Types of Spiritual
Emergence / Emergency
"It is important for helping professionals to have an understanding of these phenomenological categories, in order to conduct culturally competent assessments, when encountering individuals who may seek services presenting with these spiritually oriented concerns" (Garbe, 2020).
Meditation - can open us up to insights that may be difficult to integrate. A recent Brown University study suggests that meditation related stress is under-reported.
A near death experience - is a profound psycho-spiritual event that may occur close to death, or during physical or emotional crisis. Near death experiences can alter the way we view the world.
Near Death Experience
A shamanic crisis - stemming from indigenous tribal cultures, a shaman utilizes altered stated of consciousness as a healing modality. Some experiences, otherwise diagnosed as schizophrenia or mood disorders, can be seen as analogous to the psychological turmoil experienced by prospective shamans.
Kundalini - is as an energetic force or potential within the body that, once awakened, works to clear blockages that hinder growth. This clearing may result in psychological and physical challenges.
Psychic Opening - The opening of the "psyche" - the human soul, mind, consciousness and unconsciousness, to new information, understandings, and intuitions. If these come too quickly, they can be overwhelming, leading to a spiritual emergency.
Mystical Experiences - Spontaneous feelings of interconnectedness and ego transcendence; feelings of timelessness, spaciousness, nothingness; feelings of ultimate surrender; feelings of rapture, love, ecstasy, or contentment that transcends suffering; clarity, or a shattering of preconceived notions. Dr. Michelle, director of ACISTE, discusses her mystical experience and where to find support.
Past Lives - Many cultures believe in reincarnation. Individuals may have sudden understandings, memories, and feelings, that they intuitively understand as being sourced from previous lives. Some of these memories and feelings can be traumatic.
Hearing voices - is not seen as pathological in many cultures. Research is validating the experiences of individuals who hear voices, accepting that these experiences can be empowering and not necessarily pathological.
Loss of Faith - Individuals may lose faith in their religious or spiritual leaders and communities. This may result in disconnection from their primary social support systems. This is where spiritual (cultural) competence is vital within the helping professions.
Loss of Faith
Pew Research Center: Religious and Public Life (2009).
Many Americans mix multiple faiths.
About half of the U.S. public (49%) says they have had a mystical or religious experience. The 2009 Pew Forum survey found that mystical and religious experiences were more common among those who are unaffiliated with any particular religion.