Parapsychology Principles

(1) Parapsychology is defined as the interdisciplinary study of a class of human experiences which are typically described by the percipient as paranormal, supernatural, mystical, etc. Paranormal experiences are defined as those experiences which seem to violate known scientific laws (whether or not they do in fact violate such laws). Examples of paranormal experiences include Extra-sensory perception (ESP), Psychokinesis (PK), and phenomena suggestive of survival of human consciousness after death, e.g. apparitions, near-death experiences, etc. Parapsychology is also concerned with all anomalous aspects of human consciousness, including altered states of consciousness, dreams, hypnosis and trance, etc.

(2) Parapsychology asserts that such experiences are not, in and of themselves, indicative of psychopathology. It is recognized that paranormal experiences may be concomitants of certain psychopathological states, or that certain paranormal experiences may trigger psychopathological (dysfunctional) responses in some percipients. Parapsychology rejects psychiatric diagnostic categories which are based solely upon subjective paranormal experiences (e.g. hearing voices).

(3) Parapsychology asserts that paranormal-type experiences are often a source of personal transformation or healing to the individual, and as such, are potentially valuable aspects of the human experience. These experiences are potentially transformative and beneficial whether or not they correspond to events in the realm of mundane sensory experience. Parapsychologists have a duty to assist their clients in the analysis and integration of paranormal experiences, as an adjunct to personal growth and individuation.

(4) Parapsychology asserts that consciousness itself is fundamentally paranormal (i.e. unexplainable by contemporary scientific models), and further asserts that within each individual is a (usually unconscious) stratum or layer of the psyche which is transpersonal (extends beyond the self), non-local, and non-temporal (not bound by conventional concepts of space and time). This transpersonal consciousness incorporates other individuals, living and deceased, as well as objects and/or locations which are meaningful to the individual. This transpersonal stratum of consciousness is the source of genuine paranormal experiences, whether experienced consciously or subliminally.

(5) Parapsychology asserts that the prudent use of certain techniques (e.g. trance induction, automatisms) may facilitate access to the transpersonal unconscious, and may provide beneficial opportunities for self-actualization and personal transformation for the individual. Such techniques do, however, have a potential for misuse, and should be supervised by an experienced facilitator trained in parapsychology.

(6) Parapsychology assumes no stance on the question of physical measurement or recording of paranormal phenomena. There is no conclusive evidence that physical measures or recording techniques (photography, audio-recording, etc.) are capable of detecting paranormal energies or entities. Therefore, the parapsychologist must view such purported evidence with an attitude of open-minded skepticism, recognizing that further research or developments in scientific methodology may ultimately provide legitimate physical evidence for the paranormal.

Parapsychology asserts that the meaning and value of paranormal experiences are not dependent upon the acquisition of genuine spirit photographs, EVP recordings, or other physical evidence. This is true of all subjective human experiences studied by social scientists. Recognizing that some hoaxes do occur, humanistic parapsychologists believe that most reported paranormal phenomena are genuine human experiences, and thus are inherently meaningful and valuable.

(7) Parapsychology is a scientific approach insofar as it utilizes the methodology of the social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology) to acquire and analyze data on paranormal experiences. However, humanistic parapsychology also incorporates psychological/spiritual development, and as such may be regarded as an interdisciplinary field which incorporates scientific, mystical/intuitive, and philosophical approaches.

(8) The task of parapsychology is threefold. First, since paranormal experiences are usually designated as such by the percipient due to a perceived synchronicity between internal, subjective experiences and external, objective events (e.g. a dream that seems to come true), the parapsychologist seeks to determine whether this assertion is factual, or if the experience is subjective in nature. Next, the parapsychologist analyzes the gathered material, seeking meaningful patterns relating the event to the percipient’s personal history, mythological concepts, etc. Finally, the parapsychologist offers counseling and advice to the percipient, with the goal of providing an explanation for the paranormal experience(s), and suggestions for integrating, amplifying, or eliminating such experiences, depending upon the individual needs and wishes of the client, and the assessment of the parapsychologist.

(9) Parapsychological Counseling is client-centered and non-directive, i.e., paranormal experiences should be studied within the cultural and social context in which they occur. Insofar as is possible, the parapsychologist should work within the belief system of the individual percipients toward an understanding of the reported experiences. The task of the parapsychologist is to provide beneficial counseling and advice to the client, rather than to debunk the experience, or indoctrinate the client into a particular belief system or dogmatic interpretation of the reported experience. Occasionally it is necessary to attempt to re-frame the belief system of the percipient to alleviate fear (e.g. poltergeist cases), protect the client from exploitation (e.g. by fraudulent psychics) or if the physical or psychological health of the individual is believed to be in jeopardy.

(10) Parapsychology supports no specific religious interpretation of paranormal experiences, and makes no assertions with regard to the question of conscious survival after death, nor does it assert the literal existence of an objective spirit world or of non-corporeal entities, extra-terrestrial beings, etc. Parapsychology does assert that these concepts are scientifically possible, that these questions are of fundamental importance to the human species, and therefore warrant rigorous scientific research.

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