Using an old paradigm there is a clear distinction between psychology, a science studied at universities all around the world and spirituality, a difficult to define discipline that includes a lot of things all of which typically non-scientifically based.
A new paradigm is however emerging within the psychology that becomes more and more interested in topics, experiences and phenomena, occurring during therapy sessions, but that cannot be explained with anything found in psychology, psychotherapy or even psychiatric books.
One example are the experiences of many hypnotherapist around the world of patients regressing to previous lives. In these documented experiences there is proof that what the patient experienced was genuine and proof that is referring to actual facts occurred in the past.
A number of well researched experiences of this kind have lead to the acknowledgment of previous life. It may surprise you to know that currently, past life regression is not only part of the curriculum of hypnotherapist but that you can become past life regression therapist and be recognized as a legit professional.
This is maybe the most extreme example, however, I experienced myself spontaneous spiritual experiences during sessions with clients.
During active imagination, that is a interactive form of visualization that I often use to facilitate a journey inside the inner world of the clients, it has happened that the encounters the clients described and the images that the client saw were extremely spiritual in nature.
There has been also cases of clients that suddenly were communicating with spirits and receiving answers to their questions during sessions. These people did not know they were able to communicate with spirits and the information received were later checked and resulted accurate.
In all cases of this kind, the experience was pertinent to the goal of the sessions and the spiritual experience benefited the client and expanded her/his experiences.
All the information I have, suggest that spirituality is a resource that therapy can use to reinforce and enrich its effectivity.
This said, there are surely risks around a possible misuse of spirituality in therapy as there are with the use of technique like hypnotherapy. People are suggestable and can be manipulated, an high level of ethics is required to work as a therapist, even more so if such powerful resources are part of your practice.
What are experiences that are spiritual in nature?
I would describe as spiritual those experiences that go beyond the practicality of life and elevate you to the level where you are concerned with the meaning of things.
What is the value of having spiritual experiences during therapy?
The value of the spiritual experience, for those who spontaneously had one, was described as expansive, clarifying, all encompassing. As if the cognitive knowledge, the emotional experience and the problem together with its solution, suddenly made sense.
If this doesn’t sound particularly clear in its meaning it is also because words as we normally use then turned out to be often inadequate to describe experiences that are more of the spiritual kind. This apply at least until you have a spiritual experience yourself, after that, these attempt to describe the spiritual experiences appear to be easier to understand.
I can imagine one of two reaction at this point, either you are annoyed at this topic that you find irrelevant and you are about to leave this page, or you are starting to feel a desire to know more and even to experience more. The rest of this and future blogs about this topic are for you.
How to you elicit a spiritual experience?
To be open for a spiritual experience is surely the most important things, the starting point, I would say. If you are not open you may still get one, however, you would probably experience it as not particularly pleasant probably.
How do you know when what you are experiencing is spiritual?
Spirituality is about the essence, the meaning and the core of things. When you are invested in understanding the meaning of an event of your life you are working in your spiritual dimension.
When you use what happens to you to understand yourself better you are spiritual.
Asking yourself why this happened?
What is the meaning for me?
What do I learn here?
This is just a simple example of how the application of spirituality to therapy and personal development could look like.