In 2017 whilst in the midst of running the #Emerging Proud campaign and wondering what on earth I’d started, I was contacted by a Danish Master’s Student, Anne- Kirstine Klitmark. Anne- Kirstine and I connected online and immediately both felt a rush of relief and a soul connection, confirming that we were both on our path. Here Anne- Kirstine shares her version of our synchronistic connection, and the birthing of her subsequent research study….Thank you Soul Sister for listening to your calling to ‘Mend the Gap’ between Spirituality and Psychiatry! ❤
Anne- Kirstine reflects on the birthing of her thesis:
“In autumn 2016, I was in the process of gathering empirical data to write my master thesis about the indigenous people in Australia, and how their connection to the land and storytelling is a source of healing. It was after I, in 2015, had travelled through Uluru and Alice Springs, that I wanted to bring the indigenous people’s wisdom into my master thesis. It turned out to be a huge project to start, as I had not grown up in Australia, and felt that there was a lot I needed to know and understand in order to write it with integrity. My intention for writing the thesis was also to bring in the indigenous people spiritual understanding, in order to shed light on our ideas about mental health. I had personally, in 2012, gone through a spiritual crisis, spending one month in a psychiatric hospital, and while there I intuitively felt I needed to find a healing center. I did find a healing center in Denmark and in Brazil, which was the start of an adventurous healing journey and a turning point in being soul led. I did an internship at the Ignatius Healing Center in Denmark and wrote an internship report about spiritual healing in my health promotion master program.
When I was researching for my master thesis back in 2016, I realized that it had to be closely related to my own experience, so I began to do research on spiritual psychiatry and the book of “Spiritual Psychiatries” by Natalie Tobert came up. In the index of the book, the UK Spiritual Crisis Network caught my eye. I looked it up and saw their Facebook page, where the first thing that popped up was the Crazywise interview with Katie Mottram and a link to Emerging Proud, and Katie’s memoir “Mend the Gap – A transformative journey from deep despair to spiritual awakening”. I had this soul sense that I get, when it is the right direction to go, and this I felt in every part of my being about Emerging Proud. I also felt the fear, as I knew it would take courage to write about this topic, within the academic world, and on top of that, including the story of my own spiritual emergency as part of my thesis. I read Katie’s memoir right after and looked through the campaign content, and then wrote Katie. After a skype together, it was settled that I was going to write my master thesis on Emerging Proud. And so, the journey began.
After 8 months of researching, writing and editing, I handed in my thesis in August 2017 and a little bit more than a month later, I got the feedback from my supervisors, that I had passed the thesis. It had demonstrated the gap existing between psychiatry and spirituality. In the master thesis I aim at placing spirituality within the field of health communication, by disclosing the health promoting, transformative and healing potential in the spiritual experiences, when they are validated. Psychiatric diagnoses are put into question and I discuss the necessary nuances to be taken into consideration, when considering medication and hospitalization as a support or not going through spiritual emergencies. The general aim of the thesis is to bridge a gap between psychiatry and spirituality, which has long existed and to show the need for a validation of the spiritual experiences, which so far have been regarded as a mental disorder by mainstream psychiatry. The critique that the thesis received was that it was missing more scientific research papers and that the understanding of the cultural context, was not brought in as a factor. I was given the feedback that the thesis would have benefitted by having a greater emphasizes on what new treatments methods need to be implemented in psychiatry for the validation, integration, support and healing for those going through a spiritual emergency. I did not have the answer then, as there are many different spiritual healing treatments methods. However, I believe that one answer is to be found in the future where, with the validation of spiritual experiences, we can have spiritual emergency mentors, like there are now recovery mentors, who with their own experience and training skills can give healing, integrative support to others going through the process of spiritual transformation.
My hope is that you will find new insights, validation, support and healing in reading my thesis, and I would love to have your feedback. It is my deepest wish that others take up this torch and keep researching on this field, also within academia and psychiatry, so that we may come to reach a fuller understanding and validation, which will inevitably bring about a better support system for those going through spiritual emergencies.”
Anne- Kirstine celebrates her thesis publication; and we are all celebrating with you! ❤