Main Session: Cheryl Fracasso, PhD

Near-Death Experiences: Implications for Clinical Practice


Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) represents an altered state of consciousness that has been linked to several neurochemical/neuroanatomic models, including theories that suggest anoxia, hypoxia, ketamine, or increased endorphins that are allegedly released in a dying brain, although none of these paradigms can adequately account for all phenomena reported. Although NDEs are increasingly being reported in critical care settings, most healthcare professionals lack a sufficient knowledge base and associated clinical skills regarding this phenomenon. This presentation synthesizes 37 years of evidence-based research on NDEs, including its frequency, prevalence, short-term and long-term effects, assessment strategies, DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for normative spiritual/transpersonal experiences, and associated barriers to and implications for treatment in a clinical setting. Specifically, the key characteristics reported by those experiencing NDEs are reviewed, with sensitivity to cross-cultural comparisons of characteristics reported by Western and non-Western accounts. Current diagnostic criteria and various biopsychosocial assessments for NDEs are provided; each with a discussion of relevant religious, spiritual, and/or transpersonal issues. Lastly, clinical implications for treatment are addressed along with important barriers to treatment that can occur when co-morbid Axis I or Axis II DSM-IV-TR disorders exist.

Presenter Bio

Cheryl Fracasso, Ph.D. holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University, a masters degree from Walden University, and a bachelors degree from the University of Washington. She serves as a Research Assistant for Dr. Stanley Krippner, Faculty at University of Phoenix, and is an Editorial/Advisory Board Member for the NeuroQuantology journal, and Associate Managing Editor for the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. She has published two continuing education training modules for psychologists with HealthForumOnline with co-author Harris Friedman in the fields of near-death experiences and energy medicine, and several articles in the field of near-death experiences. Her interests are in the fields of near-death experiences, spiritually transformative experiences, energy medicine, humanistic, existential, and transpersonal psychology, as well as electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

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