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Questions for Erika Pratte
#1
Hey guys

I have an interview set up with Erika Annabelle Pratte, Erika's expertise seems to be centered more around psychic/anomalous experiences and how people process them, instead of focusing on proof, and she has her own co-founded journal! She sent me a bio that I've posted below, please give it a read and post your questions below Smile

'I am a person who wears many hats in a few professional fields. For several years now, I have been a professional counselor/clinician, both in the US and the UK. My main areas of focus are exceptional/anomalous experiences, serious mental illness (such as psychotic disorders and depression), and integrative health. I am the point of contact at the Parapsychological Association for people wishing to talk to someone regarding their exceptional experience. I am co-creator, sole editor and publisher of the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology, an open access publication that produces peer-reviewed scholarly articles, personal accounts, creative pieces (such as poetry and artwork) related to subjective anomalous experiences. The objective of this journal is to facilitate a holistic approach and open dialogue between researchers and experiencers. My primary focus in parapsychology are clinical aspects, therapeutic praxis, history/archiving, and community outreach/accessibility.
I hold a BA in English from Penn State and a master's in psychology from the University of West Georgia. I am currently pursuing a PhD and lecturing in psychology and counseling at the University of Northampton in England. The working title of my dissertation is, “Therapeutic Approaches towards Integrating Near-Death Experiences.” I am often traveling the world to different conferences either as a volunteer or as a presenter. Unlike many people who study parapsychology or other related fields, my interest is not so much in proving or disproving experiences but making sure that people are integrating the experiences that they call exceptional, have a safe enough environment to do so and explore them with a trained professional, and have access to appropriate resources, such as research and supportive organizations
One of my goals is to bridge the gap between the paranormal enthusiast and parapsychology communities by providing accessible and relevant approaches and resources that are not only backed by research, but remain respectful of the domains of culture and subjectivity.'
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#2
Sounds great, Roberta!

Here's a question:

How are you able to reconcile psychotherapy and psychic experiences within an institutional paradigm (clinical psychology) that does not recognize the paranormal and can even punish those that try to do so (for example, a psychologist getting his license revoked when referring a client to a medium)?
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#3
(10-09-2017, 05:15 AM)Ninshub Wrote: Sounds great, Roberta!

Here's a question:

How are you able to reconcile psychotherapy and psychic experiences within an institutional paradigm (clinical psychology) that does not recognize the paranormal and can even punish those that try to do so (for example, a psychologist getting his license revoked when referring a client to a medium)?

Hm. Was it because he suggested she see a medium, or because he told her not to tell her psychiatrist what was going on?
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#4
(10-09-2017, 06:49 AM)Obiwan Wrote: Hm. Was it because he suggested she see a medium, or because he told her not to tell her psychiatrist what was going on?
It was both together. The discipline committee's decision stated that not following science and basing his practice on the paranormal is "a grievous deontological (ethical) offense", especially since it involved "two vulnerable people". (See this french article.) It's in the ethical codes of all North American psychological associations that psychologists must base their practice on what is scientifically recognized as psychology, so this decision is not surprising.

By the way, I'm not saying the committee's decision was necessarily wrong - for several possible reasons -, but it highlighted that the paranormal is automatically not considered scientific.

Also, the media reacted very negatively (i.e. the paranormal is woo), and journalists didn't understand why the sanction was only 3 months of suspension. Interview revealing this with the president of the association in question here (in French). The president reassures the public that psychologists don't deal with mediums. I heard another interview where the journalist was asking the president something to the effect of, "This is completely insane isn't it? I mean when people die they die and we can't communicate with spirits", and the president answered affirmatively. That seemed to be an overreach IMO, but again it reveals the culture we live in.
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#5
I can see why suggesting the patient withhold information from their psychiatrist led to disciplinary action - I suspect you’d agree with that. The comments you mention regarding survival of pshysical death are interesting, but as you say not uncommon.

As for the media reaction I’m not surprised. Very few people seem to have an informed view on the subject. One only has to read Wikipedia which imho takes every attempt to misrepresent noteable personalities in this field and traduce them. I often read comments by very prominent scientists which are very insulting and ill informed on the subject of survival and which, if anything seem to indicate pride in their ignorance.

That said, a mental health professional referring someone who appears to have a diagnosed mental health condition and hearing voices, to a medium (and not even a specific one if I read it correctly) is asking for trouble aren’t they?

I don’t think a three month suspension by professional body and possibly some supervision is draconian (though it does sound severe to me) under the circumstances do you? Irrespective of their ill-informed views on the matter. 

There seem to me though plenty of examples of people in fields where the general consensus is opposed to Psi who, nevertheless, are prepared either  speak about the subject of survival and in some cases refer patients to practitioners of techniques that would not be recognised by their professional body. Lots of people appear to manage to find a way compromise between their professional work and their personal beliefs.

I suspect sometimes people make statements about their personal opinions without making a distinction between whether they are stating a personal opinion or speaking on behalf of the organisation they represent.
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