–everything from dire warnings against the hubris of ego inflation to the p ..

The Therapeutic Efficacy of Mindfulness Meditation on Depression

In the last twenty years there has been a swift increase in the publication of clinical studies about alternative and complementary treatments to conventional medicine like mindfulness-based interventions and their efficacy in contending with a whole continuum of psychological conditions from anxiety and depression to more organic variants like stress-related somatic symptoms (Baer, 2003; ..

The Formative Stages of Group Therapy as an Alchemical Process

Western alchemy emerged from the Alexandrine marriage of Aristotelian natural science to Gnostic and Egyptian mythology as well as Hermeticism and Neo-Platonism. It has always been a philosophical storehouse for a plethora of religious and mystical ideas in the manner that the cosmopolitan Alexandria was the transmutational receptacle for knowledge arriving from the four corners of the wo ..

Mindfulness-based Interventions: Guided Imagery

Guided imagery (GI) has been used to diagnose illness, to mobilize the body’s defenses, and to promote natural healing processes for time immemorial. According to a recent meta-analysis (Kuiken, 2004), clinicians deploy four main types: pleasant imagery, mental rehearsal or reframing, physiologically focused imagery, and receptive imagery. The first involves the creative visu ..

Evolutionary psychology: Groupish and Hive Behaviour

In The Righteous Mind (2012), the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that, try as they might, members of the human species are confined to the evolutionary prison of selfish and groupish behaviour. Long before the advent of a shared cognitive intentionality able to forge cultural innovations, trait selection in homo sapiens was profoundly skewed in favour of self-interest. Only the ..

The Social Bases of Behaviour: Social and Cross-Cultural Methods

There are variant perspectives in contemporary psychology attempting to delineate causal relationships between psychological and behavioural tendencies and the social environment which embodies them. Pitched at the macro level of analysis, the social school hypothesizes that behavioural outcomes are habitually motivated by a continuum of evolutionary pressures acting upon and eternally sh ..

Interpersonal Neurobiology: What is Empathy?

There’s something about the prefix ‘em’ that inspires interdependence, synergy, and mutuality. In fact, certain members in the family of words containing it–words like embody, embed, empower and our focal word empathy–certainly evoke the cosmic phenomena of cohesion, energy transfer, and information exchange. Initially, I had defined the word empathy as &ldqu ..

A Review of "Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with Seventeen Personalities"

Richard Baer’s Switching Time is a gripping eye-fest of a book which sucks you all the way in to the end of socks and won’t spit you back out until that final word has been read and comprehended. It’s raw, it’s powerful, and it’s anecdotal living proof of the darkest, most diabolical aspects of human nature–everything we despise about ourselves as the m ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Know Thyself

When the Greek travel writer Pausanias visited Delphi, he noted that the axiom “know thyself” [γνῶθι σεαυτόν] was inscribed in the pronaos of the main temple consecrated to Apollo. Many an intellectual have probably wracked their brains wondering what the ancient Greeks may have had in mind when they were inscribing such a ..

Second Dorothea Dix Award Announced: Prize goes up to $1500 worth

Paul Kiritsis is pleased to announce the second Dorothea Dix Award for all those who have overcome or battled mental or physical illness, disability, or injury. For 2014-2015, entrants are required to answer one of the following questions in 800-2500 words from their category of preference. Non-fiction “When spirits begin to speak with man, he must beware l ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: The Floatation Tank Experience

I was initially uncertain about what epiphenomena would unfold within the isolation tank during my hour-long therapeutic session. Would I experience hypnagogic states, hallucinations, and altered states of consciousness? Would I spiral deeper and deeper into a meditative trance, to a dark void from whence it would be impossible to extricate myself when relaxation music from the underwater ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Psychotropic Drugs

Invariably, the dilemma as to whether somebody should enter into short or long-term communion with pharmacotherapy is further compounded by psychiatric bias towards the latter and the propensity of mental health professionals in conceptualizing it as the ultimate extirpator of unsolicited cognitive deficits and emotional gains wrought from the subsistence of some mental conditi ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Drugs

In countries of the developed West, the tendency to place unrealistic expectations and pressures on individuals to conform to ascetic social norms that demand overuse and abuse of our mind-brain mechanisms has resulted in some very palpable but negative ramifications. The most obvious albeit alarming is the romance afforded by the magic bullet, the erroneous and magical perception that so ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Nine Basic Steps to Healthy Living

So often we resort to elaborate treatments like psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in dealing with imbalances of body, mind, and spirit and forget about the fundamentals, many of which have been practiced for time immemorial. The most important bedtime story anybody can tell you is that your brain and body are more than capable of correcting chemical imbalances caused by anxiety, poor slee ..

The Lucid State of Precognitive Episodes: Intrusions or Not? (Part Two)

Our first undertaking is to ascertain the nature of dream content with precognitive or extrasensory detail. What makes these dreams different from other types? Having examined innumerable such fragments in the past, I’ve discovered their grand inimitability to lay in representational tendencies and the radical use of deep symbolization. More often than not, illustrations are th ..

The Lucid State of Precognitive Episodes: Intrusions or Not? (Part One)

The time is definitely rife for an attempted elucidation of precognitive dreams and other lucid states associated with extrasensory perception in terms of a more scientifically cogent paradigm than the one currently offered by the introspection of hermeneutics. As any academically and scientifically sound thinker would proudly assert, any phenomenon hoping to cement itself in the eternal  ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Know Thyself (Table)

Conscious State Activation Energy Source Input Wave Type (Electricity) Mode (Chemistry) Neural Circuitry Involved Phenomenology Waking High External BETA (14-30 Hz) and ALPHA (8-13 Hz) Aminergic neurons firing; cholinergic neurons depressed Ser ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Biological Systems Research

Over the last decade or so, the new science of epigenetics[1] (file:///C:/Users/Dimitrios/Desktop/Biological%20Systems%20Research.docx#_ftn1) has swiftly and furtively been reformulating the nature-nurture debate to ascribe with the revolutionary discovery that enucleated cells, in other words cells robbed of the nucleus and the genetic material inside, do not suffer immediate death but c ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: The Divorce of Body and Soul and their Celebrated Reunion (Part Two)

To the humanists’ dismay, the conceptual ambivalence created by a scientific worldview in which an outer, measurable reality remained incongruent with the value-laden mental world of private experience ended up birthing a proto-psychological discipline that went under the banner of ‘behaviourism’. Behaviourism continued the diabolical Darwinian enterprise  ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: The Divorce of Body and Soul and their Celebrated Reunion (Part One)

The sciences endeavour to reach some kind of consensual understanding regarding our origins, constitution, limitations, and the projected outcome of our targeted behaviours on both the personal and collective levels. When I think of true science, I think of an aesthetic Gaea-based empirical philosophy mediated by the politic of unbiased observation, a process of critical inquiry that resi ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: The Social Brain and Sensory Deprivation (Part Two)

Project ‘X-38’, as it had been called, eventually attracted the attention of other investigators in the field of psychology who sought to discover for themselves whether sensory isolation was indeed as menacing, frightful, and depersonalizing as what the explosive literature had intimated. Jack Vernon, for instance, managed to construct an isolation chamber to the dimensions o ..

The Inaugural Dorothea Dix Award

Paul Kiritsis is pleased to announce the inaugural Dorothea Dix Award for all those who have overcome or battled mental or physical illness, disability, or injury. This year, entrants are required to answer one of the following questions in 800-2500 words: Reflect upon a mental or physical illness, disability, or injury and describe how it prompted a revaluation of your belief s ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: The Social Brain and Sensory Deprivation (Part One)

Now that we’ve established a satisfactory definition for psychological health and dis-ease, we should probably shift gears and examine explicit contingencies where homeostatic balance of the mind-brain synergy might be disrupted as well as the ensuing consequences of such. From our integrated experience of the world, it appears that the human mind is a protein entity with both  ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Cognitive Neuroscience (Part Two)

In resorting to right-left processing in the examination of cognitive development in children, it would seem that the normative waking consciousness with which most of us are intimately familiar is the direct result of the interconnection and synchronization of the two hemispheres. When an individual has been allowed to develop an authentic sense of self in an environmental space free fro ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Cognitive Neuroscience (Part One)

A basic albeit lucid grasp of the neural mechanisms underlying human consciousness is essential if we are to better understand the influential role of beliefs in creating our reality. Following in the stead of the conscious states that it articulates after development, the central nervous system is subject to the eternal squabble, the see-saw battle between the supplementary forces of nat ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Brain Diagram Two

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Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Brain Diagram One

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Phenomenology: The Placebo Effect

From where do placebo powers start and end? As peculiar as it might sound its effectiveness can be extended to cases of severe, enervating pain where the causative agent is anatomical in nature and acquired through injury. We know for a fact that pain deriving from structural defects to bone and cartilage has nothing at all to do with the mental faculties of imagination or autosuggestion, ..

Phenomenology: The Nocebo Effect

It began sometime during the summer of January 1992. I recall I had just returned from a family vacation to Adelaide and Mildura, revelling in the aftermath of much excitement of the trip up north, which had spawned my first experiences of handling live animals at a farm. All nervousness aside, I was even looking forward to my first year of high school. But shortly after we returned, some ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: An Introduction to Phenomenology

One of the greatest lessons in life was conveyed to me in my youth by my maternal grandmother Despina. As an annual participant of the fire-walking ritual of the Anastenaria in northern Greece, she would frequently reiterate, time and time again, that the element of fire was virtually powerless against the sheer resolution and discipline of the human mind. It was possible to march across ..

The Icarian Children: A Modern Myth about Consciousness, Illness, and Belief

We all sat along the edge of the steep precipice, our small feet dangling in the air freely. Perusing the sprawling ocean that seemed to go on forever, I said, “Any ideas?” “How bout we crisscross blue moons and black pearls?” asked Ariel. “You’re such a crackpot,” said Gabriel with a condescending look. “We’re supposed to  ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Isis and the Sun God's Secret Name

The ubiquitous Re, mightiest of the Egyptian deities, was known throughout the kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt by innumerable names. All were common knowledge except one which he shrewdly kept hidden from the conscious awareness of every living creature, divine or mortal, great or small. And the principal motivation for shrouding it? Well, knowledge of such enabled the beholder unin ..

Consciousness, Illness, and Belief: Isis and the Seven Scorpions

After gathering the dismembered parts of her brother-husband, the stoic Isis decided that it would be best to retire to some remote edge near the Nile Delta, a place from where she could gain some perspective on Seth’s inherent nature and calculate her subsequent move. But it wasn’t long before her newfound quietude was interrupted by ibis-headed Thoth, the god of writing, who ..

Precognitive Dreams and the Bigger Picture

Last year I conducted a comprehensive investigation into the frequency and nature of precognitive dreams, the results of which were published in the e-book, Dreamscaping without my Timekeeper: A Critical Investigation into Precognitive Dreams (2013). The experimental venture turned out to be a great success and validated past research where there was statistical support offered in fa ..

Mental Illness: Then and Now

Below is a classification of the various forms of ‘insanity’ that were utilized in mental asylums in the state of Victoria in the early 1900s (taken from inner cover of a clinical case book from Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum) and beside them some possible contemporary equivalents: Antiquated Taxonomy (late 1800s, early 1900s) Cont ..

Psychosis: Moving Towards a More Holistic Understanding of the Phenomenon

In the early 1900s individuals suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, brain damage, alcoholism with psychotic features, and severe dissociative disorders would have been locked up in high security wards in some obscure region of mental asylums where they could not be seen or heard by visiting relatives and authorities. One cannot imagine the fear if not outright terror that these poor sou ..

The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit

Title: The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit Author: Donald Kalsched Copyright: 1996 Genre: Analytical Psychology/Psychotherapy Price: $40.91 ISBN: 978-0415123297 Rating: 5 out of 5 In the Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the  ..

The Aradale Mental Asylum: Part Three

Scouring the records we see that the Aradale Mental Asylum exhibited a residential cocktail of fascinating individuals. I would postulate that for most, the tactless indiscretion of verbalizing outrageous beliefs about the cosmos combined with the short-fused nature of relatives, friends, or acquaintances exasperated and fed up with the recurrence of the former would have occasioned  ..

The Aradale Mental Asylum: Part Two

Another aspect of the patient files screaming for commentary is the clinical diagnostic practice of separating mental illnesses into two broad categories: ‘manias’ and ‘melancholias’. The ‘manias’ are further subdivided into explicit types, principally delusional, recurrent, chronic, and homicidal, whilst the ‘melancholias’ branch out i ..

The Aradale Mental Asylum: Part One

If walls could talk those of the Ararat Mental Asylum would surely echo harrowing cries of horror, hopelessness, anguish, and excruciating pain. Having visited the asylum just a few weeks ago, I would concur with popular opinion that it is one of the most haunted locations in Australia. The depth and breadth of oppression inside the wards is quite tangible, as unimaginably real as a whiff ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Synchronicities

In rounding off the collection of posts about the Mesa World experience, it would be remiss of me not to include the chain of remarkable serendipities that presented themselves and then augmented in miraculous and meaningful ways. In many ways it seemed as though the act of rejecting our socio-political patinas, the personality masks developed to meet the stringent demands of Western ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Parting with the Teachers

The day before checking out of the beautiful wooden cottage we were required to consult with our respective teachers and say goodbye. Thinking about the projection exercise I came to the understanding that certain individuals, whether enlightened or not, come into our lives to facilitate our psychospiritual development. I honestly feel that answers we seek are not outside us or locked awa ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Active Imagination

The series of self-development exercises also included active imagination, the narrative technique of unconscious projection pioneered by Carl Gustav Jung. The manner of induction was fairly simple. First, the inductee was made to lie on the double bed in the master bedroom covered to the chest with a woollen blanket. Second, he or she was encouraged to relax by taking deep oxygen-rich br ..

The Mesa World Retreat: The Tarot Exercise

Another exercise at the retreat involved projecting onto tarot cards. After blindly selecting a card from the spread, we had to ponder whether the prevailing sentiments evoked were mostly positive or negative. Then we had to assume the role of devil’s advocate and imagine that the initial impressions were of the opposing polarity; in other words if the first authentic impression to  ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Conversations with the Jupiter Tree

One evening we caught sight of the planet Jupiter ascending to the pinnacle of the cerulean heavens. As we scampered along the sandy track I noticed that it was rising behind the arachnoid branches of a wraithlike tree. I halted for a second or so and superimposed the two images in my imagination so that Jupiter looked like one of its celestial fruits. In an outer image comprised of  ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Conversations with the Buddha

The primary exercise at the Mesa World Retreat consisted of projecting onto inanimate objects. We were required to allocate a significant slice of time to identification with a specific object in the natural world for which we expressed an affinity, to ‘bond’ with it, and then engage in a productive manner. The whole endeavour was supposed to take on a teacher-student gui ..

The Mesa World Retreat: Music and Feelings

The two hour slots reserved for lunch and dinner at the Mesa World Retreat were accompanied by loud music. The tracks were completely random, encompassing everything from classical, jazz, heavy metal, and blues to pop, rock, rap, and R&B. As we know, the gamut of our emotional states are directly affected by the intense resonance of musical compositions. This particular phenomeno ..

The Mesa World Retreat: The Forgiveness Exercise

The primary purpose of the Mesa World Retreat at the Grampians was to de-stress, de-clutter, and dis-identify from the monotonous routines of our day-to-day lives. One of the first exercises we did was what one might define as a deliberate expulsion of negatively-charged emotion, an exercise which took the guise of unconditional forgiveness. The act of forgiveness is important, if on ..

The Magus of Strovolos and his Miraculous Healings (Part Two)

Mind and body form a single synergistic unit; hence it should come as no surprise that Daskalos’s successes also extended to the psychological ontology. In truth he would frequently refer to himself as a psychotherapist. In the second chapter of the Magus of Strovolos, we learn that a twenty-six year old demure Jewish girl named Hadas suffering from a harrowing psychological pr ..

Psychosynthesis: The Technique of Auditory Evocation

Another technique we can use to sharpen our concentration is auditory evocation. In most the auditory function is inferior to the visual, however the introduction of another sensory component to a visualization exercise is beneficial because it activates the discriminatory function of the “I-consciousness” or personal centre. The conscious decision to register or ignore s ..

Psychosynthesis: The Technique of Visualization

The cerebral function of imagination operates on all psychic levels–conscious and unconscious–and must be controlled if it is to spur an expedient configuration of the four psychological functions (i.e. sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling) in the individual. We all know the awesome horsepower of mental images and pictures and the external exigencies they tend to c ..

Psychosynthesis: An Exercise for Training the Will

We are all in possession of a psychic faculty called the personal will which enables us to direct our attention towards the completion of a specific task or to enact a chronological succession of mental and physical activities with an end in sight. Feebleness of will, the subsistence of an embryonic will, or the repeated failure to project and sustain the will is usually responsible  ..

Psychosynthesis: A powerful exercise for dis-identification

The main purpose of this particular exercise–the exercise in dis-identification–is to integrate the personality and defend the ego-conscious against a barrage of external and internal influences that might prove harmful to wellbeing and psychospiritual evolution. It does this by separating our sense of continuity, our I-amness, or the immutable part of ourselves frequentl ..

Meditation: Exploring Fate

Below are some exercises you can employ in exploring the concept of fate: Exercise 1 Relax and centre. Put one sheet of paper in front of you and follow these instructions: Ask yourself: “Where do I come from?” Allow any images that come up to emerge freely. Don’t censor or judge, just be aware of whatever answers you have to this qu ..

Meditation: Finding Your Way

Below are some meditation exercises you can try that will assist in finding your way: Exercise 1 Relax and centre. Think of a difficulty you are experiencing or have recently experienced in your life. Allow yourself to picture the situation(s) involved, to hear any words that may connect with what is happening, and to feel all the associated feelings. No ..

Meditation: Exploring Time and Space

Below are some meditation exercises you can try that explore the concept of time and space: Exercise 1 Relax and centre. Look at something, anything in your surroundings, and realise it is part of your arena of existence. See how you experience it as being separate to you. As you look at your chosen object realise it is part of what helps make you u ..

In Search of the Authentic Self now Available for Download

In Search of the Authentic Self: The Theory and Practice of Higher Psychology (2013) is now available for download for subscribers of www.paulkiritsis.net (http://www.paulkiritsis.net/). It is an e-book based on the theory and practice of humanistic and transpersonal thought and is anatomically divided to reflect this dichotomy. The first part covers individual philosophies and ps ..

In Search of the Authentic Self: The Theory and Practice of Higher Psychology

In Search of the Authentic Self: The Theory and Practice of Higher Psychology (2013) will soon be available for download for subscribers of www.paulkiritsis.net (http://www.paulkiritsis.net/). It is an e-book based on the theory and practice of humanistic and transpersonal thought and is anatomically divided to reflect this dichotomy. The first part covers individual philosophies and ..

Psychological and Spiritual Methods of Expunging Phobias from our Lives

There are various techniques we can utilize to dispel fear from the depths of our being. One group is psychological in nature, the other spiritual. Some circumstances will require that only one of the two methods is appropriated and others will require a combination of the two. While the second group is by far the most far-reaching and effective method of fear exoneration in the lo ..

Meditation Exercise for Purification

The following meditation exercise can be used to cleanse the three spheres of human experience–the sensations, the emotions, and the higher intellect– of dogmatic content and polarized fanatical ideologies and concepts from which it unconsciously operates on a day-to-day-basis. The exercise is best performed upon awakening or before going to sleep. Pre ..

Creative Visualization: An Exercise for Transpersonal Experience

In transpersonal psychotherapy images and symbols are utilized to transcend the personal centre, the ‘I’, and experience the primordial energy which connects us all to our origin and to one another. The point of the entire exercise is to evoke and behold transcendental unity, the interconnectedness all nature and humanity and its dependence on the intangible vital life fo ..

The "Mind-Machine" Experiments: Dreamscaping Inside a Pyramid

Dr. Paul Kiritsis is now recruiting participants for the next “Mind Machine” experiment which is intimately concerned with sleep quality, dream lucidity and recall, emotional state, and receptivity to new experiences. The experiment involves sleeping inside a tetrahedral pyramid for three to four days and recording dream content as well as any changes in sleep patterns an ..

Perspectives on the History of the Concept of Dissociation

The full collection of articles on dissociation are now available for download as a single document/e-book for subscribers to this website. A short description of the contents is provided below: "The conceptual parameters of what constitutes dissociative processes along with dissociative experiences and functions have undergone significant changes since their i ..

The Psychosynthesis of Karen Overhill: A Powerful Image

A powerful religiously flavoured image of pathological splitting drawn by the artistically-inclined Jensen (Karen). Drawing taken from Richard Baer, Switching Time: A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating A Woman with Seventeen Personalities (New York, USA: Random House, 2008), pp. 303 ..

The Psychosynthesis of Karen Overhill (Part Four)

Four of Karen’s alters were personifications of the higher unconscious. Unlike the early repositories of primal wounding, many of these seem to have split off from the central nuclei of consciousness in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The first was sixteen-year old Ann, a pious teenager developed so that Karen might be able to sustain some kind of religious and spiritual life i ..

The Psychosynthesis of Karen Overhill (Part Three)

Through further hypnotic inductions and letters written by the alters themselves, the reader comes to understand that Karen’s inner shape-shifting world was based loosely on the layout of her childhood home. Each alter possessed its own space, usually a bedroom, and it appears that these inhabited regions were orientated about a conference room devised for the stringent purpose ..

The Psychosynthesis of Karen Overhill (Part Two)

Karen Overhill never had a chance at developing an inkling of authentic personality or a continuity of authentic selfhood because the primal wounding started almost immediately after birth. In any normative holding environment, the empathic mirroring bequeathed by an external unifying centre such as a caregiver, parent, wet-nurse, or member of the extended family inaugurates an I-Sel ..

The Psychosynthesis of Karen Overhill (Part One)

Anybody who has read Switching Time knows that the life of Karen Overhill was anything but inert and uneventful, to say the least. For as long as she could remember Karen was bound to the same constricted behavioural patterns in the face of adversity; she was unable to extricate herself from a confluence of abominable abuse, self-destructive and debilitating thoughts, and chronic pai ..

Switching Time: A Family Portrait

Over the next week we will be exploring the dissociative multiplicity of Karen Overhill in the context of Assagioli’s psychosynthesis. Above is a family portrait drawn by the artistically-inclined Jensen. From bottom left we have Sidney, Jensen, and the protector Holdon cradling the baby Karen Boo. Directly behind cheeky Sidney is Clare. In the row behind them we see Elise, an ..

Switching Time: The Seventeen Alters of Karen Overhill

Over the next week we will be exploring the dissociative multiplicity of Karen Overhill in the context of Assagioli’s psychosynthesis. The diagram above shows the ‘splitting’ of consciousness which occurred over a twelve year period and the formation of a pathological personality structure able to cope with the unwavering sadism, sexual abuse, and degradation that u ..

The 'I', Consciousness, and the Self

Next we come to the centre of Assagioli’s egg diagram which includes the fields able to interact with the strata of the unconscious, the fields of consciousness and ‘I’. The latter has been conceived in many ways however in psychosynthesis it is the freedom to identify and disidentify with the autonomous subpersonality systems operating in the middle unconscious. &l ..

The Lower and Higher Unconscious

According to Assagioli, the region known as the middle unconscious is sandwiched between two other psychic strata–the higher unconscious and the lower unconscious–filled with mental content not directly accessible to consciousness. And from where might this mental content come from? Well, all human beings are born with the inherent capacity to express an expansive continu ..

The Middle Unconscious and Subpersonalities

Assagioli was a man with a fairly complex view of human development. From birth we begin mapping out physical, emotional, and cognitive experiences and then integrating them into elaborate substructures to form a sense of self. The functions configuring the inner structuralization of our psyches are intrinsically motivated–that is, they stream forth from pre-existing patterns i ..

The Stages of Psychosynthesis

Assagioli’s psychosynthesis is dual in nature, with a personal and transpersonal component. The initial stage involves mapping out the mental contents of one’s personal unconscious in order to facilitate an authentic manifestation of I-amness. Through psychotherapeutic techniques like guided imagery, hypnosis, creative application of visualization, and active imagi ..

Roberto Assagioli and Psychosynthesis: An Introduction

Roberto Assagioli is best known for his practical application of transpersonal philosophy to psychotherapeutic methodology. As a product of upper-middle-class Venetian life, Roberto was exposed to the kind of cultural nexus that facilitates much more holistic views of psychology than ones afforded by Darwinian variants (behaviourism and psychoanalysis) at the time. Roberto ..

Roberto Assagioli and Psychosynthesis

Pictured above is Roberto Assagioli’s egg diagram of the human psyche. Encompassing the whole (but not represented in the diagram) is the Transpersonal Self. ..

The Concept of Dissociation: DSM and Ken Wilber

In 1980, the DSM initiated changes to the phenomenological compartmentalization of psychiatric illnesses to reflect clinical and academic perceptions that had been wrought in the last few decades. Foremost was the grouping of somatoform manifestations of dissociation epitomized by conversion forms of hysterical neurosis under Somatoform Disorders. Lumped in with these were a host of  ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Ferenczi, Spiegel, Tart, and Hilgard

Hysterical neurosis gradually receded from the clinical arena in the early twentieth century and patients suffering from complex conditions like multiple personality, bifurcations of consciousness, and other cognitive disintegrations were hastily lumped into the reductive Kraepelin dichotomy of Dementia praecox, a psychiatric taxonomy that was later reamalgamated under the psychotic  ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Freud's Unconscious Versus Janet's Subconscious

We could probably attribute the differences between the Freudian and Janetian understanding of what constitutes dissociation to formative influences and natural tendencies. Janet, for one, was a scrupulous empiricist who abjured theory and came equipped with an eagle eye for clinical particularities. He refrained from making overarching generalizations and kept well within the constr ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Sigmund Freud and Repression

Everybody is a product of their environment and Sigmund Freud was no exception. His formative years would have entailed an intimate acquaintance with the same intellectual treasure chest that helped shape his schematic repression model. Nested within were scientific positivism and Darwin’s theory of natural selection, reductionist philosophies attempting to sweep aside the para ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Breuer, Freud, and the Break from Janet

Late in the nineteenth century dissociation paraded under names championed by the French researchers like dédoublement de la personnalité, existences successives, désagrégation mentale, état second, and many others. It was even acknowledged as an integral mechanism in traumatic experience by Josef Breuer (1842-1925) and Sigmund Freud (1 ..

The Concept of Dissociation: William James, Boris Sidis, and Morton Prince

In contradistinction to the French who worked within defined phenomenological parameters, their maritime rivals, the British, heeded the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) whose inclination was to conceive of any disintegrated functions of consciousness (i.e. memory, identity, and perception of the environment) as dissociative. During the early years of the nineteenth century, it w ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Pierre Janet

The next momentous step in the evolutionary development of the concept of dissociation was made by the great philosopher and experimental psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947). Unwaveringly pragmatic in his professional and personal dealings, Janet succeeded in backpedalling against the occult backwash of psychiatric Romanticism and the philosophy of nature by adopting scientific emp ..

The Concept of Dissociation: Franz Anton Mesmer and the Marquis de Puységur

The name Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) is often evoked with respect to the evolutionary history of hypnosis. In actual fact he’s something of an ancillary pioneer, having stumbled upon the technique completely by chance. But save for this remarkable discovery he was also responsible for the foundation of a philosophical system that would facilitate the mid-nineteenth century e ..

The History of the Concept of Dissociation: An Introduction

The understanding of what constitutes ‘dissociation’ and how it might be defined has changed ample times over the last three centuries. Indubitably we could refer to it as one of the most elusive conceptual shape-shifters in the history of dynamic psychiatry, as volatile as liquid mercury coursing through our mercury-in-glass thermometers. An even greater mystery is human ..

Dreamscaping Without My Timekeeper: The Results of the Time Experiment Unveiled

Dreamscaping Without My Timekeeper: A Critical Investigation into Precognitive Dreams is a comprehensive study into the precognitive faculty and its implications from a transpersonal perspective. Through the transcription, categorization, and analysis of fifty-one dream fragments belonging to fifteen participants, the author and experimenter Dr. Paul Kiritsis establishes a strong case for ..

Carl Jung and Alchemical Symbolism (Part Four)

Initially Jung’s historiography of alchemy as a sequence of pseudochemical operations exemplifying an unconscious projection of individuation was very convivial, something which shouldn’t come as any great surprise given its notorious reputation as an intellectual cul-de-sac for contemporary historians of culture. Nevertheless in the aftermath of Jungian sensationism, rad ..

Carl Jung and Alchemical Symbolism (Part Three)

In the second part of Psychology and Alchemy we encounter intellectual fruits hoping to unearth correlations in support of an inherently self-regulating psyche, a ten month labour that involved the examination of fifty-nine dreams and visionary experiences belonging to the unconscious life of Nobel prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Paoli with whom Jung had collaborated to pioneer the  ..

Carl Jung and Alchemical Symbolism (Part Two)

Roughly twenty years after the circulation of Waite’s texts, the Sinologist Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930) sent Jung a cryptic Chinese Taoist treatise entitled, The Secret of the Golden Flower. In a first perusal of the text Jung was struck by the ample use of mandala symbolism –the wheel of life or magic circle–which cropped up repeatedly in the psychedelic dream ..

Carl Jung and Alchemical Symbolism (Part One)

As a major interpreter of the Western esoteric tradition–most notably alchemy, astrology, and the Gnostic sects of antiquity–Car Gustav Jung’s (1875-1961) opinions were informed by the cultural milieu of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Contrary to the tapering, reductionist view of eclectic contemporary scholars who have contributed the ongoing mytholog ..

The "Mind Machine" Experiments: Update

In the below video, Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives a summary of the “mind machine” experiments presented thus far as well as his more comprehensive study on precognitive dreams, the “Time Experiment.” The write-up for the latter will be completed and presented online by the end of the month. There is still room for a few more participants; if you missed out when the  ..

A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination

Title: A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination Author: Gerald M. Edelman and Giulio Tononi Copyright: 2000 Genre: Science Price: $18.00 ISBN: 0-465-01377-5 Rating: 4 out of 5 This book is a contemporary product of the mind-brain debate, a neuroscientific inv ..

Serial Time: Dunne’s Theory and its Implications

Carl Jung’s coming to the esoteric discipline of alchemy was heralded by Psychology and Alchemy (1944), a publication that would be the first of three major works (Volumes 12, 13, & 14 of his Collected Works) attempting to understand alchemical symbolism as unconscious expressions of archetypal content projected onto matter. Towards the latter half of his illustrious c ..

The Precognitive Faculty: Memories of the Future

The belief in prophetic omens is as rife as it ever was. If anecdotal accounts and folkloristic tradition are to be believed, seers and prophets have been descrying the future from the time humans developed tribal consciousness to differentiate and protect themselves from the hostile environment. While more cultivated in intuitive persons and less in the extroverted and practical, th ..

The Spiritual Sun: Disidentification from the Realms of Convention

The last plate of the alchemical Splendor Solis series is also the most unfathomable. This picture is a lot like the inaugurating one with the black sun in that we are once again some distance outside the walls of an anonymous city. We can no longer perceive bubbly children at play or a group of conscientious women going about their domestic choirs. There’s no motherly love, no ..

"Healing Agoraphobia with Divine Guidance" by Christina M. Gnaedig

Dr. Paul Kiritsis presents the entry and a short biography for the shared first place prize of the "Transpersonal Psychology" competition written by Christina M. Gnaedig. Healing Agoraphobia with Divine Guidance Fear that overwhelms you, paralyzes you, steals your breath, bends your knees and takes you in a distant world is simply an emotion, jus ..

"The Hero’s Journey: Transforming Mental Illness into a Blessing" by Bret Warshawsky

Dr. Paul Kiritsis presents the entry for the shared first place prize of the "Transpersonal Psychology" competition written by Bret Warshawsky. The Hero’s Journey: Transforming Mental Illness into a Blessing Fall of 1994: I am nineteen and in my first semester of film school in New York. Despite living with three good friends, I suddenly feel very much alone  ..

"The Me Who May or May Not Be Me" by David Messineo

Dr. Paul Kiritsis presents the entry and a succinct biography for the second prize winner of the "Transpersonal Psychology" competition, David Messineo. The Me Who May or May Not Be Me 1. From the fourth wall, looking in to three. At right, a wall of solid wood horizontal planks, about a foot wide, floor to ceiling. At center, a square cut-out -  ..

Transpersonal Psychology Competition Results

I would like to thank everybody who participated in the “Transpersonal Psychology” competition. The reception and I received this time around was far more encouraging and enthusiastic than on any previous occasion. Those who entered were willing to describe in conscientious detail experiences and powerful sentiments connected to them which could so easily draw blood from  ..

Women’s Work: Integral Mechanisms of Consciousness

The third picture of the third series of plates belonging to the Splendor Solis collection of alchemical images initiates a dramatic departure from both the images of sol niger (the black sun) and the tranquil haven of children at play. Gone are the mystifying sentiments prompted by a harrowing vision of desecration and the transcendental electricity that is generated when children c ..

Child’s Play: A Fundamental Key to Transformation

The third and final collection of images from the Splendor Solis series features four beautiful illustrations encapsulating the entire alchemical process: an image of the black sun (already discussed in a previous post); a scene depicting ten children engaged in free play; an outdoor scene featuring a group of women washing and putting out white blankets and bed sheets to dry; and an ..

Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives interview on his research, lucid dreaming, and OBEs

Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives interview on his research, lucid dreaming, and Out of Body Experiences (OBEs). Click on the link below to watch the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrGrZvUBQ2E  ..

Lucid Dreaming: A Conscious Dream of the Past

My eyes are closed. I lie there, vacillating between sleeping and waking as the tension slowly seeps out through the extremities of my body. The proliferating languor is disarming; I know I should haul myself out of bed otherwise I’ll just end up zonking out. Calling up my last reserves of strength I lift my head off the pillow and examine my immediate surrounds, searching for  ..

Lucid Dreaming: How to Awaken in Your Sleep

Dreams are phenomena we all experience yet seldom discuss. In fact, the omnipresence of dreams in our day-to-day lives would lead one to believe that they might comprise a popular topic for casual conversation amongst co-workers and acquaintances. Nonetheless, this doesn’t seem to be the case! I believe that this indifference to dreams has more to do with the ambiguous and conv ..

Beleaguered by the Black Sun: Three Dreams (Part Three)

Who doesn’t like summer I tell myself, stepping into a pair of black denim shorts, a sleeveless red T-shirt, and my favourite brown sandals. It’s that time of the year when the sun is at its zenith and the soul is unfettered by the monotonous conditions imposed by Western lifestyle. When the centrepiece of our solar system is cheerful, the heart and soul also shine with t ..

Beleaguered by the Black Sun: Three Dreams (Part Two)

God knows how I’ve gotten here, but it seems as though I’m in a subterranean kitchen of some sort. Two strange features of the room is that it has been covered over in jet black paint and that there is a complete absence of air vents installed to divert any vapoury by-products of cooking liable to facilitate oxidization. The rectangular shaped room features a range of sin ..

Beleaguered by the Black Sun: Three Dreams (Part One)

I awake, complacent in my bed. Turning my head sideways, I see that the patterned blinds and curtains had been drawn to allow slivers of morning light to enter my room. It appears that the aurora has arrived. I decide to lie there for a few minutes and soak up the auric atmosphere, the sight of the sun as it ascends to the topmost echelon of the heavens from the eastern horizon. At s ..

The Black Sun: A Decisive Symbol of Transformation and Renewal

One of the most interesting yet seldom acknowledged images that crop up in alchemical manuscripts is that of the black sun. For those unfamiliar with alchemical symbology in general, the pairing of two words qualitatively irreconcilable may seem very bizarre. How can a source of omnipresent physical light that sustains organic life all over our planet be linked to the colour black or ..

Omm Sety: A Life Lived on the Mythic Level (Part Two)

So what position is a viable one to take with respect to Omm Sety’s past life claims and metaphysical experiences? If we took a purely phenomenological perspective, we could argue that everything that transpired between Omm Sety and the disembodied conscious of King Sety was real because she construed it that way. As the intellectual great Carl Jung (1875-1961) postulated ..

Omm Sety: A Life Lived on the Mythic Level (Part One)

I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert… Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked th ..

Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives update on blogs and competition

Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives update on blogs and competition (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9G_Xm4O19Q&list=UU1KebfBShTD7_0Rpd7WR8KA&index=1) In the above YouTube video, Dr. Paul Kiritsis gives a summary of the material traversed in the last four months, the material to come in the next two months, and a small reminder about the "transpersonal psychology" competition fo ..

The Therapeutic Wheel: an Alchemical Process

Depicted above is a pie chart showing the individual stages of the alchemical process in relation to psychotherapy. The stages do not always proceed in this particular order and the time spent in each one depends on variant factors. ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Rubedo

According to alchemical doctrine, the unremitting addition of mercury to the prima materia in the alembic or retort and the repeated cycles of distillation to which it is subjected spurs a violent reaction, causing it to attain a deep red hue that can be likened to blushing. Fiery red is a colour of rage, anger, passion, emotion and activity, as well as the unconscious will to dominate, s ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Sublimatio

Alchemists have always understood sublimatio as an ascending movement of the cyclic process of purification that releases the pure spirit from the primordial slime or prima materia in the alchemical vessel, the vas or alembic. In defining the process, the fourth-century Greek bishop Synesius explains that “when our stone is in the vessel, and that it mounts up on high in fume, ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Coagulatio (Citrinitas)

In the alchemical opus coagulatio transcribes the process whereby a liquid is chemically transposed into a solid state. The allusion to hardening and of going from an unconditional to a conditional state of existence is inexplicable linked with creation as a churning act of incarnating spirit or coming into being. All cosmogonic myths attempting to explain the origin of the uni ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Solutio

Solutio comes under the mediation of the ethereal element of water and pertains to chemical liquefaction. Think of this alchemical operation as dropping a piece of ice into a bottle of tepid water. Gradually the ice cube will melt and become a part of the larger body of water. This re-joining and becoming one with a parent membrane typically personified as a goddess, a woman, or an earthy ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Mortificatio

The seventh stage of the therapeutic process is a recapitulation of the first (the nigredo) where the matter in the alembic is gradually reduced to its primordial, undifferentiated state of prima materia by manner of incineration. Alchemists often imagined that the vapour condensing at the top of the vessel during this phase was the liberated ‘soul’ of the metal, chemical, or  ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Conjunctio

Conjunctio has always been used in alchemy as a symbol of culmination and is probably the most common and celebrated image of the Great Work. It means to unite or bind and together with the separatio forms the rotational cycle by which the prima materia (i.e. lead, mercury, salt, water, earth, etc.) is distilled of elementary impurities until it attains the refined, dense, and scint ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Albedo

During the alchemical rotation, the putrefying black matter in the alembic wrought by the nigredo phase undergoes an intrinsic change expressed visibly as a pattern of white flecks and eventually becomes white. In describing this pivotal transformation, the seventeenth century alchemist Eirenaeus Philalethes pronounced that “when by continuance of decoction the colour changeth to wh ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Calcinatio

Calcinatio, the fourth phase of the therapeutic process, is primarily concerned with the unconditional acceptance of warring opposites within one’s psyche. Alchemy understands this procedural aspect of the Work as a chemical reduction of metals like copper and iron into granular powders, ashes, or dust. Writing specifically about this phase of alchemical transformation in ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Separatio

Known as separatio, the third alchemical phase involves a differentiation of the prima materia into the elements of fire, air, water, and earth. The refinement of coarse and impure chemical substances into more subtle, unalloyed ones in the alchemist’s vessel through repeated cycles of distillation otherwise known as solve et coagula (dissolution and coagulation) is a chief ex ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Fermentatio

The nigredo phase in the therapeutic process is usually followed by the fermentatio. In alchemical terms the latter involves a conjunction of the masculine and feminine formative forces–Sol and Luna or Philosophical Sulphur and Philosophical Mercury–in the hermetically sealed alembic. Fermentatio is one and the same with sowing seeds in fertile fields that will confer good f ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: Prima Materia and Nigredo

In transpersonal psychology, each stage of the alchemical opus corresponds with a particular juncture in the psychotherapeutic journey. For the most part everything begins with the prima materia, the base substance of which all created matter is hewn. Alchemists across the ages have agreed that it is elementary and ubiquitous in nature. The prima materia is to be found everywhere an ..

A Psychological Interpretation of the Emerald Tablet

The Emerald Tablet, otherwise known as the Tabula Smaragdina in Latin, is a condensed and apocryphal summation of Alexandrian alchemy that was reintroduced to the Latin West sometime during the thirteenth century. Esotericists and occultists frequently refer to it as the ‘Bible of all alchemists’, as fundamental to the Hermetic Art as what Biblical Scripture is to Christian ..

Therapy as an Alchemical Process: A Short Introduction

Carl Gustav Jung’s persistence in deciphering the cryptic, convoluted, and exasperating imagery presented in many ancient, medieval and Renaissance alchemical manuscripts was instrumental in eliciting a renewed twentieth century interest in alchemy as a corroborating aspect of depth psychotherapy. In the last few centuries preceding this phenomenon alchemy had fallen in ..

Dr. Paul Kiritsis Announces the "Transpersonal Psychology" Competition

Postmark deadline: 15th January, 2013 Theme: Spiritual Emergencies Task: You need to select one of the following from your arsenal of life experiences thus far (if you’ve had them) and describe it in detail: a peak experience, a near-death experience, a past-life memory, an opening to life myth, a psychic opening, or a shamanic crisis. Your job is to evoke ..

Unfinished Soul Business: Exploring Phobias through Past and Future Life Memories (Part 2)

In further sessions, we explored the interrelationships between disease pathogens, physical symptoms, tingly and odd little sensations produced by crawling insects on the skin, and the terror of being devoured from the inside-out. The emerging story revealed the complex to be much more deeply ingrained in my multidimensional psyche than previously thought. In an excerpt of the transcript  ..

Unfinished Soul Business: Exploring Phobias Through Past and Future Life Memories

Many years ago I decided to do something about my irrational fear of insects and spiders. To me, flinching every time a cockroach appeared and going into a spasmodic fit when an ant or any other insect crawled onto my arm or leg was anything but ordinary. It embarrassed me immensely, as did my fear of the sight of blood, of towering heights, and of the sea. My reactions to these thi ..

The Psychology of Karma in Past-Life Regression

I think it’s more than safe to assume that certain psychological disturbances like phobias and irrational fears are native to our psychospiritual core. No matter how far back into our past we choose to look they seem to have thick, protracted roots that penetrate to the very centre of who we are, how we interact with other human beings, and how we choose to deal with a  ..

Perspectives on Past-Life Regression

The transpersonal perspective of human consciousness has evolved rapidly over the years to embrace the colourful albeit intellectually sidelined children of spiritism and the occult. These experiences, perceived as spiritual emergencies by a general public starved from the esoteric and psychospiritual depth that is their natural birth right, are as variegated as they are comprehensi ..

Waking to the Reality of the Dreambody: A Personal Account

The following is a transcription (not verbatim) of a consultation that took place many years ago between a noteworthy and respectable physician practicing in John Fawkner Private Hospital in Coburg and myself. It vindicates the existence and undetected movements of the personal and universal dreambody. At the time, I was suffering from debilitating headaches, dizziness,  ..

Arnold Mindell: Defining the Dreambody

One of the most interesting people working in transpersonal psychotherapy today is New Yorker Arnold Mindell. Like a great many other advocates of the humanistic school of thought, Mindell stresses the impartial observation of processes occurring on a psychic and somatic level. “The therapist’s only tool is his ability to observe processes,” he says, emphasizing the pivo ..

Exercises in Active Imagination: The Mythic Journey

According to Jungian ideology we are all a psychological synergy of many archetypes–warrior, puritan, magician, king or queen, noble, sorcerer or sorceress, hero or heroine–yearning for conscious expression. Phenomenologically this makes sense from the perspective that one part of us wants to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised in society; one part wants to lead the m ..

Carl Jung and Active Imagination

Active imagination is a specific therapeutic technique of entering the imaginal world that was pioneered by Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) in the early twentieth century. We could think of it as forced intercourse between two corroborating aspects of being–the ego and the personal unconscious–that make up the transcendent self. Central to the endeavour is the plucking of an imag ..

Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Review

At first glance Norman Cousins’ book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration looks like it might be another preachy rehash of themes and ideas indigenous to contemporary holistic medicine mania. Without meaning to evoke the axiom ‘bigger is better’, the size and thickness of the book definitely facilitate such a pr ..

The Elixir of Life: Secrets of Longevity

Ironically, one can spend an entire life inveigled by dreary eyes and sightless slumber, ceaselessly hunting for ‘the medicine that hath more virtues then all the medicines of the earth’ without ever once being wantonly interrupted by the revelation that the answer to the mind-boggling paradox might be bequeathed by one’s own predecessors. Many moons ago, I, too, was con ..

The Human Brain and its Primary Divisions

(/img/uploads/2012/10/brainparts12.jpg) Simple diagram of the human brain showing its primary divisions. ..

Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind as a Manifestation of Brain

According to cognitive neuroscience the brain and its supporting tissues are the corporeal embodiment of the mind; without it all higher mechanisms of causation including consciousness, language, imagination, and memory would not be possible. In fact, we could probably narrow down our ability to function and form complex levels of interaction with our environment to three specific factors ..

The Survival of Consciousness: Mind as Separate from Brain

Thus far we have discussed the idea that the rich, multifaceted and complex stream of mental life indigenous to the human condition known as the mind or human consciousness is an embodiment of the brain and specifically of the cerebral cortex. According to this equation, the mind is an emergent and higher functional system of the brain manifesting novelty and an unprecedented degre ..

Social Neuroscience and its Natural Theory of Emergence: Mind as a Manifestation of Brain

Nowadays, the physical, natural, and medical sciences are progressing at rates that would have no doubt impressed the likes of legendary physicists Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein had they been around to witness them. The advances that we’re seeing in subdisciplines like cognitive neuroscience and aerospace engineering are so astounding and unprecedented that they continue to forge ..

The Evolution of Mind: A Brief Historiographical Review

One of the most critical issues in science today pertains to the relationship of the brain to the mind. Is the mind merely a functional by-product of the brain’s evolution or is the mind, that rich polygonal stream of mental life known as self-awareness or self-consciousness, a disembodied entity that appropriates the comprehensive neural systems of the cerebral cortex to express it ..

Meet Three of Dr Paul Kiritsis's Subpersonalities

To concretize the discussion on subpersonalities, I will present three specific examples of two-chair work with three of my incalculable subpersonalities. The first is a particularly assertive, conditioned, and powerful by-product of the Centaur or Authentic phase of development; he is Apostle, my inner artist. The second is a narcissistic, blithe, and free-spirited youth by the name  ..

Let's Pretend and See What Comes Out: Subpersonalities

Do you know what a subpersonality is? It’s essentially a part of you or any part which can be personified. It can be the envy you feel when a peer gets the business promotion you were expecting, or the lust you feel when a beautiful stranger happens to brush past you on the sidewalk. It can be the doubt that has plagued you about your ability to perform at competition level or the a ..

The Pivotal Role of Personal Mythology in Psychotherapy and Healing

Do you know what a myth is? Do you think you could dish up a substantial explanation of myth without using the word story, folktale, or fairy-tale? I’ve encountered so many monolithic interpretations of this word from people who supposedly understand its dynamics as to fill a room full of gold florins. Many will purport that myths are primeval, rudimentary, and pre-scientific  ..

Guided Fantasy: An Exercise for Descent into the Unconscious

You may choose to light a few scented white and black candles, spray some aromatic mist around the room, or burn some incense before beginning this technique in guided fantasy which is aimed at reconnecting you with the materia prima, or what Carl Gustav Jung called the collective unconscious. The materia prima is one of the deepest layers of consciousness that unites human beings ..

Guided Fantasy: An Exercise for Spiritual Ascent

You may choose to light a few scented green and blue candles, spray some aromatic mist around the room, or burn some incense before beginning this technique in guided fantasy which is aimed at taking you away from the banal routines of everyday life and inciting ethereal experiences. The positive effects of this practice should be felt in one’s mood and general outlook.  ..

Becoming the Ultimate Perceptive Social Animal

I’m inclined to believe that the world would become a much better place to live in if everybody learned the art of perception–seeing, hearing, and understanding another human being. If people really focused upon seeing another human being through certain visual cues that preclude spoken language and not through their own personal kaleidoscope of perceptions, then incidenc ..

The Healing Power of Meditation: Second Exercise

You may choose to light a few scented white candles, spray some aromatic mist around the room, or burn some incense before beginning this meditative technique which is aimed at developing your astral or psychic body. The positive effects of this development will be felt in hypnagogia and lucid dreaming. First and foremost I want you to find a comfortable space on the floor  ..

The Imaginal World: Guided Fantasy

One of the most important techniques for exploring the inner life was pioneered in the 1930s by French psychotherapist Robert Desoille (1890 –1966). Heavily influenced by the theorization of an unconscious whose foundations were being laid by the likes of Pierre Janet (1859-1947), Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), and Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), Desoille developed a very practical method ..

The Healing Power of Meditation

Every individual interested in self-improvement, wellbeing, and pastoral care or self-help methods to free oneself from the hell of unwanted addictions is bound to run into meditation sooner or later. Despite its increasing popularity amidst spiritual seekers, peacemakers, and lovers of harmonious communion with the inner self and with the greater cosmos there appears to be a surplus ..

Negative Transformation: What do Hallucinations Reveal About the Human Condition?

The fact that the steepest descent into madness is usually accompanied by a conscious communion with a pecking order of spiritual entities substantiates the idea that the dynamic of the inner realm has remained much the same over vast expanses of time. Four centuries ago a Catholic or Orthodox priest would have told you you’re suffering demonic possession and that you were in urg ..

Descent into Madness: What Causes This Self-Destructive Transformation?

We often pride ourselves on how far we’ve progressed since the High Middle Ages. We now have automobiles that run on gas and petrol, aeroplanes that break the sound barrier, antibiotics that kill bacterial infections in the body, atom smashers that recreate the birth of our universe, modern telecommunication systems like radio, cable television, and internet that have rendered dista ..

Abraham Maslow and the Psychology of Peak Experiences

(/img/uploads/2012/09/DSCF2877.jpg) A consequence of any chosen lifestyle is that there is bound to be ample repetition. We awake every morning to a set of painstakingly tedious and mindless tasks. Some of these are unconscious and related to the autonomic nervous system; we digest food, respire, perspire, salivate, urinate, and become sexually aroused. Others encompass some degree ..

The Other Self: Listening and Learning from it

Sophie knew that the best brush stroke effects were often achieved when the painter worked without expectations. This was often accompanied by a state of complete relaxation that loosened up all those little muscles in the joints of the hand. She found that successfully attaining this condition enabled her to work with her eyes completely shut. These techniques had been used by the great  ..

The Psychology of Dreams: How To Interpret Them

I’ve never quite been sure as to why people use the axiom “the stuff of dreams”. One might say that owning a house on the Bahamas and being able to live a relaxed, slow-paced lifestyle or winning Tatts lotto is the “stuff of dreams”. But why should dreams be connected with pleasure, success and positive sentimentalities when most of the time they’r ..

Between Sleeping and Waking: Psychology and Hypnagogic States of Consciousness

Very frequently in winter I’ll sprawl myself out onto a warm woollen rug beside the heater with a good book. There’s nothing quite like turning inward and losing yourself in vibrant fiction or non-fiction when things in the real world aren’t quite bending to your will as quickly and as easily as you thought they might. Or when the weather outside implies that another Arm ..

Secrets of Psychology: Finding Ourselves Through Feeling-Imagery

Many ancient creation myths speak of a time when nothing existed save for an interminable sea of possibilities called primeval chaos. But what exactly is primeval chaos? If we look at mythology from a cosmological perspective then it has to be the state of affairs in our universe before the “Big Bang” or whatever phenomenon it was that caused the prototypes of everything that  ..

The Path to Health and Wellbeing: Self-Reflection

The past few months have been an overwhelming encounter with work, and when I say work I allude to the long, drawn-out process of studying, formulating opinions on certain topics, and writing. In fact all I can recall during this period is reading and writing, and then more some. I also recall being sick quite a bit. First, I capitulated to a heavy bout of the flu and then to a stomach bu ..

Religious Healing and the "Cure of Souls"

What we find with respect to the history of psychotherapy in the Western world is that it preserved more practical aspects like the exchange of vows, prayer, and confession whilst abandoning “superstitious” aspects deemed irreconcilable with ecclesiastical dogma (i.e. magical invocation, voluntary possession, and rituals). The Catholic Church, now a self-appointed intermediary ..

Basic Characteristics of Primitive Healing

In systematically examining a great many indigenous psychotherapeutic methods and their relationship to modern psychotherapy, it becomes clear that there are five major characteristics that separate the two variants from one another. The first is concerned with role and influence within the general community; having been reduced to operate within a denomination of scientific inqu ..

Ceremonial Healing

From the scope of indigenous therapies covered thus far there is one important methodological aspect that is a therapeutic agent in its own right–ceremony. In many indigenous tribes unknown pathogenic causes can be cast in personified roles with formative powers of the universe where the healing ceremony becomes something of a vigorous re-enactment intended to exorcise the illness f ..

Healing Through the Gratification of Frustrations

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but the wish come true is a tree of life” (Proverbs XIII, 12) For most of us the idea that extreme dissatisfaction can lead to aggravation and disquiet and eventually to some form of physical illness isn’t all that farfetched. I can recall a great many instances in my life where prolonged internal conflict and loss of funda ..

Healing Through Confession

Many people are often surprised when they learn that the act of confessing is actually a therapeutic method, and an effective one at that. In turning to a significant other, perhaps a priest, confidant or just another human being and entrusting them with our innermost thoughts, secrets, and problems, we are in effect expelling the accumulation of psychological garbage and cleansing ou ..

Demonic Possession

A specific form of possession I would like to discuss separately is demonic possession. Such cases are usually highly distressing and challenging for both the individual affected and the loved ones around him or her. Interestingly, possession by evil spirits or elementals has been rife in the history of Western civilization, particularly in European countries during the High Middle Ages a ..

Possession and Exorcism

One ancient disease theory that we have yet to mention is spirit possession, the belief that a foreign entity has penetrated the human body and taken control of the part of the mind that identifies with the ego, the “I”. In souring the literature on spirit possession, it immediately becomes evident that indigenous cultures utilize three primary methods to expel them from the b ..

Temple Healing and Philosophical Psychotherapy

The advent of Western civilization, usually localized in Mesopotamia around 4000 bce, saw the rise of religious and political institutions that encouraged a twofold division of the earliest medicine known into two specific denominations, temple medicine and lay medicine. Heeded by the temple priest or priestess, temple medicine supplanted ancient psychotherapeutic methods that had dealt w ..

Magical Healing

The worldview of our ancestors is as variegated as it is deep. One particular method of healing that touches upon ancient medicine though are much broader in its epistemological scope is magic. Magic is, amongst other things, an attempt to thwart, divert, accelerate, or fiddle with the natural order and fundamental harmony or the inner workings of fate. Contemporary mechanistic science vi ..

Healing Through Incubation

There are many strains of primeval therapy. One of the most interesting and awe-inspiring is incubation, a procedure that literally means “lying on the ground” and involves experiencing curative visions whilst asleep on the floor of a consecrated site, usually a cavern or temple. The autochthonous cultures of the world made ample use of incubation in prehistoric times and pass ..

Rational Therapies in Primitive Medicine

Ever present in this day and age is the erroneous notion that Western medicine has the etymology of most illnesses pinned down and that the indigenous healers were operating from entirely false premises. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often we forget that only the most severe cases of physical and mental ailments were reserved for medicine men; the rest were dealt with by lay do ..

Primitive Psychotherapy: Healing Through Hypnosis

As a therapeutic method, hypnosis is quite at home in modern dynamic psychiatry and psychotherapy though the degree to which it influenced the healing methods of autochthonous cultures remains indeterminate. Naturally it would be ignorant to assume that the therapeutic practices of the Australian Aborigines, the American Indians, the Incas, the Southeast Asians, and the native African peo ..

Primitive Psychotherapy: Intrusion and Extrusion of Disease-Object

Another disease theory pertaining to the autochthonous populations of the world revolves around the extraction of a foreign object or substance from the sufferer’s body. In such cases, there is an exclusive predisposition for people to believe that the disease is caused not by the object or substance itself but by a harmful radiation or essence that emanates from it. The perpetrator ..

Primitive Psychotherapy: Shamanism and the Search for the Soul

In many aboriginal cultures around the world–the Australians, the Philippine Pygmies, the Negritos of the Malay Peninsula, the Siberians, the Northwest Africans, and the Melanesians–illness is ascribed to fragmentation of the soul from the human body. The idea probably stems from the fact that the world of dreams differs markedly from conscious experience. When we fall aslee ..

The Unconscious in History: Primitive Psychotherapy

For most of us the subconscious mind–a level of reality rendered fully accessible during altered states of consciousness–would seem like a recently established phenomenon in the development of psychology, somewhat popularized by the intellectual ramblings of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. But if one scrutinized the subtle psychotherapeutic methods used in the treatment of  ..

The Riddle of Alchemy: A Secret Desire Transformed (e-book)

I have just finished writing an e-book called "The Riddle of Alchemy: A Secret Desire Transformed" that will very shortly become available for download from this website if you subscribe to it. The e-book examines and puts forth something of immense importance that the Hermetic Art might be trying to tell us about the nature of the universe and the relationship between the unconscious and ..

The Promethean Myth in Light of Jungian Psychology

The name Prometheus has cultural associations to creation, theft, progress, evolution, intelligence, and fore-thinking. In fact, the etymological route of the name from the words pro (before) and manthano (learn) links the word in question to the latter and explains why the Latin Servius claimed that Prometheus was a man of great foresight. Like many of the other deities, it appears that  ..

The Cult of Hathor-Isis and the Mother Archetype (Part Two)

The growing independence of masculinity and systematization of ego consciousness in early mankind manifests itself as the moon-god Osiris (Plate 12). It can be inferred that Osiris in his early form is a son-lover of the Great Mother, as the moon is a spiritual symbol of the mother archetype. He is the man-god whom shifts Predynastic Egypt from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society, from ..

The Cult of Hathor-Isis and the Mother Archetype (Part One)

Today we will be looking at the Great Mother archetype, and specifically its evolution in ancient Egypt. In order to see the Plates which accompany the following study you will need to watch the YouTube videos. "The triune cult of the Egyptian Hathor-Nut-Isis is the longest lasting cult in the history of Western Civilization. The cult had its beginnings in the Predy ..

The Greek gods and goddesses in light of analytical psychology

To understand how the ancient Greeks viewed their gods and goddesses, we first need to return to Plato’s conception of the universe. He was a philosopher of the metaphysical school, believing that the cosmos could be divided into an eternal realm of “being” which encompassed the intellect, the divine forms and ideas, as well as an ever-fluctuating, temporal and chaotic  ..