Spiritual Emergency

From The SpiritWiki
Jump to: navigation, search


‘‘‘Spiritual Emergency’’’ is a syncretic term for, and type of, Nadir Experience. The term was by Stanislav and Christina Grof[1] and is used within Transpersonal Psychology to refer to negative experiences of emotional trauma and crises associated with Connection Experience.

Syncretic Terms

Connection Pathology > Spiritual Emergency

Notes

As Cortright notes[2], "Most people think of spiritual growth as safe. The spiritual path may not be easy, but it is usually not considered dangerous. However, the world's spiritual traditions all warn about different dangers along the way, the “perils of the path.” New and expanded states of consciousness can overwhelm the ego. An infusion of powerful spiritual energies can flood the body and mind, fragmenting the structures of the self and temporarily incapacitating the person until they can be assimilated."

Goretzki, Thalbourne, and Storm have developed a short form "Spiritual Emergency Scale"[3] Note that Kane[4] and Harris[5] question the validity of the SES scale, suggesting, based on validating data, that the scale actually measures Spiritual Emergence and that a crises of some kind may be the only thing that distinguishes spiritual emergency from spiritual emergence. This is a significant, underlined by the fact that accessing proper support may be the difference between experiencing and emergency, and experiencing a positive spiritual outcome.

Psychosis as spiritual emergency: Goretzi et. al.[6] suggest psychosis may be a form of spiritual emergency that occurs when individuals lack support structures or resilience factors.

A spiritual emergency may be minor, such as short term confusion or immobilization, or it can be major, such as the dramatic Ego Explosion that sometimes attends the contact experiences of individual's raised in the worst toxic environments.

Spiritual problems are prevalent. Estimates in the field of psychology suggest that between 29% and 60% of practitioners have dealt with some form of spiritual pathology (Lukoff, Lu, and Turner, 1998). How much of these may be considered severe spiritual emergencies is unknown. Despite the prevalence, Lukoff and Robert (1998) note general lack of training as an obstacle to the proper therapeutic approach. For those with the ability to prescribe drugs, treatment often amounts to little more than a prescription for chemical suppressors (Soma pills, really), that clumsily suppress thoughts, emotions, and the ability to connect. and “disconnect” from higher consciousness.

Spiritual emergency may lead to psychosis, in the worst cases. Goretzki, Thalbourne, and Storm[7] suggest that spiritual psychosis is more likely when individuals do not have "specific support factors and resilience structure."

Spiritual emergencies are often diagnosed as psychotic by the mainstream psychiatric and medical profession (Whitney, 1998). As (Whitney, 1998) notes, the medical and psychological establishment is woefully unprepared to properly conceptualize and handle spiritual emergencies.

Treatment

Cortright[8] notes that "Spiritual emergency was once dismissed by the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic establishment as merely a form of mental illness, requiring medication and hospitalization in order to end it as soon as possible. This misdiagnosis and mistreatment aborted an otherwise growthful and life-changing process of psycho-spiritual change."


Cortright[9] "At the time SEN was established, spiritual emergencies were almost always seen as a form of malignant, psychotic process. But since then the mental health picture has changed considerably, at least with regard to theory. The Diagnostic and statistical manual of the American Psychiatric Association (hereafter DSM-IV) now includes spiritual emergency in its diagnostic categories under the classification “Spiritual or Religious Problem,” a non-pathological V Code that may be a focus of treatment. However, despite this inclusion in the DSM-IV, there has been little impact on clinical practice in terms of how the mental health field as a whole views and responds to spiritual emergency. "

When properly handled, a spiritual emergency can lead to significant therapeutic and spiritual advance, even spontaneous healing of emotional, psychosomatic disorders [10] and physical disorders. Improperly handled, a spiritual emergency can lead to "permanent" psychological and emotional damage that could take decades to recover from.

"...supportive helpers, who were able to provide knowledge and/or understanding about the sufferers' more spiritual experiences, provided a buffer to psychosis"[11]

Causes

A spiritual emergency is experienced by a damaged and improperly prepared Physical Unit. Damage may include emotion and psychological trauma caused by Toxic Socialization, or cognitive damage caused by the imposition of Old Energy Archetypes into the egoic consciousness of the physical unit. It is important to note that crown activation itself is not the direct cause of a spiritual emergency. In a healthy and prepared Physical Unit, contact with the Fabric of Consciousness is always a positive, uplifting, and empowering experience.

Major spiritual emergencies are more likely to occur when:

the individual is currently in a toxic environment
the individual is a victim of Toxic Socialization
the individual's Archetypes are Old Energy Archetypes. That is, the individual has been indocrinated with Old Energy Archetypes
the individual has had traumatic encounters with authority.

Consequences

From frazzled to total destruction of the Bodily Ego

inability to connect

In the case a physical unit with damaged psychological structures, spiritual emergencies may be precipitated when, as a result of significant psychological trauma, the bodily ego of the physical unit is weak or damaged. In such cases, the weakened ego may be unable to maintain itself against even slight contact with The Fabric. In such cases, egoic boundaries may collapse leading to severe psychological difficulty (i.e., identity problems, ideational difficulties and confusions, etc.)

In the case of an erroneous set, accidental or induced activation of the crown may lead, for example, to dramatic “eye opening” experiences and perceptions of the realities of this earth which may be profoundly disjunctive of the units previous psychological set. This disjuncture may lead to psychological emergency, although this is not a given. Rather, it is the inability of the individual to find a proper reference point that leads to psychological disturbance. Attaining a proper reference point in the face of dramatically expanded perceptions may require sensitive and spiritually sophisticated therapeutic interventions. In all cases of spiritual emergency, proper treatment can mean the difference between a successful and salutatory resolution to the emergency or ongoing trauma, neurosis, and even psychosis.

"The ego can (a) blow up like the proverbial puffer fish, (b) deflate like a pin stuck balloon, or even (c) become disordered and schizophrenic" (Sharp, 2016)

The 2000 issue of DSM-IV has a category, V62.8 Religious or Spiritual Problem which covers “distressing experiences that involve loss or questioning of faith, problems associated with conversion to a new faith, or questioning of spiritual values that may no necessarily be related to an organized church or religious institution. (p. 741). This is a conflation and abstraction of Lukoff and Turner’s (1998) suggestion for two distinct categories—Psychoreligious problem and Psychospiritual problem. The reader is referred to Lukoff, Francis and Robert (1998) for additional explanation.

The literature on spiritual emergencies is sparse and undeveloped. In addition, there is a general lack of theoretical grounding in the literature and no good understanding of transpersonal realities. Some individuals see spiritual emergency as a problem of development, evolution, higher personality integration, or even as the manifestation of some kind of “dark night” of the soul (Assagioli, 1978).

“…when the clear light beats upon them, so the soul, by reason of its impurity, suffers exceedingly when the Divine Light really shines upon it. And when the rays of this pure Light shine upon the soul in order to expel impurities, the soul perceives itself to be so unclean and miserable that it seems as if god had set Himself against it and itself were set against God.” (St. John of the Cross quoted in Assagioli, 1989: 40).

In some cases, spiritual emergency may usefully be conceptualized as a “crises of repression.” A formerly un-receptive physical unit may suddenly become receptive to consciousness if ego repression and blockages are suddenly subverted. In cases where psychological pathology or ideational disjuncture exist, a spiritual emergency may result.

Further Reading

Sosteric, Mike (2019). Lightning Path Workbook One: Introduction to Authentic Spirituality. Lightning Path Press. [1]

Sosteric, Mike and Ratkovic, Gina (2019,BOOK2). Lightning Path Workbook Two: Healing. Lightning Path Press. [2]

Sosteric, Mike (BOOK3). Lightning Path Workbook Three: Connection. Lightning Path Press. [3]


Footnotes

  1. Grof, Stanislav, and Christina Grof. Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crises. New York: Putnam, 1989.
  2. Cortright, Brant. “An Integral Approach to Spiritual Emergency.” Guidance & Counseling 15, no. 3 (2000): 12.
  3. Goretzki, Monika, Michael A. Thalbourne, and Lance Storm. “DEVELOPMENT OF A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY SCALE.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 45, no. 2 (June 2013): 105–17.
  4. Kane, B. “Spiritual Emergency and Spiritual Emergence: Differentiation and Interplay,” 2005. Doctoral Dissertation
  5. Harris, Kylie P., Adam J. Rock, and Gavin I. Clark. “Spiritual Emergency, Psychosis and Personality: A Quantitative Investigation.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 47, no. 2 (July 2015): 277.
  6. Goretzki, Monika, Michael A. Thalbourne, and Lance Storm. “DEVELOPMENT OF A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY SCALE.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 45, no. 2 (June 2013): 105–17.
  7. Goretzki, Monika, Michael A. Thalbourne, and Lance Storm. “DEVELOPMENT OF A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY SCALE.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 45, no. 2 (June 2013): 111.
  8. Cortright, Brant. “An Integral Approach to Spiritual Emergency.” Guidance & Counseling 15, no. 3 (2000): 12.
  9. Cortright, Brant. “An Integral Approach to Spiritual Emergency.” Guidance & Counseling 15, no. 3 (2000): 12.
  10. Grof, Stanislav, and Christina Grof. Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crises. New York: Putnam, 1989
  11. Goretzki, Monika, Michael A. Thalbourne, and Lance Storm. “DEVELOPMENT OF A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY SCALE.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 45, no. 2 (June 2013): 111.
Spiritwiki References