Psychology of the Soul and The Paranormal, by Rev. Karen E. Herrick, Ph.D., 2019, 194 pages

 

Author Karen Herrick, a past-president of the Academy for Spiritual & Consciousness Studies, is not your garden-variety psychologist – the kind that believes all of psychology must fit into the narrow boundaries accepted by mainstream reductionist and rationalistic science.  As a trans-personal psychologist, she delves into the spiritual underpinnings of human behavior in this book, offering her views on various kinds of paranormal and mystical phenomena and how they relate to the development of our personalities and the evolution of our souls.  Moreover, she departs from the usual aloofness and stultifying formalities of the academicians and fundamentalists of psychology by writing in a personal and conversational manner while sharing her own experiences in dealing with dysfunctional and addictive people.  She further shares her observations and conclusions from 30 years of clinical practice.

While the mainstream psychologist might diagnose a person experiencing paranormal phenomena as being of unsound mind, whatever technical name she or he assigns to the “disorder,” Herrick stresses that these experiences happen to healthy and normal functioning people and often have meaning.  The problem is that most psychotherapists are not trained to appreciate or understand spiritual experiences and therefore may do more harm than good.  

As a foundation for trans-personal psychology, Herrick refers to the works of pioneering psychologists William James and Carl Jung. Her many lectures throughout the United States on dysfunctions, addictions, dissociation, and grief are delivered from a Jungian perspective. “Jung felt that psychic reality, which is knowing beyond the psyche or mind and physical or rational processes that are known and/or understood, would be the most important achievement of modern psychology if only it would be recognized,” she writes, clearly subscribing to Jung’s belief that most people can live a much healthier life if only they could know or feel there is a spiritual purpose underlying it all.

Herrick tells of growing up in a dysfunctional family, her father an alcoholic and her parents at odds on religion. That was followed by marriage to an alcoholic. “Alcoholics come in all sizes, shapes and moods,” Herrick explains why she didn’t learn from her father. “Some are happy when they drink.  Others become moody and despondent.  Some become aggressive and argumentative; and some alcoholics are sociopathic because their anger and resentments have turned into hatred in their later life.”  She adds that the anger and resentments often increase over the years and some of them turn to illegal and immoral behaviors that was uncharacteristic of them when they were younger.  

As a result of her parents’ conflict over religion, Herrick was turned off to religion. “What I believed in being raised in beautiful upstate New York, was nature,” she writes. “I knew that something had created this beautiful world, and I did and do very much enjoy nature.”  Various spiritual experiences, both her own and those reported by clients, prompted her to explore mystical and paranormal phenomena. These experiences were validated when she read William James’s classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience.  “Eventually, I began learning and teaching about mediums and some of the tenets of the religion of Spiritualism,” she continues, adding that a number of her clients have been helped in overcoming chronic grief by visiting a medium.

 While mainstream psychology is stuck in the muck and mire of scientism, i.e., scientific fundamentalism, Herrick continues to explore spiritual etiologies for mental disorders.  “I believe that this small voice in our head comes from our soul through the unconscious where our soul resides,” she offers. “The law of polarity seeks to balance us with positive or negative reactions to our energy or electrical field.  This law works with our vibrations and our thoughts.  In this way, thoughts are very real things that affect us, floating between the two worlds in our dreams and when we are awake.”  She goes on to suggest that we all receive vibrational frequencies through our vagus nerve, what Darwin called the pneumogastric nerve.   She provides a number of very interesting illustrations showing how the vagus nerve relates to our invisible energy field.

The astral body, the aura, the chakras, clairvoyance, ectoplasm, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, the silver cord, trance, repressed memories, defense mechanisms, extrasensory perception, synchronicity, automatic writing, spirit photography, slate writing, and various other subjects are all part of the discussion.

In the concluding chapter of the book, Herrick laments the fact that transpersonal psychology has not caught on as much as those who see the wisdom in it could have hoped, but she remains optimistic that future psychology will investigate spiritual experiences and better understand how they transform lives.     

Dr. Raymond Moody, the renowned scientist and popular author who initiated the study of near-death experiences during the 1970s, has referred to her as “a new breed of therapist who is dealing with a vast range of experiences, which have emotional impact on people’s lives.”  – Michael Tymn – Writer, Author, Spiritual Researcher and Spiritual Blogger, White Crow Books. September 2019

 

 

Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP, has shared her clinical expertise for thirty years in her private practice by lecturing throughout the United States on dysfunctional and addictive homes, dissociation, grief and loss from a Jungian perspective.  From this perspective, she has discovered that visits to mediums greatly help people in chronic grief to continue happily in their lives.  Karen was ordained in 1995.  Her ministry is to be actively involved in Spiritual Psychology specifically in naming spiritual experiences.  Her books, You’re Not Finished Yet and Grandma, What Is A Soul? are available through Amazon.com, Authorhouse.com and on Kindle.  She is available for private therapy in her office, on Skype and Face Time. She is interested in hearing about your spiritual experiences. Karen is a mother of three, a grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of three.

1995.  Her ministry is to be actively involved in Spiritual Psychology specifically in naming spiritual experiences.  Her books, You’re Not Finished Yet and Grandma, What Is A Soul? are available through Amazon.com, Authorhouse.com and on Kindle.  She is available for private therapy in her office, on Skype and Face Time. She is interested in hearing about your spiritual experiences. Karen is a mother of three, a grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of three.

Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP, has shared her clinical expertise for thirty years in her private practice by lecturing throughout the United States on dysfunctional and addictive homes, dissociation, grief and loss from a Jungian perspective.  From this perspective, she has discovered that visits to mediums greatly help people in chronic grief to continue happily in their lives.  Karen was ordained in 1995.  Her ministry is to be actively

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