Beyond The Brain 2020

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Beyond The Brain

“I regard consciousness as fundamental, matter is derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. There is no matter as such; it exists only by virtue of a force bringing the particle to vibration and holding it together in a minute solar system; we must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. The mind is the matrix of all matter.”  Max Planck

Beyond the Brain is organised by the Scientific and Medical Network. It is the world’s premier conference series exploring new research on whether and how consciousness and mind extend beyond the physical brain and body. The first of the conference series was run in 1995. This year’s event covers science and spiritual practices, the boundary between neuroscience and mystical experience, transpersonal psychology, psychedelics and the brain, death and after-death communication, consciousness in relation to the brain and the universe, and the relationship between science and spirituality. There will also be an experiential session on each day.

Consciousness is one of the hottest topics in science, which is why we established the interdisciplinary Beyond the Brain conference series with Willis Harman and Edgar Mitchell of the Institute of Noetic Sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1995. This will be the fourteenth in the series. The conferences all explore the frontiers of consciousness research beyond the limits of scientific materialism.

We are hosting this year’s event in partnership with three other organisations active in the field: The Alef Trust, with whom we collaborate on on MSc in Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness Studies, the newly established Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences (AAPS) and Watkins Books.

You will have your minds stretched and your hearts warmed at this exciting event and will enjoy networking with like-minded people. This landmark conference is not to be missed, so we greatly look forward to your participation!


This year Beyond the Brain will feature an ONLINE film screening of Insight Out at 5:30PM GMT on Thursday 5th November.

Jade Shaw made Insight Out to raise awareness of Out of Body Experiences as a positive tool for self-transformation.

On her journey she discovered others with similar stories whose experiences had shaped their lives in profound ways.

This documentary reveals these stories, disrupts pre-conceived ideas about OBEs and asks provocative questions about the nature of consciousness and reality.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb-BXlpq8Fs[/embedyt]
Sold out!


Fri - Sun, 6 - 8 November 2020
Event has passed


8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Fri - Sun, 6 - 8 November 2020
  • Time: 3:00 am - 1:00 pm






  • David Lorimer
    David Lorimer
    Writer, Lecturer, Poet, Editor

    David Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA is a visionary polymath – writer, lecturer, poet and editor who is a Founder of Character Education Scotland, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network  and former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society. David is also the Editor of Paradigm Explorer, and Chair of the Galileo Commission, which seeks the expand the evidence base of science of consciousness beyond a materialistic world view.

    Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Survival? Death as Transition (1984,2017) Resonant Mind (originally Whole in One) (1990/2017), The Spirit of Science (1998), Thinking Beyond the Brain (2001), The Protein Crunch (with Jason Drew) and A New Renaissance (edited with Oliver Robinson). He has edited three books about the Bulgarian sage Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov): Prophet for our Times (1991, 2015), The Circle of Sacred Dance, and Gems of Love, which is a translation of his prayers and formulas into English. His book on the ideas and work of the Prince of Wales – Radical Prince (2003) – has been translated into Dutch, Spanish and French. His most recent books are A Quest for Wisdom and his collection of poems, Better Light a Candle.

  • Iain McGilchrist
    Iain McGilchrist
    Psychiatrist, Philosopher, Literary Scholar

    Dr Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist, philosopher and literary scholar. He is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the Royal Society of Arts, as well as a former Clinical Director of the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. His previous book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World reached international recognition and acclaim and has marked him out as one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of our time.

    His latest publication is the two-volume work, The Matter with Things which was published in November 2021 by Perspectiva Press. This is a sustained critique of reductive materialism, and concerns such questions as ‘Who are we? What is the world? What is the nature of time and space? What do we mean by purpose, value and the divine? And how do we most reliably set about finding out?’

  • Oliver Robinson
    Oliver Robinson
    Professor in Psychology, Author

    Dr Oliver Robinson is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich. His research focuses principally on the changes, transformations and transitions of adulthood, and he has written a textbook on this topic entitled Development through Adulthood: An Integrative Sourcebook. He also writes about the relationship between science, philosophy, history and spirituality, and has recently written a book on this topic entitled Paths Between Head and Heart: Exploring the Harmonies of Science and Spirituality. He co-organises an annual conference for the Scientific and Medical Network entitled Beyond the Brain. His interests include painting, meditation, dancing and spending time with his wife and young daughter.

  • Tamara Russell
    Tamara Russell
    Clinical Psychologist and Mindfulness Innovator

    Dr. Tamara Russell MSc, PhD, DClin is a dedicated clinical scientist and mindfulness innovator who takes her lab out into the streets and the community. Her 20-year career combines clinical, research and innovation work across a range of settings around the world, including mental health, education, private and public organisations. Her clinical work has specialised in embodied psychotherapy with those experiencing non-ordinary states including psychosis, depersonalisation, and dissociation. Tamara has a strong interest in innovative service development (including VR/AR and integral health), education and training the next generation integral healthcare workforce. She has developed a number of mindfulness-based approaches informed by the neuroanatomy of the emotion regulation system and the interaction of mind-body. This includes Body in Mind Training (a mindful movement programme detailed in her book Mindfulness in Motion), The Tools to Transform, The Dragon Way to Mental Wealth and a mindfulness teacher training based on the neurocognitive model she will share in this workshop. As with any passionate innovator, much of this work mirrors Tamara’s own personal development journey. While the scientific models help to frame the work, ultimately, these are ultimately an offering to optimise and accelerate the journey to the heart and beyond. Tamara is the Founder and Co-Director of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, a think tank dedicated to next generation healthcare, leadership, education and technology.

  • Edward F. Kelly
    Edward F. Kelly
    Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at UVA

    Dr Edward F. Kelly is a Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at UVA. He received his PhD in psycholinguistics/cognitive science from Harvard in 1971, and spent the next 15-plus years working mainly in experimental parapsychology, followed by a similar stint with a large neuroscience group at UNC-Chapel Hill where he carried out EEG and fMRI studies of human cortical adaptation to natural tactile stimuli. He returned full-time to psychical research in 2002, serving as lead author of Irreducible Mind (2007), Beyond Physicalism (2015), and Consciousness Unbound (2021), all produced under the auspices of Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research. He is now returning to his central research interest – functional neuroimaging studies of psi and altered states in exceptional subjects.

  • Harald Atmanspacher
    Harald Atmanspacher

    Harald Atmanspacher studied physics at Göttingen, Zurich and Munich, and received his PhD in Munich in 1985. He then worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics at Garching until 1998 and subsequently served as head of the theoretical division at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology at Freiburg until 2013. In 2007 he was elected an associate fellow at Collegium Helveticum (ETH Zurich and University Zurich), and has been a member of its management board since 2014. In addition to a number of other academic positions he is President of the Society for Mind-Matter Research and editor of its journal Mind and Matter. His research activities cover the theory of complex systems, quantum foundations and selected topics concerning mind-matter relations.

  • Jennifer “Kim” Penberthy
    Jennifer “Kim” Penberthy
    Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

    Dr Jennifer “Kim” Penberthy is the Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, Division of Perceptual Studies, and the Associate Director for Clinician Wellness at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Kim is a board-certified clinical psychologist and conducts research, teaches, and provides clinical care. Her research interests focus on the mind-body relationship and exploring human consciousness as well as extraordinary human experiences and the impact of such on human abilities and wellness. Recent work includes exploring the occurrence and impact of after death communications. She is also dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion and exploring contemplative practices across cultures and marginalized groups. She lectures internationally, and has published extensively on contemplative practices and psychotherapy, including four books, and scores of manuscripts and book chapters.

  • Noelle R. St. Germain-Sehr
    Noelle R. St. Germain-Sehr
    Clinical Assistant Professor and Counselling Clinical Experience Director for the Online Counselling Program at William & Mary (based in Williamsburg, Virginia)

    Noelle R. St. Germain-Sehr is Clinical Assistant Professor and Counselling Clinical Experience Director for the Online Counselling Program at William & Mary (based in Williamsburg, Virginia). She has over 25 years of clinical experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counsellor (NCC) and advanced training in EMDR, clinical dream work, counselling adult survivors of sexual trauma, transpersonal approaches to counseling including Induced After-Death Communication (IADC), an intervention to assist grieving individuals experience a connection with those they are grieving. Her clinical and research interests include transpersonal perspectives in counseling, mindfulness meditation, LGBTQ+ affirmative counselling, gender socialisation and women’s issues, grief and loss, and bioenergetic analysis. She has engaged in multiple research projects, including the first empirical study of the effects of Induced After-Death Communication (IADC). Within her local community she is an active member of Kadampa Meditation Center of Texas, assisting with and teaching meditation classes.

  • Peter Fenwick
    Peter Fenwick
    Emeritus Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Emeritus Senior Lecturer

    Dr Peter Fenwick is Emeritus Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Maudsley Hospital and Emeritus Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry. His other appointments included Consultant Neurophysiologist at St. Thomas’s, Westminster and Broadmoor Hospitals. For ten years he was a Trustee of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health. He is President of the Scientific and Medical Network and of the Horizon Foundation and is former Chair of the Board, The Study Society. He is the author, with his wife Elizabeth, of many books on consciousness and death, most recently The Art of Dying. His autobiography, Shining Light on Transcendence, was published last year.

  • Amanda St. Germain-Sehr
    Amanda St. Germain-Sehr
    Licensed professional counsellor and a board-certified music therapist

    Amanda St. Germain-Sehr is a licensed professional counsellor and a board-certified music therapist with ten years of clinical experience in counseling and music therapy. Amanda taught music therapy at Texas Woman’s University as an adjunct for three years and has been in her current position as a visiting clinical instructor of music therapy for the last three years. She also maintains a part-time private psychotherapy practice working with adult clients. Amanda has advanced clinical training in EMDR, dreamwork, and transpersonal approaches to counseling, including Induced After Death Communication (IADC). Over the past nine years, Amanda has co-presented three music therapy continuing education courses and participated in sixteen presentations at regional and national counselling and music therapy conferences covering a broad range of topics, such as clinical training and supervision; child welfare; the use of music in counselling; narcissistic family systems; spiritual disclosure; IADC; LGBTQ issues; burnout and self-care; and the use of rap music in the juvenile correctional setting.

  • Janice Miner Holden
    Janice Miner Holden
    Professor Emerita

    Prof Janice Miner Holden served 31 years as a member of the University of North Texas (UNT) Counselling Program faculty—12 of those years as chair of the Department of Counselling & Higher Education. In 2019 she retired as professor emerita of Counselling. Dr. Holden’s primary research focus has been counselling implications of near-death experiences, after-death communication, and other transpersonal experiences—those that transcend the usual personal limits of space, time, and identity. In this research area she has over 50 refereed journal publications and over 100 national and international presentations. She served as lead editor of the 2009 Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation, and she co-edited the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counselling’s (ASERVIC’s) 2017 Connecting Soul, Spirit, Mind, and Body: A Collection of Spiritual and Religious Perspectives and Practices in Counselling. Among her professional service was three years as President of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, and since 2008 she has served as editor-in-chief of that association’s scholarly Journal of Near-Death Studies. For her outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching, and service, Jan received the UNT Foundation’s 2019 Eminent Faculty Award. In her retirement Jan is continuing in her role as Journal editor, adjunct teaching graduate counselling courses, and pursuing various scholarly activities.

  • Analaura Trivellato
    Analaura Trivellato
    Educator, Researcher, coach, Entrepreneur

    Analaura Trivellato graduated in Psychology and Languages and holds an MSc in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck University of London. She is currently undertaking an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching at the University of East London. She is an educator, researcher, coach, and entrepreneur. She has been lecturing on anomalous phenomena, human development, and multidimensional awareness for over 25 years. Analaura is the President of the International Academy of Consciousness (IAC), a global organisation dedicated to the study of consciousness from a non-reductionist approach.

  • Tim Freke
    Tim Freke

    Tim Freke is a philosopher and the author of 35 books, including a Sunday Times bestseller and Daily Telegraph ‘Book of the Year’. He is one of ‘The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People’ on the 2020 list in Watkins Magazine (# 50). He lectures and leads experiential retreats internationally. www.timfreke.com