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Psychiatry and the Spirit World

True Stories on the Survival of Consciousness after Death

Foreword by Edith Fiore
Published by Park Street Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A psychiatrist’s comprehensive examination of evidence for the survival of consciousness after death

• Explains the author’s practice of psychiatric spirit release, centered on the spiritual and psychic aspects of emotional disturbance

• Offers profound accounts of the survival of the spirit after death, from ancient times to the present day, including near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, reincarnation, and dreams

• Examines evidence for mediumship, clairvoyance, telepathy, and the psychic aspects of heart transplants

After a twenty-year break from practice, Alan Sanderson returned to clinical psychiatry at age fifty-nine and soon realized that many of his patients were plagued by troublesome earthbound spirits, some of whom had been attached across lifetimes to multiple incarnations as well as multiple hosts. By talking with these attached spirits and persuading them to leave their hosts, Dr. Sanderson found remarkable success in the treatment of his patients.

Now, more than 30 years later, Dr. Sanderson shares his extensive research on the afterlife, the survival of consciousness after physical death, and paranormal phenomena related to the spirit world. He explains his practice of psychiatric spirit release, centered on the spiritual and psychic aspects of emotional disturbance, and shares case studies complete with full accounts of treatment sessions. He offers first-hand accounts of the survival of the spirit after death, from ancient times to the present day, and explores end-of-life experiences, including what is witnessed by the living people in the room, as well as profound accounts of near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and reincarnation. He examines evidence for mediumship, clairvoyance, telepathy, and the psychic aspects of heart transplants. He also details cases of remote healing, further proving the existence of connections beyond the material world.

Presenting a wealth of evidence, as well as suggestions for new treatment possibilities for mental health problems, Dr. Sanderson offers a comprehensive examination of spirit existence and the survival of consciousness after death.


From CHAPTER 3. Spirit Release: Time to Move on

When, at fifty-nine I finally returned, after twenty years, to clinical psychiatry, I had no idea that I was on the verge of an inconceivably strange adventure. Treating patients by talking to troublesome earthbound spirits could not have been further from my thoughts. And yet, three years later, I was doing just that. My decision to write a book on survival after physical death came out of my work with earthbound spirits and their connection to the dying process.

To clarify the situation, I’ll give a brief explanation of what, to my knowledge, happens at death, when the soul passes for further development to the Light, the entrance to the spirit world. It fits what souls report to therapists during spirit release. Mediums may receive similar information. This transition is not invariable. If the soul has no concept of survival or if death is traumatic and unexpected, the Light may not be visible, and attachment may occur to someone at the scene. Sometimes attachment occurs by design. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, some other worldly activity, or an intense relationship with another person can result in a soul remaining earthbound by intention. This may become a parasitic connection that is difficult to break. A soul may also be stranded in some familiar location and produce effects, such as haunting, or it may attach to another living individual, either knowingly or unknowingly. Such a spirit may move on of its own accord, but there may be a need for release.

The practice of spirit release—or exorcism, as it is called when part of a religious practice—goes back thousands of years and continues to be used by religions worldwide. In Brazil, Spiritism, founded by Allan Kardec, born Hyppolite Rivail (see Inner Explorers Appendix), has many hospitals and thousands of treatment centers, where spirit release by mediums is a main feature of the treatment. There are many other regions, especially in India and Africa, where it is an important part of the social fabric for practitioners of spirit release using local techniques to remove harmful spirits induced as curses (spirit interference).

My personal knowledge and experience concerns spirit attachment in the industrialized Western world, where the condition, although prevalent, is rarely acknowledged. Except for its use by mediums who need spirit guides for their work, attachment is usually an unwished-for condition in which spirits interfere with the healthy functioning of individuals. I have been concerned mostly with the earthbound souls of those who have died. Some nonhuman spirits (entities) or demonic spirits can also cause problems.

How does one make a diagnosis of spirit attachment in such cases? Since most patients are ignorant of the condition, the most important step is for them to become aware that such a condition may be present. Any of the following symptoms may manifest: low energy level, character shifts or mood swings, impulsive behavior, memory gaps, poor concentration, sudden onset of anxiety or depression, abuse of alcohol or drugs, hearing a negative inner voice. It is very rare for attached spirits to take full control, but such cases have been described. Nearly always, the intrusion shows only moderate effects, as in my patient, Pete who you will shortly be meeting.

The concept of spirit interference raises many questions, such as How do spirits gain entry, and how can we protect ourselves against these secret intruders? While there is no doubt that some people are far more open to spirit interference than others, those who lead healthy lives, without extremes of abuse or indulgence, are the least likely to be troubled.

Attached spirits should be encouraged to go to the Light. Even if not harmful, they may be doorways for harmful spirits to enter. Dealing with them requires special skill. To assist the transition, I ask for the help of a deceased relative of the patient or, if none is apparent, a spirit guide. Such help is often perceived by the patient and leads to effective release. Remote spirit release may be used by therapists with psychic abilities. They scan clients for attached spirits and clear them with or without the aid of spirit guides.

Talking to inner voices is not part of regular psychiatric practice, and I need scarcely say that it did not feature in my formal training. It was only after my meeting with Lance Trendall, the hypnotist whom I mentioned in the introduction, and subsequent training in hypnosis and spirit release, that this door opened for me. I used it first with my nonpsychotic patients at Fairfield Hospital, especially those who had treatment-resistant depressive and anxiety states. Most of them were keen to use hypnosis and glad of an opportunity to change from the usual medication. Without mentioning the possibility of attached spirits, I would have them, while in hypnosis, look into an imaginary mirror or imagine being filled with light and look for shadowy areas. I would then ask, “If that area could make a noise (or speak) what might it say?” A response would usually lead to a verbal exchange, with the possibility of exploring the history of an attached spirit. However, in the absence of a verbal response, it was often possible to communicate by finger signals. I would ask the spirit if it could relate its own experience of physical death, and why it had joined the patient. Attached spirits usually have their own problems that need to be resolved. Sometimes a spirit has a past-life connection to the patient that needs to be explored before a release can occur.

Physical Symptoms Resulting from Spirit Attachment

Innumerable hospital investigations had failed to reveal the cause of Pete’s trouble. He worked as a senior manager and professional trainer and had a very successful career. Pete came to me as a last resort, after being offered a marvelous job opportunity abroad. It was a chance that at fifty he couldn’t afford to lose. Before he came, e-mails from both husband and wife had delivered a daunting catalogue of complaints: abdominal pain, joint pains, retching and diarrhea, wide fluctuations in temperature, and periods of severe prostration. Life had become a misery. Had it not been for a wonderfully sustaining and rich marital relationship, he might not have survived.

There were two important clues to the cause of the problem. One had come to light a year before, when, during hypnotic regression, Pete had experienced a life in Tibet. As a boy, while being schooled to be a lama, he had been bayoneted to death by a Chinese soldier. The other clue was his conviction of being possessed. How this came about he could not say. He had first felt it after the death of his mother years before. In Pete’s words, “This thing lives in my descending colon. This is its lair. I can show you the exact place. It can be small or large. When it’s really at rest it’s about the size of a big marble. When it’s fully active it penetrates and permeates my entire body, including my brain. At its worst I feel that it’s killing me by draining all my energy and by consuming my cells and preventing my mind from functioning. It is almost never absent.” I had Pete relax through visualization and imagine his body filled with light. He described “a dark, triangular kind of shape” on the left side of the abdomen. What follows in the next account is the verbatim dialogue between me, Pete, and the entity speaking through Pete:

Alan: If it could make a noise, what noise would it make?

Pete: Constant, intense; a raging scream.

Alan: And if that scream could find words, what words would come?

Pete: Hatred.

[A nonhuman entity then identifies itself as Askinra; in appearance, it’s “like a dark flame.”]

Askinra (speaking through Pete): I shouldn’t be in here. I feel trapped like this.

[Askinra becomes aware of voices and light.]

Angels: Come back! Come out!

[Askinra feels blocked.]

Askinra: I can only come through him.

Alan: Tell me, Askinra, what effect are you having on Pete?

Askinra: I’m destroying him. If I destroy him then I can be free.

Alan: Become aware of the angels that are calling your name and tell me what you see.

Askinra: It is as if a pathway goes up through the heart, to the top of the head.

Alan: And where does it lead beyond the head?

Askinra: Into another place that’s very different from this one. It is outside this reality. It’s the place I’m trying to go, but I can’t get there, I can’t get through. Every time I try to get out, I can’t get through.

Alan: At what point are you stopped, Askinra? Try and get through and tell me what your experience is.

Askinra: It’s like a closed door . . . like something that’s locked.

Alan: Describe the closed door.

Askinra: It’s round and white, like bone.

Alan: Askinra, speak to the closed door that’s round and white, like bone. Ask the closed door, “May I come through?” How does it respond?

Askinra: No.

Alan: Ask the closed door, “What must I do, so that you will open for me?”

Askinra: Die!

Alan: Askinra, are you telling me that you are able to die? You are an immortal spirit, Askinra, how can you die?

Askinra: That’s what the door is for; it’s for the time of death.

[This path of inquiry seemed to be blocked. I decide on another approach.]

Alan: Askinra, tell me, how old was Pete when you joined him?

Askinra: Twelve.

[Askinra entered at the time of the fatal bayonet wound, during the Chinese invasion of Tibet when Pete was twelve in that incarnation, preparing to become a lama. It seems that Askinra was there and was taken by surprise.]

Askinra: Hatred pushes me in there and fixes me in there.

[Pete gives permission for me to speak to the soldier.]

Alan: I’m speaking to the soldier who is putting the bayonet into this boy of twelve, who feels so much hatred. You, the soldier, what do you have to say? You can speak to me. You’re feeling anger, aren’t you? What do you say to the little boy?

Soldier: You have to be destroyed!

Alan: And you hate this boy.

Soldier: I hate everything he stands for.

[The soldier, who on questioning reveals that his name is Chen Ling, now regrets his action. With angelic help, Chen Ling removes his anger from the bayonet thrust. As an indication of his regret, Chen Ling gives the boy a tiny pearl. Askinra is now able to pass through the door in the head, which opens onto a place of mountains and light. Spirit guides are requested. The hand of the guide feels “like a cool stream.”]

Askinra: Sorry, I never meant to be there. Come and find me in the new place. Afterward, Pete experienced some parting spasms in the left abdomen, but felt much lighter. Healing spirits were called in to cleanse and heal the whole subtle energy system, leaving Pete feeling good. A month later, Pete described the experience: “The physical symptoms have gone. It was just as distinct as if you were carrying something and it weighed a certain amount and it had a certain texture and a certain feeling to it and that thing was removed from you. With that thing out of the way, I’m free to think and feel and to be aware in ways that I wasn’t before. It has made a huge difference.”

At a ten-year follow-up Pete wrote the following:

The immediate result of Alan’s work with me was that I was instantly relieved of a wide range of intensely debilitating physical symptoms upon which all other approaches, both “allopathic” and “alternative” had been ineffective. My mental and emotional stance also changed for the better. I had more clarity and felt more contented and happy with my present circumstances and substantially more positive about the future. It is not the case that everything in my life was perfect after this event, or that I never suffered again from either physical illness or emotional upset, but it is for me a fact that this was one of the major turning points in my life and that, in many ways, I never looked back. My experience was, essentially, that of being freed from “something” that had trapped me in a limited and painful version of my Self. Since then, my life and work have been successful in a number of ways that I did not, previously, anticipate.

The case of Askinra is a white crow,* waiting to be acknowledged. And it was a beautiful crow, wasn’t it? I loved the gift of the small pearl and the hand of the guide feeling “like a cool stream,” and Askinra’s invitation to Pete to come and find him in the new place. “Caw!”
* Professor William James was convinced that an unseen world existed and gave much thought to how it could best be demonstrated. Here is his much-quoted statement: “If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white.” My take on what the professor meant is this: white crows are rare, and so are, to skeptical scientists, anomalous events. We only need to prove the existence of a single white crow (or anomalous event) to disprove the black crow “law.” Throughout this book I shall be welcoming these mythological birds from time to time.

About The Author

Alan Sanderson (1931-2022), M.D., M.R.C.P., M.R.C.Psych., was a consultant psychiatrist who qualified in medicine at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London in 1954. After his retirement in 1998, he began lecturing on the practice of spirit release at the College of Psychic Studies in London. In 1999 he cofounded the Foundation for Spirit Release, which attracted more than 100 members. After the Foundation ended in 2012, Dr. Sanderson continued researching and writing on the survival of consciousness after death until his own passing in 2022.

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

“In today’s world our understanding of the universe, and the very existence of our species, is largely dictated by the findings of physicalist science. Dr. Sanderson brings a very different vision--a spiritual science that transcends physical reality and one that joyfully affirms the healing power of the human spirit. A compelling read for all who question the fundamental meaning and purpose of life on Earth.”

– DR. ANDREW POWELL, psychiatrist and author of The Ways of the Soul and Conversations with the Soul

“Beautifully written and meticulously researched, psychiatrist Alan Sanderson shares the journey to his ultimate understanding that we survive death of the physical body. He takes you by the hand and introduces you in a clear, sometimes humorous, way to various subjects proving this. This is a brilliant book by a caring physician. It is a book for everyone, no matter his or her religion, current beliefs, or even knowledge of the subject.”

– Edith Fiore, Ph.D., retired clinical psychologist and author of You Have Been Here Before: A Psychol

“Fear of death and the belief that death is the end of consciousness is the greatest neurosis of humanity--a neurosis that has caused and still causes immense and unnecessary suffering. This book has one crucially important message for all of us: we survive death; the body dies but consciousness, or what used to be called the soul, survives; consciousness does not begin and end with the physical brain. The firewall erected between the visible and invisible dimensions of our experience--a firewall created by materialist or physicalist science--tells us that the universe is dead, the soul does not exist, and life has no transcendent meaning. This book offers a welcome release from our imprisonment in these limited beliefs and breaks the spell created by them. We are free to welcome and explore the many anomalous experiences dismissed for centuries by both science and religion. In this anxious time of living through a pandemic, when so many people are dying, this book will bring comfort and reassurance that there is life beyond the death of the body. We owe Alan Sanderson an immense debt of gratitude.”

– Anne Baring, author of The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul

“I read Dr. Sanderson’s Psychiatry and the Spirit World with fascination. He has brought together the full range of paranormal psychiatric techniques for curing mental illness. He specializes in spirit release, a therapy that brings healing to the victim by sending the attached or possessing spirit to the light. Using hypnosis, he engages the enraged, confused, or vengeful spirit and frees it. Dr. Sanderson laments that these highly successful techniques are never mentioned in medical schools and are shunned by most practicing psychiatrists, with their patients suffering the loss. The book also engagingly surveys much of the best research pointing to an afterlife. All told, Psychiatry and the Spirit World is a treasure for anyone bold enough to look for a fuller, more beneficial truth beyond the suffocating boundaries of an exclusively materialist science.”

– Stafford Betty, Ph.D., author of The Afterlife Therapist and The Afterlife Unveiled

“Can you imagine a psychiatrist who has discovered the spirit world--and found it so valid and so helpful--that it is now a truth used in treatment? Prepare yourself. Miracles follow!”

– P.M.H. Atwater, L.H.D., researcher of near-death states for 42 years and author of The Forever Angel

"This book is filled with many thought-provoking case histories, written by a practicing psychiatrist no less. A rare thing."

– Brent Raynes, Alternate Perceptions Magazine

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