The question, a very good one, was asked
So how do transpersonal psychologists know what to tell someone who has come in for counseling?
One of my colleagues in the Spiritual Guidance program at ITP responded
I know that this is an issue in Spiritual Guidance. I have worked with individuals who have had co-morbid diagnosis – both having an existing pathology and have spiritual/paranormal experiences. It does become tough to sort through and requires a good deal of discernment along with faith in the human potential toward health and wholeness. Thus, how I (not a therapist) might answer the question below is:
First, it is important to discern the functionality of the individual (is she/he functioning in day to day life) and his/her relationship to society (is he/she being called to step outside of traditional roles and ways of being in society, much like a shaman might be called to sit at the edge of the community). Second, it would be important to discern if the paranormal/spiritual occurrences are part of a larger growth pattern for the individual. In other words, are the experiences directly related to spiritual practices? Do they occur or stop when the individual is centered? Could they be contextualized as kundalini, dark night of the soul, etc. that provides a sense of meaning for the individual? Finally, I believe it would be important to discern if the individual was a physical threat to him / herself or others. If so, then even if the person’s experiences are spiritual (such as a death rebirth experience) then that individual likely needs help by a therapist or psychiatrist. We want the person to be around in order to continue her/his development as a being. Once stabilized, then a transpersonal guide (therapist, expressive artist, spiritual guide) could work with the individual to work through the threatening material (be it images of suicide – self-transformation – or shamanic death and disintegration themes, etc.).