2015 Div. 36 Student Research Award Winners' Proposals

Recovering balance after the big leap: Validating research on overcoming challenges in integrative spiritually transformative experiences

Which practices, habits and behaviors assist people in integrating spiritually transformative experiences?

By Marie Grace Brook

This is a research study to discover which practices, habits and behaviors assist people in successfully integrating spiritually transformative experiences (STEs). STE is an umbrella term for spiritual emergencies, spontaneous religious conversions and kundalini awakenings including mystical, near-death, paranormal and anomalous experiences. For purposes of this research study, the definition of STE is a discrete experience of an altered state of consciousness that brings about a profound transformation in the spiritual identity and life expression of the experiencer. Although these experiences often bring positive transformative changes to people's lives, the challenges of integrating them can be difficult, often exacerbated by medical misdiagnosis and deleterious pharmaceutical interventions. Through creation and distribution of the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences Inventory (ISTEI) with 84 items, I seek to explore validation of accepted wisdom among four authorities in the field: (1) David Lukoff, author of the diagnosis for spiritual and religious problems in DSM-IV and DSM-5; (2) Yvonne Kason, MD; (3) Yolaine Stout; and (4) Ryan Rominger.



Kason, Y. (2008). Farther shores: Exploring how near-death, kundalini and mystical experiences can transform ordinary lives. Bloomington, IN: Author's Choice Press of iUniverse. (first published 1994)

Lukoff, D., Lu, F. & Yang, C. P. (2011). DSM-IV Religious and spiritual problems. In Peteet, J. Lu, F. & Narrow, W. (Eds.) Religious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Research Agenda for DSM-V. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

Rominger, R. (2014). Integration models for the STE. Presentation at ACISTE Annual Conference, Nov. 7, 2014 in Dallas, TX.

Stout, Y. M., Jacquin, L. A. & Atwater, P. M. H. (2006). Six major challenges faced by near death experiencers. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 25 (1), 49-62.