Written by Elizabeth on July 31, 2016. Posted in Spiritual Coaching, Coaching, Spiritual Emergence
The need for trained coaches to work with people who have had spiritual emergence and emergency issues is increasing. Increased mainstream awareness of this psycho-spiritual development process is evidenced by one social media site on Facebook, The Shades of Awakening private group. In it’s first 8 months on Facebook, it attracted over 1800 members. In the last several years, new organizations dedicated to the treatment and support of the process of integration of these experiences have been developed all over the world.
Even though there are many wise and courageous professionals who have learned to utilize these experiences as life lessons and opportunities for deep healing and transformation, many spiritual experiencers are still afraid of going to mental health professionals for assistance. Experiencers are concerned about “getting medicated out of their experiences”, or being hospitalized when no other pathology other than the experience exists. Many experiencers seek help through spiritually oriented life coaches, when they can find them, because coaches do not diagnose conditions or prescribe medications.
Coaches who work with this vulnerable population must be specially trained to provide the support and education experiencers need to ensure the coach does no harm to the client. The transpersonal-transformational coaching model provides an effective way for the coach to get to the essence of an experience and empower the experiencer to develop understanding and meaning. Instead of invalidating a client’s experience and taking the risk of catapulting experiencers into a longer and darker process of integration than necessary, the method modeled in my blogs, and in the ITTC Spiritual Emergence coaching curriculum beginning in April 2017, can create powerful transformation for experiencers.
What is Spiritual Emergence and Emergency?
Let’s begin with the basics. First we must define what these experiences are and how they manifest. It is an event or a series of events, perhaps stirrings in the mind, which can potentially lead to the breakdown of a person’s current understanding and meaning of life. These paradigm shifts lead to transformative growth and greater psycho-spiritual health on the part of the individual. It is, “the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos” (Grof & Grof, 1990: 34)
Spiritual Emergence can occur when people start seeking or experiencing themselves beyond their own personal, societal, or familial identity. Many things can precipitate a spiritual emergence experience. A few possibilities are a major life change, illness, near death experiences, a devotional religious or spiritual practice, drug induced experiences, or an out-of-body experience, just to name a few. However, there are cases in which there was no apparent precipitating cause. This has been discovered to be true in many other studies of the topic. Clearly, it can happen to anyone at any time for unknown reasons. SE is no respecter of religion, culture, race, age, gender, education, or socio-economic status.
How Does Spiritual Emergence/Emergency Present?
While it is possible to diagnose up to 50 types of emergence experiences for the coaching process, we will look at the work of Dr. Stansilov Grof and his wife Christina, who have identified 10 states of spiritual emergency (Grof, S., & Grof, C. (1989). From these basic 10 types we can develop an understanding of the essence of most experiences:
We need more caring, courageous, and educated coaches to work with this population. According to several research sources, over 30% of the population have spiritual experiences! That is a very large under served population! Think about it, you could be empowering so many people to integrate the wisdom gained from these experiences, engage in new passions and professions, and manifest their divine work in the world, now THAT is why I love coaching!
In my next blog in this series, I will talk about the what, how, and why of integration.
Stay tuned in and stay happy!