My paper that was presented at the Wild and Domesticated conference in Helsinki last September has been submitted for publishing by the Afterlife Research Centre. A copy of the paper can be found here in pdf format. Spirit Release Therapy and the Art of Discernment.
We want to help people who hear voices and don’t want to be treated with toxic medication by offering a drug-free complementary therapy for no charge.
There are two main objectives:
- Bring relief from negative voice intrusions.
- Educate and inform the psychiatric community of the efficacy of drug-free methods.
I have been horrified to learn that The Science of Spirit Possession 2nd ed is being offered for sale on Amazon for ridiculous prices, sometimes in the hundreds of pounds. This is absurd as the publisher’s recommended price is £52.99, and that is the price paid through the Amazon icon on this blog. This is still a little steep for many pockets, but the book is available straight from the publisher with a 20% discount by using the code ‘spirit20’. Here is the link. Should the discount code not work please let me know and I’ll contact the publisher.
I have a small stock of copies that I carry with me to conferences, lectures and workshops, where I sell signed copies for £25. So, if you want one at this price come to an event where I am speaking and ask me for one.
I also left a small stock at the Sokukoji Buddhist Monastery in Battle Creek, Michigan where I am confident that my friends there will let you have a copy at the 20% discounted price ($ converted) if you ask them. Here is their blog address.
Whilst checking out the price on Amazon, I was pleasantly surprised to find these excellent reviews and I sincerely thank all those who took the time and trouble to read the book and write them. Thank you all.
“This book, based on Palmer’s Ph.D. thesis, is a scholarly and authoritative exploration into a little understood area of human experience. […] The book sets out to challenge the current orthodox position on the causes of mental problems, which it does more than adequately […] [and] for those interested in, or working with mental and psychological health, where a possible cause could be spirit intrusion in one form or another, it should be a must to have on the bookshelf.”
David Furlong, Director of the Spirit Release Forum and author of Illuminating the Shadow. Network Review: Journal of the Scientific and Medical Network, 121 (2016/2).
“The Science of Spirit Possession is a commendable book and I recommend it. […] It is refreshing to see such an erudite discourse, particularly when it comes to theory. Dr. Palmer knows the subject very well and it is evident.”
Erika A. Pratte. Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology, 3: 1 (2015).
“This book contains so much valuable information for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into all aspects of the possession phenomenon, how it has been and is now being treated and all that this entails in various parts of the world.”
Martha Jette. Examiner.com, 10.1.2015.
“The Science of Spirit Possession is a book for anyone who seriously wants to examine the question of whether spirits exist and whether they can negatively affect a person emotionally and psychologically. In this book, Dr. Terence Palmer moves between the clinical evidence for the existence of spirits, on the one hand, and the search for a scientific conceptual model that can accommodate such phenomena, on the other. This book is an in-depth history of that search and argues for the model of mind and spirit developed by Cambridge scholar Frederic Myers, the 19th century co-founder of the British Society for Psychical Research. In this well-researched and well-reasoned work, Dr. Palmer offers psychology and psychiatry a scientific framework for recognizing and addressing metaphysical realities. The Science of Spirit Possession offers solid footing for those who are ready to look beyond the scientific materialism that holds us back.”
Thomas Zinser, Ed.D. Author of Soul-Centered Healing.
“This book is the longed-for sequel to the work of an illustrious line of pioneers and unnamed therapists around the world whose efforts have benefited countless sufferers of spirit possession. Now at last comes the scientific connection – so necessary for the establishment of spirit release as an accepted therapy.”
Dr. Alan Sanderson. Consultant psychiatrist, Founding chair of the Spirit Release Foundation.
“I perceive this book to be not only a compendium of a vast number of exciting ideas and findings by many of the most knowledgeable psychical researchers since Victorian times, but also a classic example of a book that is able to be read comfortably, not only by dedicated researchers but also by most members of the general public who find themselves becoming increasingly interested in psychical matters.”
Archibald A. Lawrie President, The Edinburgh Society for Psychical Research, Vice President, The Scottish Society for Psychical Research.
“A serious scientific book on the subject of spirit possession, which has long been a subject of cultural curiosity for anthropologists and derision by psychiatrists.”
Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson. Professor Emeritus, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland.
“The proposed research project protocol in this book could bring very important findings.”
Alexander Moreira-Almeida Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil.
“Spirit possession is a widespread phenomenon and has received a good deal of attention in anthropology, with a focus on indigenous tribal societies. It is much rarer to find it treated in Western society and moreover in a rigorous analytic way. Particularly welcome is Terence Palmer’s use of materials from the early Society for Psychical Research, especially the work and theories of F. W. H Myers.”
James G. Matlock, Ph.D. Associated Scholar, Rhine Research Center.
A new page has been added to this web site under the parent heading of Hypnosis. It contains an excerpt from my book The Science of Spirit Possession 2nd ed (2014).
I have included it because it is probably the most important topic of human consciousness that has been abandoned and ignored by modern Western society, but provides a scientific explanation how we can be influenced in our thoughts, feelings and behaviour from a distance by an unseen source.
Happy New Year to all.
PS. Don’t forget to check out the new Forum too.
A series of practical workshops is planned for 2017 that is designed to demonstrate the complementary approach to the removal of negative voice intrusions for voice hearers.
Medical practitioners, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and complementary therapists are invited to attend and witness the techniques used.
Willing volunteers who would like to have their negative voice intrusions removed are invited to let us know by ordering a free ticket for any workshop they are able to attend.
A paper presented to the Royal College of Psychiatrists by Dr Alan Sanderson on 25th November 2016 in London.
I’ve chosen an unusual topic but an important one. The significance of hallucinations in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is important because DID includes a feature which I suggest will one day play a big role in our clinical work. I’ll expand on this later, but first some definitions, followed by clinical examples.
Hallucinations are usually defined as the apparent perception of a non-existent external object. That’s a slanted definition, for the wording is essentially negative, implying that hallucinations are unreal. This is, of course, strongly against the views of the experiencers, for whom hallucinations are meaningful events. Here are some famous historical figures who experienced hallucinations: Socrates, Jesus, Mohammed, Joan of Arc, Saint Teresa of Avila, Robert Schumann, Mahatma Gandhi and Carl Jung. This is just a tiny sample of the total. These individuals all heard voices or saw visions from which they received life-changing inspiration. They found nothing unreal about their experiences. Just the reverse.
We need a better definition of hallucination, one that can fit those inspiring experiences. Here’s one candidate: ‘A clear sensory experience of things inaccessible to others.’ Some of us might feel inclined to make exceptions of spiritual leaders and give them a special category, but with positively-felt hallucinations present in many of our patients, (more on this later) it’s hard to justify.
Multiple personality, DID as it became in DSM-4 (1994), has seen periods of great activity and great neglect. We are now in a period of neglect, in line with the current symptom suppression phase of contemporary psychiatry.
William James saw things very differently. He regarded double personality, as it was called in his day, as the way to a deeper understanding of consciousness. James used to say that in the study of human behaviour, extreme cases have special value because they best demonstrate the underlying mechanism. DID is an extreme behaviour, in which patients switch from one identity or personality to another without realising it, sometimes with chaotic results. We now know a great deal more about DID, especially its connection to extreme childhood abuse, but it still holds many secrets. The most curious of these and perhaps the least well understood is the Inner Self- Helper, a spiritual entity as distinct from an alternative personality (or alter, as they are usually called). I’ll expand on this later.
Diagnosis in DID has two essential features: firstly, two or more distinct personality states which alternately take control of executive function and secondly, amnesia (usually reported as ‘missing time’) occurring for significant events in the subject’s life. Voices are heard in around 50 per cent of cases. Characteristically, they are the alters speaking to each other. Conversations may be friendly or argumentative. Sometimes an unknown alter is discovered because of a reported voice. In a patient of mine, a distressed 7-year-old was identified because of constant inner crying. In DID, voices may be part of a flashback, which will often include a visual component. But they are real, and whether positive or negative, these hallucinations are often meaningful.
My patient, Rose would have threatening visions of her abusive father and brother. Sometimes she saw devils coming up through the floor. She didn’t say so, but if I saw her gaze fixed on what to me was an invisible object, I would ask.
Hearing voices can be an intensely distressing experience. Here’s a quote from a sufferer: ‘No sleep. The voices own you. They take you with them.’
Rose suffered greatly. I remember one session in which the satanic chanting seemed interminable. ‘Praise to the Mighty One! Praise to the Mighty One! Praise to the Mighty One! Praise to the Mighty One!’ This had continued at high volume night and day. No wonder Rose couldn’t sleep. In desperation, I summoned angels. The bombardment stopped. What a relief! How should one explain it? Who was the Mighty One? Were angels operative in the healing? With today’s knowledge (should I say ignorance?) the answer is closed to us and will remain closed until we start to study these phenomena.
Not all voices in psychiatric patients are distressing. Some may be helpful. In the 1970s, Wilson Van Dusen made a fascinating study of voices in chronic psychiatric patients. He would ask the voices questions and have the patient repeat the inner answer. Van Dusen described two distinct groups, lower order voices which seemed to want only to annoy the patient with obscene threats and trivialities and higher order voices which respected the patient and often produced knowledge far beyond the patient’s understanding. Interestingly, he found no voices on the patient’s own level. The ratio of lower to higher was 4 to 1. Do the higher order voices come from a ‘higher region’? Is their function to counteract the lower order voices? More unspoken questions. We need to ask.
It’s time now to return to the Inner Self-Helper that I mentioned earlier. Ralph Allison, an early pioneer of Multiple Personality, described this entity in the 1970s. Although its nature and origin are still debated by therapists in this area, the Inner Self-Helper is now widely accepted as a benevolent, spiritual presence. The Inner Self-Helper can be contacted in most DID cases. It is typically unemotional, compassionate and disinterested. It has access to the history of all the alters, with whom it may or may not speak as a voice. Many therapists regard it as the knowing one, from whom dependable assistance can be expected.
In my work with Rose, I had essential help from such an entity who, when asked, would advise on therapeutic activity. How did I find it? Simply by asking for the help of a Higher Being, with my patient in an altered state of consciousness. Rose had two Inner Self-Helpers with quite distinct functions. Real, who answered my call, was very much a co-therapist. She seemed to know everything that was going on within my patient’s inner world. Real never took executive control and she never spontaneously offered detailed information, but she would sometimes draw my attention to something (perhaps a distressed alter or demonic activity) which needed my intervention. The other Inner Self-Helper had the job of keeping my patient alive. I called her Rescuer. Since Rose had to travel a long way to reach me, there was always a danger that one of the other alters might hijack her on the way home. After a session but before Rose left, I would ask for Rescuer, so that the journey might go smoothly. Rescuer could only take charge if there was danger. She saw the journey home as a dangerous enterprise. This succeeded if all went as planned. I remember one occasion where Rose unexpectedly met a colleague at a London train station. Since there was no obvious danger, Rescuer withdrew. When the colleague departed, Rose was hijacked, got off at the wrong station and spent exhausting hours in a blank.
My thumbnail sketch has ended. I hope that it will encourage others to enter this utterly fascinating and important area of clinical activity, which I suggest may have implications far beyond the treatment of DID.
I’ll close with this quote from William James:
Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.
Theoretical physics has entered this frontier of consciousness. They’re saying now that consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all reality. For psychiatrists and psychologists, phenomena like hallucinations, dissociated personalities and visions bring us to this same frontier.
We’re at the end. Or could it be just the beginning?
Schwartz, T. & Allison, R.B. (1998) Minds in Many Pieces: Revealing the Spirit Side of Multiple Personality Disorder. Cie Publishing.
Krakauer, S.Y. (2001) Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Power of the Collective Heart. Brunner – Routledge.
Van Dusen, W. (1972) The Natural Depth in Man. Chrysalis Books (Swedenborg Foundation). Zinser, T. (2011) Soul-Centered Healing: A Psychologist’s Extraordinary Journey Into the Realms of Sub-Personalities, Spirits, and Past Lives. Union Street Press.
© Alan Sanderson 2016