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"Spiritual Emergencies"

June 17, 2015

From the editor...

It's hard to believe that seven months have gone by since the last newsletter - so much for publishing quarterly!

This month's feature article about spiritual emergencies is a topic close to our hearts, but due to the press of other tasks it is something we've neglected for many years. We hope you enjoy reading about our recent work in this area.

On a different topic, a volunteer Institute like ours is made of a very dedicated, unusual people. To give you a sense of who we are, we're added a section on what we've been up to in our copious spare time (grin)...

Till next timeā€¦

PS. Want to be sure you get more newsletters? We suggest putting our email address Newsletter at into your contacts to keep them out of your spam filter. And you can update your email address with the link at the bottom of this email.

From the editor
Seven months later....

Feature Article
"Spiritual Emergencies"

Upcoming Training
Treating spiritual emergencies

People News
What have we been up to?

Feature Article:  "Spiritual Emergencies"

By  Dr. Grant McFetridge

First, what are 'spiritual emergencies'? Well, they are episodic or continuous experiences that can last days or even years. As a group, they share one characteristic - they have some religious, sacred, shamanic, mystical, or psychic component. Examples include kundalini, voices, a near death experience, possession, and others. Sometimes the experience is mild, and the person can continue their life normally, while other times it becomes an emergency, and normal functioning becomes impossible. There are many good books and articles available on the web - and we've also done two 
YouTube videos about this topic.
Given that the Institute focuses on peak states of consciousness, it is no surprise that clients who are undergoing unusual 'spiritual emergency' experiences would seek us out. What many don't know is that much of our original research, decades ago, was in understanding these sorts of phenomena and how to help people who were suffering from these often disruptive experiences.

The Institute requires all our certified therapists to take a  minimal level of training on spiritual emergencies. But formal training for therapists who want to specialize in this using the subcellular and developmental psychobiology approach has lagged, with just a few therapists getting fully trained in this area. Fortunately, Marzena Defler and others in Poland have a passion for this topic, and they have taken on the job of teaching it from an Institute perspective (see below).

If you or a loved one are suffering from a spiritual emergency, please feel free to contact Marzena, or any of the other Institute certified therapists who specialize in this area. 
Subcellular Psychobiology for Spiritual Emergencies

The field of spiritual emergency (SE) has matured over the last 25 years, with recognition and treatment for these problems reaching a stable plateau. However, rapid treatment using conventional techniques is simply not possible, and in many types of SE there are simply no treatment; instead, techniques for making the experiences easier to deal with are the focus of most approaches.
Book cover photo

Our work with subcellular and developmental psychobiology is quite new and different. We can recognize the underlying biological cause for many of the SE problems, and we have treatments targeted just for them. And in many cases treatment is quite rapid, involving just a few visits to the therapist office. A client may still need time or some consulting, mentoring or coaching sessions to integrate the experience of spiritual emergency and to give a meaning to it in one's life - it depends on individual case and should be assessed individually. And of course our certified therapists only 'charge for results'; if they can't help you in the way they agreed to, there is no charge. 

Our recently released Subcellular Psychobiology Diagnosis Handbook also has a chapter on some of our treatments for several SEs, but it does not go into depth on this fascinating topic. We've started work on the full SE textbook, but there is no publication date yet set. 

Reflections on the UK Spiritual Crisis Network (SCN) national conference 

[In June, we attended "Evolving a New Paradigm: the Spirituality and Mental Health Breakthrough" at the Mundsley Hospital, Gimingham, North Norfolk, UK; and Emma Bragdon's Spiritual Emergency (SE) workshop. Below is a report on the conference:

"On one side It was amazing and a very important meeting of people who professionally and with a passion help or are going to support people who overcome Spiritual Emergencies in their lives. On another, it was the first formal meeting of people who will create SCN (Spiritual Crisis Network), an international organization which will be an umbrella for others national SCN 's/ SEN's (with representatives from Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Great Britain, and the USA).

Marzena Defler photo
"Different speakers presented effective ways on how to understand, treat or/and support a person in spiritual emergencies; it is the same as what works or doesn't work when you think about Mental Health Systems worldwide. The focus was on people who look for help while being in some unusual states of consciousness, and in parallel are experiencing low, dysfunctional states. There were inspirational and interesting approaches and ways of going through SE episodes and what helps people in SE to integrate and recover from it, for example: Open Dialogue, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, Transpersonal Psychology Approach and others. One of the speakers, Dr. Mick Collins mentioned biology based approach when you look at optimal human potential (based on Bruce Lipton's work)..

Mundsley Hospital photo
"From my point of view, it would be wonderful to present the Peak States perspective on helping people in SE as one of ways supporting them in the crisis. Maybe at one of conferences in the next few years!"

Upcoming Training: Spiritual Emergencies (via Skype)

Starting July 18th, Marzena will be teaching a course on treating spiritual emergency from the Institute's perspective (subcellular and developmental psychobiology). It will be taught via the internet (in English), making it available for people who don't want to have to travel to Poland. 

It is designed for our therapists who want more specialized training in this area. It is also available to members of the general public with instructor permission. For more information, go to

Peak States Therapist Training (via Skype)
Nemi Nath is recruiting for another online therapist training. Please contact her ( to get the details. Online trainings are arranged to suits the students time commitments and are usually completed within 3 months. working 2 or 3x 4 hours per week. 4 students maximum. 
See our worldwide training class schedule.

People News

If you haven't met us, we're a pretty informal Institute - we all enjoy meeting and chatting with folks like you who have an interest in our work. Feel free to look us up on our staff directory and give us a call: 

To help give you a feel for who we are and what we're up to, here is a quick update on the going-ons of some of our various volunteer staff members: 
  • Dr. McFetridge spent the spring in Poland, working with the research staff there. Sadly, he had to cancel his presentation at a conference on schizophrenia in Portugal this April due to illness. He's now back in Canada at the Hollyhock retreat center on Cortez Island for the summer.
  • Ingka Malten visited New Zealand in February, and is now back in Germany about to teach a therapist course.
  • Our long-time staff member Georg Parlow has decided to take a break from running the Institute clinic in Vienna and just be a certified therapist - we wish him the best in his new endeavors!
  • Paula Courteau (Canada) has just retired from her 'day job', and so we're hoping to see more of her at the Institute in the months to come.
  • And congratulations to Kasia Dodd (USA) and Piotr Kawecki (Poland) who are just finishing their grueling year-long advanced clinic training.
  • John Heinegg and his wife Laura Chalfin MD were finally able to become naturalized Canadian citizens last week. Wonderful news for Hornby Island!
  • And happily, research staff member Lars Vestby (Norway) was blessed with his first child. Congratulations, Lars and Gordana!
Finally, our new Subcellular Psychobiology Diagnosis Handbook, has sold its 400th copy since its publication last November. Thanks everyone for all your interest and support!