Religious Experience or Break from Reality?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

For my entire life I have been able to see and hear spirits, and I am able to communicate back with them as well as manipulate energies and see the auras and movement of energy. I have deep Pagan beliefs, and I spoke with what is to be my knowledge God. I have had some people be able to verify the information I’ve provided them, but my greatest question is… Since I am in the “young adult” category, and I’ve experienced this all my life, should I be concerned at all? I am not paranoid of anything outside of the spiritual spectrum, and I am technically a genius and quite adroit in social graces.

A. Many people claim to have psychic ability but there has been no conclusive proof that it exists. Psychic ability cannot be ruled out as being possible but scientific evidence has been elusive.

The essential question for you is whether your experiences are real. If they are real, then it would be beneficial to know that. If not, then they would be delusions and or hallucinations. Believing in thoughts and ideas that are not real will be detrimental to you. In either case, it is important to verify the validity of your experiences.

The best way to verify your experiences is by having an objective evaluation by a therapist. Objectivity is important because of the nature of delusions and hallucinations. They feel completely real to those experiencing them even though they are not at all real.

Once evaluated by the therapist, you must be willing to consider his opinion to be both objective and qualified. If that does not satisfy you, seek multiple evaluations.

Every skilled therapist is attempting to determine if what their client is saying is true. For instance, let’s say that a client reports that the government has installed secret cameras all through their home. They feel as though they are in great danger and are very frightened. Before deciding how to help this person, a therapist must determine whether or not the client is interpreting reality correctly. The very first thing that must be done is to determine whether or not the government has hidden cameras in the client’s home.

Should we automatically assume that it’s ridiculous to think that the government could have hidden cameras and secret recording devices in the home of an American citizen? Obviously not. It does happen. In most cases it takes a court order for that to happen but nonetheless it does happen. The therapist is looking for evidence, for objective proof. If the therapist fails to find evidence of spying, then he or she would conclude that it is not true. An individual who continues to believe that the government has installed secret cameras all through their home despite the evidence would likely be delusional.

I would strongly recommend being evaluated by a therapist. It’s very important to be correct in your thinking. There is a price to pay for being wrong. Many mistakes that are made in life are the direct result of a faulty thought process. Click the “find help” tab on the top of this page to locate a therapist in your community. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Religious Experience or Break from Reality?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/29/religious-experience-or-break-from-reality/