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Course #160: Treatments for Spiritual Emergencies
Professional and Layperson Training

Professional training
            This course is designed for therapists who wish to get in-depth training on identifying, understanding, and treating spiritual emergencies. We review current approaches, but focus on subcellular psychobiology to explain various types of problems and their treatments.

Who is this course for?
            This professional training course is designed for therapists who plan on treating these problems in clients. However, interested laypeople are very welcome if they have an adequate trauma background.

            Currently, this course assumes the student has experience with trauma therapies (such as EFT).

The Spiritual Emergencies course syllabus:
1. Spiritual Emergency – general information
            1.1.History and characteristics: the perspective of transpersonal psychology; PS perspective on SE.
            1.2.Spiritual problems, religious problems and spiritual emergency - differences - DSM-4.
            1.3. Spiritual Emergency and Spiritual Awakening.

2. Spiritual emergency - the perspective of Peak States Theory
            2.1. Biology model and the SE
            2.2. New typology of the SE phenomenon – PS perspective
            2.3. Peak States, Peak Abilities and Spiritual Emergency
            2.4. The Triune Brain Model and SE

3. Contact with a client:
            3.1. Professional interview with a client in SE.
            3.2. Diagnosis of SE.
            3.3. Crisis intervention procedure in the situation of the SE.
            3.4. The process of understanding, healing and integration of the SE.
            3.5. The importance of positive personal transformation and spiritual growth as a result of SE.
            3.6. Different roles when working with the person in SE.
            3.7. Spiritual Emergency Network.
            3.8. Ethics.

4. Methods when working with the client in SE:
            4.1. Verbal Therapy and body oriented therapies.
            4.2. Art Therapy
            4.3. Grounding exercises
            4.4. Hero's Journey
            4.5. Kindly Awareness Meditation, Mindfulness of Breathing and Body Scan.
            4.6. Visualization and other methods

5. My role when working with the person in SE:
            5.1. My potential and competences.
            5.2. My professional goals as a PS therapist.
            5.3. What is SE specialization?

6. Summary
            6.1.Questions and answers.
            6.2. Literature, websites.
            6.3. Quiz – instruction to do at home.

[Note: The order of the topics presented may be vary from course to course.]

Methods: case study, mini-lecture, group discussion, work in sub-groups or pairs, visualisaion, grounding exercises, body awareness exercises, including body scan, paper and pencil, presentation and others.

Required Reading:

  • In-class manual
  • Spiritual Emergency (1988) by Stanislav Grof
  • Subcellular Psychobiology Diagnosis Handbook (2014) by Grant McFetridge, Chapter 13.

We recommend viewing the following videos before taking the training:
1) 'Waking Universe: Spiritual Emergency' with Catherine Lucas.
2) How to recognize spiritual emergence? by Dr. David Lukoff.
3) Stanislav Grof: "Spiritual Crisis"

Course Length
  • Two days

Online course:
We occasionally run an online version of this course, depending on interest. Contact the Institute for more information.

…or visit our Forum

Revision History
Jan 16, 2016: Rewritten to make it available to a general audience.
Nov 20, 2014: First version of this webpage.