Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D.

Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D.


Ghosts And Spirits Can Be Beneficial To Your Mental Health

Belief in the afterlife can help you cope with trauma

Posted Oct 26, 2013

Have you ever heard things go bump in the night? Perhaps you’ve seen a shadowy figure move across the room when you swear no one else was there. Maybe you moved into a house and had strange things happen from the moment you called it home . Then there is the chance that you have seen a full blown apparition, something that can scare the daylights out of you.

If you are haunted, then you are not alone. So many people across the globe have had similar experiences. Every culture has reported some sort of paranormal activity. The trouble is, the spirit world is considered to be a taboo subject in many circles. Therefore, people tend to keep their stories secret out of fear of how they will be treated.

Too often paranormal experiences are dismissed with a rolling of the eyes, especially in academia. Surely you were just imagining things, you are told. It is all in your head. There could be no possibility that what you experienced is real. Maybe you are simply crazy. If you are told this often enough, then you learn to keep silent about your experiences. Who wants to be labeled as a lunatic?

No doubt, there are many situations where the mentally ill believe they have seen ghosts or demons. I worked many cases as a criminal profiler where schizophrenics committed murder because they believed their victims were demons or demon possessed. Hallucinations and delusions like that do occur. That is a very real concern when dealing with someone who claims to have paranormal experiences. Everything from depression, grief, trauma, and psychosis can be responsible for seemingly paranormal experiences.

However, many perfectly sane individuals have claimed to see spirits and believe in ghosts, and there are cases out there that simply cannot be explained away by grief, mental illness, or mistaken identity.

I have spoken with many parents of murdered children who have vivid dreams of their deceased loved ones just when they needed it. In some cases, the parent was ready to commit suicide and a departed loved one appeared to them to tell them not to do it. Some would argue it is a manifestation of their subconscious acting in self preservation. Yet, those who reported these experiences were profoundly touched by them and often had a complete turnaround in their depressions.

Other cases involve those who visited a medium and received information that only the deceased would know. This confirmed for them that there is life after death. These after death contacts have such an amazing impact, that very often, they not only lead to simple survival, but they acted as catalysts for big life changes. After seeing or hearing from a dead loved one, grieving family often make very positive turns in their lives. They become involved in activities that they never would have prior to being touched by spirit. They volunteer to do good things, such as form support groups and help victims of violent crimes. The spirit experience provided hope and gave them a joy that they had lost.

It would be easy to dismiss these claims as a product of a grieving mind. However, there are just as many cases where there has been no trauma in the life of the person who experienced spirit contact. I have talked to people who moved into new houses and all of a sudden experienced things moving on their own, strange dreams, spirit figures, and whispers that can’t be understood.

One woman I spoke with moved into an old house and kept seeing a little boy running around her living room. She wasn’t the only one who saw him either. Later she found out a little boy had died in that home. This is someone I have known for years that has a level head on her shoulders and is not prone to histrionics. She is a woman who was very practical. Prior to moving in that house, she had never experienced any paranormal activity. She was quite skeptical about such matters. After experiencing it first hand, she found herself drawn to doing volunteer work at a children’s charity where she met a new best friend. This brought a complete happy change in her life.

Another person I interviewed spoke about his experiences with the paranormal. Phil had been an outright cynic to ghosts and spirits. He flat out never believed in any of it and referred to those who believed as ‘idiots.’ That was until he had his own paranormal contact. His little boy died in a freak accident, and he was sure that his son had ceased to exist. This of course brought him into the depths of despair. This depression went on for over a year until a coworker at his construction site began talking about the unusual dreams he was having about a little boy. The man said he kept having a dream about a little boy who had been killed on his bicycle. He saw the accident in the dream. Then the boy would get up and say ‘tell him I’m all right.’ The dream repeated night after night, and it got to the point that this man was bothered by it. He said it gave him ‘the creeps.’ One day Phil heard this man telling his story, and he froze in his tracks. He asked the man more about the boy in the dream. What did he look like? What was he wearing? The man proceeded to recount the dream in detail and described Phil’s son down to the clothes he was wearing when he was buried. Phil was stunned to say the least. It was after that when he began examining the afterlife and found happiness again with the thought of his son being close by. Now you might say that the coworker was just saying these things to make Phil feel better. However, this coworker was new to the job and to the area. He had never seen the boy or even knew about the accident. He didn’t even know the boy’s name, and he certainly didn’t know what clothes he was buried in. No one at the jobsite attended the funeral.

I’ve known police officers who ‘ask’ the murder victim for help in solving a case, and I’ve been told that more than one was then visited in a dream and given information about the crime. There are many in law enforcement that experience the paranormal but are hesitant to come forward due to stigma. Having spirit contact can help police do their jobs. It can be so daunting and jading to work homicide cases. You see the worst in humanity on a daily basis which can grind you down. Getting confirmation of the spirit world can reinvigorate an officer who has had the wind taken out of his sails.

Just going through everyday life can be challenging. Belief in the paranormal can have a positive psychological effect by aiding the grieving process, providing a life coping mechanism and simply giving hope where there was none. It can be a key to living. Knowing that you never really lose the ones you love brings peace. Just the knowledge that we go on after we die is enough for people to make positive changes in their lives.

So yes, there are things that go bump in the night. Sometimes it is a house settling, but other times, it just may be a spirit coming to say ‘hello.’ There is more out there than meets the eye. Perhaps you may wonder if such a thing is possible. Could something like that really be true? You never know, tonight may be the night that you have your first ghostly encounter.

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