Welcome to our store!

m menu image  m home m cart

T9 Ecstatic Experiences and the Possibilities for Clinical...


Please Choose:


Add to Cart:



Ecstatic Experiences and the Possibilities for Clinical Application
J. 'Joe' Timothy Green, Ph.D.

Although in everyday speech we use the term ecstasy to refer to a sense of overwhelming joy, the word has its roots in both the Latin expression ex statis, which means "to stand outside of ones self", as well as the Greek work ekstasis, meaning "a being set apart from itself." This has led many to suggest that the ancients used the term ecstasy to refer to the experience of finding ones conscious awareness outside the physical body. This occurs during an NDE but it is also known to occur at other times and under other conditions. This presentation discuss NDEs as one form, or one member of the family of ecstatic experiences. I discuss three other ecstatic experiences lucid dreams, OBEs and shamanic journeys which occur as other times and under other conditions. While NDEs by definition occur at the point of apparent physical death, lucid dreams occur during the sleep state, OBEs are known to occur most frequently during the conscious waking state when the person in "mentally calm and physically relaxed", and shamanic journeys usually occur during drumming, rattling, singing and dancing. Despite these differences, all four experiences have amazing similarities, which, I argue, is because they share the same underlying phenomenological nature, which is best described as ecstatic. Because lucid dreams, conscious OBEs and shamanic journeys are not related to death or physical injury, the idea of developing a therapeutic modality based on the facilitation of ecstatic experiences is a real possibility. Shamanism is, in fact, exactly this: a therapeutic modality. I discuss how many of the leaders in the contemporary Western shamanic movements have written or commented on the fact that NDEs are a form of shamanic experience. From the shamanic perspective, an NDE is a shamanic initiation and NDErs are among the best candidates for further training in shamanism. For those who have no experience of ecstasy, lucid dreaming is the most easily accessed of ecstatic experiences. I review new research on lucid dreams and show how anyone is able to experience ecstasy during the dream state and how some of these dreams share similar components to NDEs. I discuss how I, and many others, have begun to incorporate some of this into clinical practice in mental health, sometimes with amazing results. I outline what I feel should be clinical subspeciality that can be scientifically validated and should be incorporated into clinical practice in medicine and mental health. Finally, I discuss how developing a clinical approach would have lasting benefits for NDErs and for the field of near-death studies.

Copyright © 2024 International Association for Near-Death Studies. • 2741 Campus Walk Avenue, Building 500, Durham, NC 27705-8878, USA • Tel: 919-383-7940