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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Does my friend have a psychiatric issue?


QUESTION: Worried if my friend is delusional. On a recent visit, we got to talking and she disclosed some things I think are peculiar but I'm not sure if they're delusions worthy of treatment. She seems to be functioning fine; she is a professional driver and an adept one. She is not socially odd or in any way catatonic.

But she disclosed these things to me:
1) She had a "heart awakening" and is now able to access her past lives through her third eye. A heart awakening is a powerful jolt in your heart charkra.
2) She is an alien who came to Earth via a complex soul system to "help us out".
3) In a few years, she will need to go on a mission with her "twin flame", which is a soul sibling.
4) Every person has a life purpose and her purpose is to help people heal themselves. To this end, she is transitioning from being a driver to healing (crystals, essential oils, meditation, talk therapy).
5) She is concerned about excessive toxins in our food supply, but is irrational about it. She just did a five day cleanse where I'm not sure she ate anything.
6) She has more chakras than most beings. "Chakras" are a big deal to her.
7) She thinks that problematic thoughts or feelings people have are actually these things called "thoughtforms" that we all create on the astral plane.
8) When we dream, we visit the astral plane. The astral plane is collapsing at the same time that the Earth enviroment is going to hell.

Are these unusual but harmless beliefs or is she textbook delusional or psychotic or having some other malignant break with reality? Besides the cleanse thing, she isn't hurting herself. Depending on your view, her healing career may harm others psychologically if they have excessive expectations or she gives ill-informed advice. I don't think she is putting herself at any financial risk as there are plenty of people in my region who would pay for this kind of thing, plus she has already lined up side income from rental property.

If she is in the throes of delusion or psychosis, what can I do to help as a non-family member?

Thank you for any advice and information you can provide.

ANSWER: Delusional? Sure, at least to you and me. But one could argue that her convictions are no more delusional than those held by most people. (I don't know much about Scientology but she might fit right in.)

Psychotic? Some hints in her thinking but not in her behavior, which is the thing.

Harmless? Apparently, although you might want to gently explore the upcoming mission.

What can you do? I can suggest only to offer some grounding if and when she seems to want it, otherwise just sadly shake your head. As long as she's reasonably safe and functioning, her notions may be serving her purpose. In any case she may not be mature enough to abandon them, and I'm hardly sure that any kind of intervention would help.    

That's the best I can do, other than complimenting you for being such a concerned, intuitive, and articulate friend.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Is it unethical for me to receive healing from her? She is a serious person and is serious about her new career choice, and I'm frankly at a point in my life where I'm open to anything and could use some compassionate healing, Western psychiatry having failed me too many times so far (I have depression, PTSD, anxiety).  

Who am I to say that she is not an alien and her destiny is not to heal people? I need an outsider opinion because of how unorthodox these views are contrasted to typical contemporary worldview programming.

I don't want there to be a moment in the future where she says, "Man, I was really gone there for a bit and you didn't say anything!" but that weighs heavily against my reluctance to come off as insensitive and dismissive to her experiences and reality. If this could be a scenario where there is a worsening or later development of symptoms and it's advantageous to step in earlier than later, I don't want to be encouraging delusions that could later harm her by taking part in these healing activities just because I could selfishly use an open ear and heart. Basically, I don't want to exploit someone when my duty as friend is to help them. From her current perspective, I would be helping her get through the training phase of her healing rituals, and she is not the kind of person to let people exploit her.

Your questions and concerns (which have changed) lie outside my area of expertise so consider my responses as coming not from an authority (whether in psychology or ethics) but, say, a friend or neighbor.

It's a matter of judgement, and you seem pretty solid in that department. You hardly appear exploitive or dismissive, and talking may benefit both sides (even if "healing" may be too strong a term -- even were it clear who is to be healing whom).

Sorry it's not my role to give permission but I'm confident that you'll come to an appropriate decision. I wish the best of fortune to both of you.


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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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