by R. Leo Sprinkle∗
Psychotherapeutic services can be helpful to persons who are experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. Physiological and psychological stress reactions can occur from the effects of abandonment, abuse (corporal, emotional, and/or sexual), loss of relationship, rape, robbery, etc. If abused persons are given competent and compassionate assistance, then often they can learn to cope with their feelings of anger, anxiety, doubt, grief, guilt, pain, shame, etc.
However, in our contemporary society, those persons who describe paranormal/psychic/spiritual crises, or emotional trauma from memories of possible past lives, often are faced with scoffing or skeptical reactions—not only from their friends and relatives, but sometimes from professional persons, including psychotherapists.
And, if a person describes a UFO experience (including abduction by alien beings, out of body experience, near death experience, bodily marks from a medical examination, genital examination, past life memories, planetary visions, automatic writing or telepathic communication, and a message or mission for Humankind, etc.), then the psychological resistance of the psychotherapist, as well as the emotional trauma of the person, can be an important factor—not only in the processes of psychotherapy, but in the questions of whether services are provided to that person!
*Originally published in Psychotherapy in Private Practice, Vol. 6(3) 1988.
The complex and controversial claims of UFO abductees/contactees are a background for the general question: based on the processes of psychotherapy, what do we know about UFO experiences?
This paper offers a personal view about psychotherapeutic services for UFO Experiencers, a brief review of UFO literature, and a biased viewpoint of the social significance of UFO activity. The major hypothesis, or speculation, is that UFO activity is an educational program: A gradual, but persistent, conditioning of human awareness for a new age of science and spirituality (advanced technology and advanced morality).
An excellent “Introduction to issues of UFO research” can be obtained from William L. Moore Publications (4219 West Olive Ave., Suite 247, Burbank CA 91505); the booklet is written by the Los Angeles UFO Research Group (LAUFORG, 1966) and it provides a brief but comprehensive review of the available evidence and scientific implications of UFO reports. Also, further information can be obtained from various UFO organizations, including APRO (1987), CUFOS (1987), FSR (1987), and MUFON (1987) (see references).
Experiences of the writer
I am trained as a counseling psychologist: BA (1952), MPS (1956), University of Colorado—Boulder; PhD (1961), University of Missouri-Columbia (APA approved program). I now serve as Psychologist II and Professor of Counseling Services, University of Wyoming – Laramie. In 1949, on the campus of the University of Colorado, a buddy and I observed a “flying saucer” (Daylight Disc). In 1956, my wife, Marilyn and I observed a silent UFO which hovered, moved, hovered, moved, etc., over Boulder, Colorado. After the second sighting, I began to investigate the literature on UFO reports. In 1962, I joined APRO and NICAP (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization; National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena). I began to consider ways that psychologists could contribute to UFO research (Sprinkle, 1967) as well as to study the personal characteristics of persons interested in UFO reports (Sprinkle, 1969).
In 1964, at the University of Wyoming, I began a study of the UFO abductees/contactees, including their claims of ESP and UFO experiences as well as their responses to psychological inventories (Sprinkle, 1976). In 1967, I began to provide hypnotic sessions for persons who claimed UFO abduction encounter experiences (Sprinkle, 1977). I have assisted more the 175 persons who have explored their UFO memories in hypnosis sessions (Sprinkle, 1979a, 1982).
I have read thousands of reports, and I have corresponded with hundreds and hundreds of persons who have described their strange and bizarre experiences. I have cussed and discussed, with many persons, the implications of UFO activity (Sprinkle, 1976b).
In 1980, after our first Rocky Mountain Conference on UFO Investigation, I sought hypnotic procedures with a fellow psychologist in order to explore my own memories (dreams? fantasies?) of some childhood experiences. My current interpretation of those memories is that I experienced childhood encounters with a Space Being (SB) on board a space craft. (See Montgomery, 1985.)
After 31 years of UFO investigation, including 25 years of UFO research and 20 years of therapeutic services to persons who claim UFO encounters, I have come to several tentative viewpoints:
- I believe that “flying saucers” (UFOs) exist.
- I believe that I cannot prove to anyone that UFOs exist.
- I believe that UFO research is always frustrating, often fearful, sometimes fun.
- I believe that psychotherapeutic services and social support for UFO Experiencers are helpful to them in accepting the reality of these experiences and in their understanding of the silliness and the significance of these experiences.
- I believe that there are many skills that can be useful to the psychotherapist who works with UFO Experiencers, but the main attributes are courage, curiosity, and compassion.
- I appreciate the willingness of UFO Experiencers to share their information, and the willingness of professional colleagues to assist UFO Experiencers. Perhaps, someday, UFO research can lead to results which could test the hypothesis that UFO activity is an educational program (Cosmic Consciousness Conditioning, Sprinkle, 1976b).
UFO Experiences as an education program
Many writers have discussed the implications of UFO activity, including Vallee (1975) who suggested that a conditioning program is influencing the human race, and Deardorff (1986), who presented a model of extraterrestrial strategy for Earth.
There are four minor hypotheses which can be associated with the major hypothesis about UFO experiences as an educational program:
Thesis I. There is sufficient evidence to accept the hypothesis that many UFO witnesses have experienced encounters with space craft that are piloted or controlled by intelligent alien beings (e.g., Hyneck, 1972; Jacobs, 1975; Randles, 19823; Rutledge, 1981; Smith, 1987).
Thesis II. There is sufficient evidence to accept the hypothesis that many UFO witnesses have experienced abductions and examination by UFO occupants, including bodily, psychological, and/or sexual examinations (e.g., Fowler, 1979, 1982; Fuller, 1966; Hopkins, 1981, 1987; Lorenzen& Lorenzen, 1967, 1976, 1077; Sprinkle, 1979, 1981; Strieber, 1987).
Thesis III. There is sufficient evidence to accept the hypothesis that most UFO witnesses are normal in their psychological functioning (e.g., Bloecher, Clamar, & Hopkins, 1985; Keul & Phillips, 1986; Parnell 1987; Schwartz, 1983; Sprinkle, 1976b, 1979a).
Thesis IV. There is sufficient evidence to accept the hypothesis that psychic phenomena, including “channeled” communications, are associated with UFO encounters; further, there is emerging evidence that UFO contactees view themselves as changing from “planetary persons” to “cosmic citizens” (e.g., Davis 1985; Kannenberg, 1982, 1986; Kinder, 1987; Montgomery, 1985; 1974; Sprinkle, 1981; Steiger & Steiger, 1981).
See Figure 1 for a tentative model on the social significance of UFO experiences.
|Family and/or cultural tradition of ESP and/or
spiritual contacts. Childhood visitation by
Spiritual Beings (SBs). Lucid dreams or
precognitive dreams of future events. Psychic
experiences (e.g., telepathy, clairvoyance,
seeing auras, etc.).
|UFO sightings and/or UFO abduction
experiences. Loss of time experiences or
partial amnesic events. Taken aboard
spacecraft by SBs or UFO entities.
Unexplained body marks, scars, emotional
reactions (Why me?). Feeling of being
“drafted” for some unexplained purpose.
|Adult visitations (by SBs or spiritual guides).
Psychic experiences (telepathy, clairvoyance,
PK, healing etc.). Lucid dreams and/or
precognitive dreams of possible future.
Emotional reactions (Why me? Purpose of
visitations?). Feelings of “volunteering” for a
spiritual mission or task.
|Instruction for a
mission or task.
|Obsessive /compulsive behaviors (reading,
traveling, visions, etc.). Reading various
materials, including “uninteresting”
materials. Change in personality: feeling of
being monitored; “implanted” knowledge/
review of possible past lives.
|Channeling verbal and/or written information
from SBs. Serving as a “messenger” by
conducting research, talking, and/or assistance
to others. Working to minimize planetary
difficulties; giving assistance to Humankind.
Feeling that one “knows” his/her task or
purpose in life.
Figure 1. The PACTS Model of abductee/contact experience.
Psychotherapeutic services can be helpful to persons who are confounded by their UFO encounters. Appropriate techniques are similar to those which are used to assist ersons to deal with paranormal experiences (e.g., Hastings, 1983, 1987; Miatz, 1983); hypnotic techniques for recalling repressed memories or “loss of time” (amnesic) experiences (e.g., Hopkins, 1981, 1986; Sprinkle, 1977); and mutual support in self-help groups who provide a sense of community for UFO Experiencers (e.g., Edwards, 1987; IFUFOCS, 1987; Tessman, 1987).
An increasing number of UFO witnesses, including UFO investigators, are sharing information about their UFO experiences and seeking assistance in order to deal with their anxieties about those experiences. Perhaps we are entering a new phase of UFO research; perhaps a network of psychologists can be established in order to provide psychotherapeutic services to persons who claim UFO experiences.
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