Knowing reality: psychotherapists' and counsellors' experiences and understandings of inexplicable phenomena while working with clients
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This hermeneutic phenomenological study explores eight psychotherapists' and counsellors' experiences and understandings of 'inexplicable' phenomena that sometimes occur when working with clients.The purpose of the study is to stimulate thinking about these experiences and bring them into conversation within the psychoanalytic community.The findings emerging from this research reveal that inexplicable phenomena may occur when therapists and counsellors are in an 'open', meditative state in which the boundaries between self and the world seem lessened and time and space are experienced differently. The phenomena may take many forms, including the apparent knowing about events that are later reported by clients, which it would not have been possible to 'sense' in the usual way, and the seeing of semi-solid forms, which may be static or moving.The meanings made of the experiences vary according to different spiritual and theoretical worldviews but, invariably, the experiences are interpreted as receiving a communication from, or being attuned to, the unconscious mind or a spiritual intelligence or source of knowledge. This is discussed in relation to psychotherapeutic, phenomenological and spiritual literature. Occultism is another field we shall have to conquer There are strange and wondrous things in these lands of darkness. Please don't worry about my wanderings in these infinitudes. I shall return laden with rich bounty for our knowledge of the human psyche (Jung to Freud 1911: Mc. Guire, 1991, p. 223).I advise against. Don't do it. By it you would be throwing a bomb into the psychoanalytical house, which would be certain to explode. (Freud's letter to Ferenczi, (1919) when the latter wanted to present his telepathic experiments to the next IPA conference (Jones, 1957, p. 42).Freud wrote to psychic researcher , Hereward Carrington, that: "If I had my life to live over again, I should devote myself to psychical research rather than to psychoanalysis" (Jones 1957, p. 32). In 1929, Freud denied having said this but Ernest Jones tracked down the evidence of the letter (Farrell, 1983).