THE ESP EXPERIENCE: A Psychiatric Valuation by

THE ESP EXPERIENCE: A Psychiatric Valuation

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There is in the relationship between doctor and patient, analyst and client, a certain symbiosis which Dr. Ehrenwald finds congenial to the manifestation of psi phenomena. His perspective as a psychiatrist and analyst of many years' standing, his Czech, Viennese, English, and presently American experience, provide a rich background for his exploration of ESP events. Many of these are based on personal experience and case histories. In addition, he provides provocative analyses of events or personalities--the Salem witch trials, the rise of Hitler, the contemporary fads of biofeedback, TM, etc. One does not have to be a believer to find in Ehrenwald's writing some very ingenious speculations on what is going on here. He believes that psi phenomena are real and that cultures in the past, and western science in particular, have done their best to repress them. Inevitably they become manifest, however, sometimes in the guise of magic and witchcraft, sometimes in the trances of mediums or shamans, sometimes in the course of creativity, mental illness, the psychoanalytic encounter, and so on. Ehrenwald is especially good in his discussion of what he calls ""doctrinal compliance""--the acquiescence of patient to doctor or their joint cooperation toward the goal of healing. Such an unspoken sympathy fosters the Freudian dreams of patients of Freudian analysts, for example, and in Ehrenwald's case has led to a variety of telepathic or clairvoyant experiences. He feels there is much more that can be explored about psi in the realm of neurophysiology, but his invoking of a right brain-left brain dichotomy is probably too simplistic. On the whole, he presents stimulating insights into a wealth of events, cultural phenomena, personalities (including poltergeist children and such contemporaries as Ingo Swann and Uri Geller). It is greatly to his credit that the psychiatric approach seems credible and appropriate. Moreover, he has a graceful style which makes many of the complex ideas discussed readily accessible and thought-provoking.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1978
Publisher: Basic Books