by Roy Stemman
Dr Julio Peres at BUSS (photo: Roy Stemman)
Members of the medical profession, including doctors, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, met in London this weekend to discuss the role of spirits and the soul in their patients’ health.
Their revelations, backed by scientific study, will astound their more conservative colleagues – and the general public.
One doctor told of research carried out with 10 Brazilian mediums at an American hospital. Another said he often refers his patients to healing centres, and when they follow his advice they discover he is one of the mediums.
Delegates at the 2nd British Congress on Medicine and Spirituality also heard about a study of 610 patients who underwent memory regression therapy, 38 per cent of whom recalled what appeared to be a traumatic past life experience.
As a treatment method it proved to be incredibly effective … with 390 (64 per cent) reporting total remission of their symptoms, and a further 165 (27 per cent) reporting partial improvement. Only 55 persons did not benefit from the regressions.
The well-attended event at Stratford Old Town Hall in east London was organised by the International Medical Spiritist Association, whose president is Dr Marlene Nobre, and the British Union of Spiritist Societies (BUSS).
So it was understandable that the majority of the medical presenters were from Brazil, where Spiritism thrives. It is similar to Spiritualism but based on the teachings of Allan Kardec, obtained through mediumship.
What’s more, the second day of the conference (on Sunday, 9 November) was chaired by English psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Andrew Powell, who described himself as “a friend of BUSS”, with Dr Peter Fenwick and Dr Alan Sanderson among the other speakers (full biographies are presented at the end of this Blog).
Automatic writing mediumship (known in Brazil as psychography) has almost disappeared in Europe but is still much in evidence in Brazil. Clinical psychologist Dr Julio Peres decided to use the latest medical technology to explore what changes occur in the mediums’ brains whilst apparently receiving communications from spirit entities. To find out, he took 10 of them to the United States so that they could undergo neuroimaging at the University of Pennsylvania’s hospital, which has a new Centre for Spirituality and the Mind.
Before participating in the sessions, each medium was injected with a tracer substance so that areas of brain activity would show up on SPECT scans, which use gamma rays to monitor changes. Brain activity was recorded when the subjects were writing normally and also when they were producing spirit-inspired scripts.
Dr Julio Peres (photo: Roy Stemman)
The results, which Dr Peres says “challenges the hypothesis that the mind is created by the brain”, revealed that whilst the content of the automatic scripts was more complex than the structure of the mediums’ normal writing, their scans showed the activity of the reasoning parts of their brainsdecreased during automatic writing. Which poses the question: who was creating them?
Dr Peres hopes that a scientific paper on this research will be published in the next few months. The data will also be published as a book next year.
In a second presentation to the conference, Dr Peres spoke of the incredibly effective past-life regression treatment being used in Brazil, and elsewhere, known as TRVP (terapia de regresión vidas pasadas).
The seven-stage regression sessions were conducted by three psychotherapists with 610 patients between 1996 and 2002 who were assessed as being likely to benefit from TRVP.
One of the regression stages was to ask what was the most traumatic event they recalled – without directing them as to whether this was in the current life or a past life.
After providing a variety of statistics about the subjects, Dr Peres revealed that 39 per cent described a current life trauma and almost the same number – 38 per cent – referred to an event that appeared to be in a past life.
Of that second group, however, 77 per cent gave no verifiable data about that previous existence, and the information provided by another 21 per cent who gave names and other data about a past life that could be checked, was found to be inaccurate. Only two per cent provided verifiable past-life facts.
What matters for Dr Peres and his co-researchers is that two-thirds of the TRVP subjects experienced a total remission from the symptoms that had led them to seek help. That, Dr Peres told the conference, indicates that regression is a highly effective treatment, regardless of the origin of the patients’ information, or whether the previous life described was real or not.
Dr Fabio Nasri (photo: Roy Stemman)
It was in a discussion on “Dementia and Spirituality” that Dr Fabio Nasri revealed that as a doctor he sometimes refers his patients to a Spiritist centre where they can receive healing treatment that might be more effective than conventional medicine.
When they attend, they are often surprised to recognise one of the healers – Dr Nazri. “I, as a medium, work with magnetic passes,” he told his audience, indicating that as part of this process his patients also received “surgery” from the spirits who work with him.
Other presentations on the first day included two discussions from Dr Sergio Felipe de Oliveira – “Ectoplasm and Mitochondria: a hypothesis on the molecular functions of the divided electron” and “René Descartes and the Pineal Gland: Science and Myth” – and Dr Sergio Lopes talking about “Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Spiritual Disturbances”.
Dr Andrew Powell (photo: Roy Stemman)
The second day of the conference will hear presentations on “Spiritual Reality in Psychotherapy” from Dr Andrew Powell, “Doctor and Patient Explore the Spirit Realm” from Dr Alan Sanderson, “Comfort for the Dying” from Dr Peter Fenwick and “Spiritual Experiences and the Mind-Body Relationship” from Prof Alexander Moreira-Almeida.
Medicine and Spirituality seem to be enjoying a new focus in the UK. Two months ago, a one-day conference held at Liverpool Hope University which was advertised as being of “interest to those in ‘positive psychology’ and the psychology of wellbeing, complementary and alternative medicine, the therapeutic effects of meditation, the placebo effect, religious beliefs and experiences, creativity, paranormal beliefs and experiences, as well as the psychology of spirituality”.
Dr Julio Peres (left), Elsa Rossi, Conference manager, and Roy Stemman.
BUSS 2nd British Congress participants were:
Dr Marlene Nobre, former gyneacologist specialising in cancer prevention who also trained in psychotherapy. Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Dr Julio Peres is a clinical psychologist specialising in regression therapy and in post traumatic stress disorder. He has a PhD in Neuroscience and Behaviour from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Sao Paulo.
Dr Fabio Nasri has a medical degree and an MSc in Clinical Endocrinology from the Federal University of Sao Paulo. He is also coordinator of the Gerontology and Geriatrics Programme of the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.
Dr Sergio Felipe de Oliveira holds a Masters degree in Neuroscience from the University of Sao Paulo and is clinical director of the Pineal-Mind Health Institute in that city, as well as founder and director of the Unispirit Project.
Dr Sergio Lopes is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist specialising in psychoanalytical and transpersonal therapy. A former clinical director of the Spiritist Hospital in Pelotas, in southern Brazil, he is now the director of the Human Solidarity Department of the Medical Spiritist Association in Pelotas.
Prof Alexander Moreira-Almeida trained in psychiatry and cognitive-behavioural therapy at the University of Sao Paulo’s Institute of Psychiatry, where he also obtained his PhD in Health Sciences, investigating the mental health of Spiritist mediums. Formerly a postdoctoral fellow in religion and health at Duke University in the US, he is now Professor of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Juiz de For a School of Medicine and founder and director of the Research Centre in Spirituality and Health, Brazil.
Dr Alan Sanderson trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London, and subsequently worked in personality research and general psychiatry in the NHS, where he also practiced spirit release. He retired from the NHS in 1997 but continues in private practice. He is president of the Spirit release Foundation which he founded in 1999.
Dr Andrew Powell trained in psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Maudsley Hospital, London, and was a consultant and senior lecturer at St George’s Hospital, London, for 11 years before moving to Oxford where he continued in the NHS until 2000. He is an associate of the College of Healing and founding chair of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Dr Peter Fenwick was formerly consultant in charge of the neuropsychiatric and epilepsy unit at the Maudsley Hospital, London. He is co-director of research at the Department of Neurophysiology, Broadmoor Hospital, and consultant neuropsychiatrist at the London Sleep Centre, running a clinical and forensic practice. For the past nine years he has been studying magnetic field tomography at the RIKEN Neuroscience Institute, Japan. In the UK he is researching near-death experiences in coronary care units, and surveying approaching death experiences in hospices and nursing homes in southern England.
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