Talk by ALEJANDRO PARRA, PhD HUMANISTIC GROUP THERAPY, MENTAL HEALTH AND ANOMALOUS / PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES
3 BLOCK A, THE COURTYARD, KILCARBERRY PARK,
NEW NANGOR ROAD, DUBLIN 22.
Ireland Group Meeting
Alejandro Parra is an Argentine psychotherapist and parapsychologist. He was President of the Parapsychological Association from 2011 to 2013 and is the author of books and articles in Spanish and English. Details of the speaker’s career, qualifications and publications are given below.
He will give a talk about research carried out in Argentina and about the clinical approach to paranormal/spiritual experiences based on his experience as a psychotherapist. It will be an academic lecture and will look at psychic experiences in an objective way.
Members of the Scientific and Medical Network and members of the public are invited.
As regards members of the public it will be especially relevant to those who are training to be mediums or are working as counsellors but everyone is welcome.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
The psychologist Alejandro Parra received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the Universidad Abierta Interamericana (www.vaneduc.edu.ar/uai), where he is now a teacher and associated researcher. He received his PhD in psychology from the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (www.uces.edu.ar). His doctoral dissertation, which was conducted under the auspices of Dr. David Maldavsky (his major advisor) and three other committee members (Dr. H. Losinno, Dr. A. Cayssials, and Dr. B. Nante) was based on the theme, Percepciones Imposibles: Alucinaciones y otras experiencias anómalas [Impossible Perceptions: Hallucinations and other anomalous experiences]. He is licensed in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Mat. # 32.358), where he serves as a psychotherapist in general clinical psychological practice in the Clinical Area of the Institute of Paranormal Psychology. He conducts therapy groups and uses an historical approach in his continued research into parapsychology, dreamwork, and mediumship. In a counseling setting he also conducts workshops with psychics and mediums on their paranormal/spiritual experiences. His clinical research is based on cognitive-experiential and humanistic/Rogerian-oriented approaches with groups of people who have had paranormal experiences and dreams.
As an Associate Professor, Parra teaches three courses at the Faculty of Psychology of the Universidad Abierta Interamericana: Teorías y Sistemas Psicológicos [Psychological Theories and Systems], Estadística Aplicada a la Psicología [Applied Statistics in Psychology], and Psicoterapía [Psychotherapy]. He has also conducted an accredited free course: Psicología Paranormal: Cómo orientar a personas con experiencias paranormales [Paranormal Psychology: How to counsel people who have had paranormal experiences] during the first semester at the Universidad Abierta Interamericana in Buenos Aires. Parra is currently coordinator and teacher in the first Diplomatura in Transpersonal Psychology.
Parra is a full member and International Liaison of the Parapsychology Association and was its President from 2011 to 2013; an International Affiliate and International Liaison of the Parapsychology Foundation; and an associated member of the Society for Scientific Exploration for Argentina. He is also a member and adherent of a dozen other institutes of parapsychology in Europe and such Latin American countries as Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
He has attended conventions, symposia and conferences on psychology, psychotherapy and parapsychology in a dozen cities including Santiago (Chile), Halifax (Canada), Edinburgh (Scotland), Stockholm (Sweden), Freiburg (Germany), Curitiba, Recife, and São Paulo (Brazil), Durham, New York, and San Diego (US). Parra has also given invited talks on parapsychology and workshops on dreamwork in many institutes and centers such as Stichting Het Johan Borgmanfonds (Amsterdam), Fondazione Biblioteca Bozzano de Boni (Bologna), Koestler Parapsychology Unit (Edinburgh), Sociedad Española de Parapsicología (Madrid), Facultad Libre de Altos Estudios Paracientíficos (Barcelona), Institut Métapsychique International (Paris), BILYAY Foundation (Istanbul), and Österreichische Gesellschaft für Parapsychologie (Vienna), as well as at faculties of psychology at the universities of Barcelona and Granada (Spain), the Facultatea de Comunicare si Relatii Publice (SNSPA) in Bucarest (Romania), the Facultades Integradas “Espírita” of Curitiba (Brazil), and the universities of Lima, Alas Peruanas and Inca Garcilazo (Peru). L.L.Vassiliev Parapsychology Foundation (Russia), Cairo Opera House (Cairo, Egypt), Desarrollo Transpersonal at Puebla (México), and has been Guest of Honor of the First International Meeting of Healing, Consciousness and Spirituality (Bogotá, Colombia). As a lecturer, he has presented hundreds of talks on psychology, parapsychology and clinical psychology in Argentina.
Parra has authored a number of books, including Historia de la parapsicología en la Argentina [History of Parapsychology in Argentina] (Author, 1990; see review), Fenómenos paranormales [Paranormal Phenomena] (Kier, 2003; see review), Sueños: Como interpretar sus mensajes [Dreams: How to Understand their Messages] (Kier, 2005; see review), El mundo oculto de los sueños [The Hidden World of Dreams] (Kier, 2009; see review); Los poderes de la mente [Powers of the Mind] (Corona Borealis, 2010, ¿Qué es … la sensibilidad psíquica? [What is … Psychic Sensibility] (Deva´s, 2010), Las Alas de Psiqué [The Wings of Psyche, 2 Vols.] (Antigua, 2014), and Alucinaciones: ¿Experiencia o Trastorno? [Hallucinations: Experiences or Disorder?] (Teseo/UAI, 2014). Also he has editor of Psicología de las experiencias paranormales [Psychology of Paranormal Experiences] (Akadia, 2006) and Mente Sin Fronteras: Desafíos para la psicología del siglo XXI [Borderless Mind: Challenges for the Psychology of the 21st century. (Antigua 2014).
HUMANISTIC GROUP THERAPY, MENTAL HEALTH AND ANOMALOUS / PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES
Group therapy can be effective with people who have distressing experiences, such those involving paranormal phenomena, and so may be an appropriate method for the further parapsychological exploration of many paranormal experiences. Often people have strong reactions when they think they have had a psychic or psi experience. Many authors have suggested that use of some sort of parapsychological counselling or crisis-intervention techniques may be beneficial. Reaction patterns have been observed among individuals seeking help as a result of unusual experiences, with the most common reaction involving fear (fear of being hurt, fear of going crazy, fear of someone else being hurt, fear of losing control), but also a sense of responsibility towards another person, feeling divine or specially gifted, and the desire to develop psychic abilities. There is a large amount of research in the professional literature that supports the effectiveness of humanistic group therapy. Unfortunately, the usefulness of humanistic group therapy within clinical populations is not widely recognized by the psychological community as a whole. The therapy theory applied here emphasizes a humanistic approach to group therapy, more specifically humanistic-existential group therapy. These approaches also stress the importance of self-awareness in therapy because it is assumed that people who are self-aware can make better choices, for example, person-centred, Gestalt, and existential therapies all emphasize the idea that people are capable of acting in responsible and caring ways in interpersonal relationships.