How to help someone straddling the line between spiritual awakening and psychosis

Posted by Ariah on 8th August 2016 in Uncategorised

I wrote this for a particular FB group but I’m sharing this on my blog, as I think it’s something that needs to be known very widely: the advice people too often give to someone who – even according to general lay-knowledge of psychology, might be psychotic – is quite scary. The short version is: whether someone is going through a spiritual awakening or a psychotic episode (or both!), the answer is NOT to do more psychic work like channelling or regressions or astral projection etc. It’s to do the opposite: ground, centre, be with yourself and your life and feelings now. And if there’s any doubt that it might be psychosis, to seek professional help to get you (or the person in question) through the rough patch.


Hi folks, I hope this is ok to post here – it’s a post about how to help people where they may be straddling the line between spiritual awakening and psychosis (especially if they’re more towards the psychosis side)

So I’ve seen a few times in this group when people reach out for help, for something that sounds both like spiritual experience AND psychotic experience. And I’m sure we all know that it’s a very fine line, perhaps a non-existant line between the two. But there’s a difference between “My psychic abilities recently activated, and I can see entities now and it’s quite scary, and my family don’t believe me and want to have me committed to an institution” and “I’m psychic now, and the walls are talking to me” (or whatever it is for the person)

When someone is going through a time like this, the answer is so so not for more spiritual development work. That will only provoke what’s happening, make the split worse.

I’d recommend REALLY strongly about not advising people not to take prescribed psychiatric meds, too – I so appreciate that they’re over prescribed, and there’s a culture of not understanding spiritual awakening and using meds to shut people up and so on – but as well as that, they help many people, and there are plenty of folk who do need this kind of help in order to be psychologically healthy, and to be able to function in the world.

Perhaps the best thing for such a person would be to spend 15 years living with an indigenous shaman, but advising someone to come off their meds so that they can watch a 12 minute youtube clip and do a 5 minute meditation twice a day, isn’t a substitute for what may be life saving treatment.

What we can offer is support and encouragement. It can be really scary to go through spiritual awakening, doubly so if it’s tinged with psychosis (and when it’s full blown psychosis, that must be terrifying.) Empathy and a warm heart and ear and shoulder go a long way.

Any practical encouragement should really be along the lines of things that are grounding and centring, such as to spend time in nature, take up sport, do some art (doesn’t have to be beautiful – even doodling, finger painting etc..!).

The other thing to do, and I know it’s unfashionable in these circles, is to encourage people to seek professional help. It’s a tragic irony that the more people need professional help, the less able they are to perceive it. That in itself is a major marker that a person needs help, if they aren’t able to comprehend that they MAY need it. (I’m not talking about someone who understands the difference between awakening and psychosis but thinks they’re ok, I mean someone who is living in their psychosis, so can’t even comprehend the idea that they might not be doing well.)

So, NO MORE CHANNELLING or anything like that.. It’s like making a rip or tear bigger. For goodness sake don’t encourage that! … We don’t need psychic abilities to go through life, they’re helpful tools, not the means through which we heal ourselves. Don’t let the fascination with psychic abilities (and related things like knowing past lives, speaking with non-physical beings etc) be a trap that keeps you or the person in question stuck and unable to move forward. What’s important – always – is the quality of gentleness and kindness towards yourself in this moment, and how embodied you are, and other simple things like that.

What isn’t needed for someone who is going through a difficult awakening, OR for someone who is going through a psychosis, OR for when someone is going through both, AND/OR if you can’t tell which it is..!! What isn’t needed is to be encouraged to do more spiritual/psychic expansion. That’ll make them worse, not better.
Sorry to repeat myself, I’ve just been saddened (and kinda horrified) at some of the advice I’ve seen in this group. If in doubt, just be kind. No pushing someone to psychically train more or immerse themselves deeper in the akashic records etc. That’s like telling an athlete who had a bad injury from training that they need to get back in the gym and train HARDER! :-(