Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series
The group therapy can be effective with people who have distressing experiences, such those involving paranormal phenomena, and so may be an appropriate method for the further parapsychological exploration of many paranormal experiences. Often people have strong reactions when they think they have had a psychic or psi experience. Many authors have suggested that use of some sort of parapsychological counselling or crisis-intervention techniques may be beneficial. Reaction patterns have been observed among individuals seeking help as a result of unusual experiences, with the most common reaction involving fear (fear of being hurt, fear of going crazy, fear of someone else being hurt, fear of losing control), but also a sense of responsibility towards another person, feeling divine or specially gifted, and the desire to develop psychic abilities.
There is a large amount of research in the professional literature that supports the effectiveness of humanistic group therapy. Unfortunately, the usefulness of humanistic group therapy within clinical populations is not widely recognized by the psychological community as a whole. The therapy theory applied here emphasizes a humanistic approach to group therapy, more specifically humanistic-existential group therapy. These approaches also stress the importance of self-awareness in therapy because it is assumed that people who are self-aware can make better choices, for example, person-centred, Gestalt, and existential therapies all emphasize the idea that people are capable of acting in responsible and caring ways in interpersonal relationships.
Alejandro Parra is psychologist from the Universidad Abierta Interamericana (http://www.vaneduc.edu.ar/uai), where he is now a teacher and associated researcher. He received his PhD in psychology from the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (http://www.uces.edu.ar). He is licensed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he serves as a psychotherapist in general clinical psychological practice in the Clinical Area of the Institute of Paranormal Psychology. He conducts therapy groups and uses an historical approach in his continued research into parapsychology, dreamwork, and mediumship. In a counseling setting he also conducts workshops with psychics and mediums on their paranormal/spiritual experiences. His clinical research is based on cognitive-experiential and humanistic/Rogerian-oriented approaches with groups of people who have had paranormal experiences and dreams. Parra is coordinator and teacher in the first Diplomatura in Transpersonal Psychology. He is a full member and International Liaison of the Parapsychology Association and was its President (period 2011-2013); he is also an International Affiliate and International Liaison of the Parapsychology Foundation.
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