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How Traditional Psychology Dismisses Healthy and Adaptive Paranormal Phenomena…
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Conventional psychology has typically shunned perceptions and experiences that do not neatly f it into its paradigm. Phenomena such as clairaudience, seeing ‘ghosts’, f eeling or sensing presences are typically labeled as auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations, respectively. Intuitions may be regarded as delusions while outof -body experiences may be considered a type of dissociation. With such of f -putting labels and the stigma that of ten comes with them, many who have had these kinds of experiences have kept them private in order to avoid ridicule, ostracization, or even persecution and hospitalization. But although such paranormal, parapsychological, spiritual or exceptional human experiences (EHE’s) may be suggestive of pathology according to the current scientif ic paradigm, psychology does not necessarily consider them to be disorders per se, especially when such experiences can be lif e enhancing. Psychology is governed by the rules of conventional science which ultimately rest upon the assumption of materialism. T hat is, if a phenomenon cannot somehow be physically measured or quantif ied, science considers it too subjective or hearsay and not worthy of study. One of the primary tools used to diagnose pathology in psychology is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual f or Mental Disorders IV, or DSM-IV. Although this text contains collections of symptoms that are characteristic of various pathological disorders, these alone are generally not suf f icient to warrant a diagnosis. Symptoms would also have to cause either clinically signif icant distress or impairment with one’s social, occupational, or other important area(s) of f unctioning. For instance, if one was having out-of -body experiences while continually able to take care of oneself , maintain employment, and continue usual socialization with f amily members and f riends, then a conclusive diagnosis could not be made and one could even be considered normal. Unf ortunately, conventional psychology completely overlooks the f act that parapsychological experiences can better one’s lif e. T hose who have had paranormal experiences have reported an improvement their lives in a multitude of ways. Returning to the example of out-of -body experiences, a single experience alone can show one that death is not the end of existence, thereby shedding one’s f ear of death. Among other things, it can help one see the interconnectivity of lif e, improve one’s ethics and sense of altruism, increase one’s understanding of both physical and non-physical reality, etc. As a result, the individual will be apt to f eel happier and more f ulf illed in lif e which may positively impact others. Notwithstanding these benef its, it is not until such experiences are more openly accepted, discussed and more comprehensively studied by the greater population that a paradigm shif t will occur within the mainstream scientif ic community. By questioning the current scientif ic paradigm, we can expose its f laws and ultimately improve upon it. It will eventually become outdated and be replaced by a more encompassing paradigm, one that includes parapsychological phenomena. Paranormal experiences will thus be shown to be quite normal and benef icial in many ways and the quality of people’s lives will greatly improve. A revolution in science will breed an evolution in psychology. It is up to us to pave the way f or this to occur by developing ourselves to have more experiences, by questioning the status quo, by more openly talking about our experiences and by educating ourselves through the wealth of inf ormation that already exists (but is disregarded) on these subjects.

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