A one-time Beverly Hills psychologist who experienced a “spontaneous spiritual awakening” during a 1977 conference in Maui, Hawaii says Western psychological thought needs to incorporate spirituality in therapy if it is to ultimately succeed.
Ronald L. Mann, Ph.D., who now lives and practices spiritual healing and coaching in Pacific Palisades, CA, has written a book that explains his transformation from clinician to healer and how psychologists can benefit their patients by adopting his methods.
The book, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality With Psychotherapy, has been on the Los Angeles Times West Coast best-selling list and is doing a brisk business at major book stores. He said the book will soon be translated and published in France and Sweden.
Mann said he was attending a workshop sponsored by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., in Maui when his awakening occurred and that it took four years to fully integrate his new-found knowledge and healing energy into his practice.
Mann said the awakening allowed him to view previous lives he had led and gave him insight and answers to
questions he had been searching for all his life.
During the four years following his awakening, Mann accepted Paramahansa Yogananda (who had left his physical body in 1953) as his guru, adopted kriya yoga to speed up his spiritual development and traveled to India where he studied and lived in several ashrams learning Hindu philosophy.
Mann said the only explanation he can give for experiencing a “spontaneous spiritual awakening” was that all he had accomplished in previous lives had prepared him for the moment.
“It was my time,” he said.
Mann is no critic of traditional therapy and credits psychology with performing a useful function in treating people with mental disorders and problems, and helping them to live more effectively within the human realm.
But, he is quick to ask:
“Given that traditional psychological approaches do not allow for the inclusion and understanding of spiritual realities, can traditional Western psychological methods actually address the healing of the whole person when these parts are ignored?”
Mann answers: “Individuals are seeking healing systems that speak to all levels of the awareness, and in my view it is impossible to find wholeness without realizing the spiritual unity that is inherent in one’s own being. As a psychologist, I suggest that we collectively broaden our definition of the ‘self’ to include our spiritual nature as well.”
Although Mann thinks Western psychological thought would be improved if spirituality were integrated into psychotherapy, he notes that not everyone will be able to discern between the various dense and subtle energy states.
“It is not everyone’s path or duty to be a healer. Those of us who do share this path of service, however, can increase our ability to help others as we become more conscious of the subtle realms and deepen our attunement with God,” Mann writes.
The book is meant to be read by therapists and lay readers alike. It contains techniques therapists can use to increase their own healing consciousness and how to apply that to therapy.
Mann, a graduate of the California School of Professional Psychology, said he doesn’t consider himself a psychologist at the moment. He is a spiritual healer and professional coach who works with mentally healthy people who feel there is a spiritual void in their lives.