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  Psi in Psychotherapy: Conventional and Nonconventional Healing of Mental Illness
Alex Tanous, Elaine Schwinge and Andrew F. Bambrick

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Dr Alex Tanous (1926-1990) was a renowned international lecturer on the topics of well-being, creativity and parapsychology.  A self-professed psychic, he spent 20 years of his life while working as a university lecturer being tested for his claims of ‘light project’ and going ‘out-of-the-body’ at will. He was also well-known for placing his predictions of future events on record. This book – written in the 1980s by Tanous and colleagues – “gives an overview of an innovative approach in the combined fields of conventional and [non]-conventional psychotherapeutic healing”. This is one of several books released by the Alex Tanous Foundation in recent years for historical preservation. Fascinating accounts are relayed by Tanous et al., with additional writings from respected and renowned scientists and professionals to provide modern reflection on this historical piece.

But what is Psi in Psychotherapy? Taking the place of the psychotherapist, Dr Tanous was employed to ‘read’ each client psychically and determine the cause of the problems each client had been faced with. In the company of the clients and the working professionals, the clients were able to verify the information he provided, from which, the psychotherapists then decided on the course of treatment and therapy appropriate for each case. ‘Psi in Psychotherapy’ provides Dr Tanous’ unique ideas and beliefs surrounding this practise, and mental and physical healing of people. In addition to this, the authors take you through several case studies of clients they dealt with, offering a step-by-step approach as to how a ‘psychic’ was used within the psychotherapy setting, the outcomes, and their resultant recovery.


Foreword by Callum E. Cooper, Ph.D.,
and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.



CHAPTER 1: The Meeting

CHAPTER 2: Psi vs. Psychotherapy

CHAPTER 3: The Relationship of Body, Mind and Spirit

CHAPTER 4: Dr. Tanous as Healer

CHAPTER 5: Spring Forward and Fall Back

CHAPTER 6: A Pinch of Sugar

CHAPTER 7: Peek-a-Book, I See You

CHAPTER 8: Survival Fears Before Birth

CHAPTER 9: The Second Sin

CHAPTER 10: Postscript

Afterword by Adrian Parker, Ph.D.

Contributor Biographies



Praise for PSI in Psychotherapy

“This book is a rare treat showing us a glimpse into the future of psychotherapy through the visionary eyes of one of the most talented and academic psychics of the twentieth century. The unique collaboration between Alex Tanous and a marvellously open-minded psychiatrist offers a model for healing that transcends the current biopsychopharmacological paradigm. His ability to intuitively detect the roots of psychiatric illness in undisclosed childhood experiences and hidden ancestral influences and share them with clients in an illuminating fashion offers a foundation for research in clinical parapsychology.”

~ Larry Burk, MD, CEHP, former board president of the Rhine Research Center, author of Dreams that Can Save Your Life (Findhorn Press, 2018)

“A fascinating, moving and well-written account. Whether one believes in psychic phenomena as such or not, the study illustrates well how therapeutic techniques based upon such beliefs can be helpful and integrate with conventional therapy.”

~ Prof Frederick Toates, Open University, Author of How Sexual Desire Works: The Enigmatic Urge (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

“Every psychotherapist should be required to read this, and everyone having a psychic experience will gain insight from the book”

~ Loyd Auerbach, Author of Psychic Dreaming (Llewelyn 2017)

“Old but new, this valuable work contributes to the emergence of the practical parapsychology of wellbeing.  It also resonates with patterns previously underreported in the work of psychospiritually oriented healers both in and out of mainstream medicine and psychotherapy.”

~ Charles F. Emmons, PhD, Gettysburg College, author of Chinese Ghosts Revisited (Blacksmith Books, 2017).

“This book suggests in choosing a suitable psychotherapist, it is important of course to choose from the professionally qualified, but it may give a further vital advantage to choose someone with a true healing ability.”

~ Annekatrin Puhle, PhD, author of Light Changes: Experiences in the Presence of Transforming Light (White Crow Books, 2014)

“A fascinating book, dramatically hinting about the way psychic abilities may become practical tools for helping relieve suffering, although, on another level, even the thought of a psychic’s connecting with another’s mind can be rather frightening – for both real and irrational reasons.”

~ Charles T. Tart, PhD, author of Altered States of Consciousness (HarperCollins, 1990)

Psi in Psychotherapy presents a set of intriguing case studies arguing that talented psychics can provide valuable insights about clients engaged in psychotherapy. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in exploring enhanced techniques for treating mental health.”

~ Dean Radin, PhD, Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences, and author of Real Magic (Listening Library, 2018)

“Dr Tanous had his abilities tested on a number of occasions, and in this instance, turns them to the clinical setting. Empathy and intuition can go far in helping the client on the path to recovery.”

~ Rosemarie Pilkington, PhD, editor of Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflection, 2 vols. (Anomalist Books, 2013)

“When dealing with the concept of Psi and the usage dealt with in this work it is of particular interest that the area of the practitioner or ‘healer’ and their attitudes towards the individual being treated/studied are so comprehensibly covered.”

~ Roland Rotherham, PhD, EdD, author of Sacred Falls (St Nectan’s Waterfall Publications, 2014)

“Though largely - as described in the foreword by Cooper and Krippner - ‘a historical document’, this book provides a fascinating and contemporary relevant account of the potential role of psychic diagnosis in psychotherapy. The original cases detailed date from the 1970s and 80s and are clearly of their time - nonetheless they provide currently relevant insight and understanding into how psychiatry and psychics might be brought together to develop therapeutically beneficial outcomes. At the original time of writing, Tanous and colleagues saw their work as ‘a small step in the march for progress’ towards a positive and collaborative future for psychics, psychotherapists and researchers. With the current growth in the field of parapsychology, Cooper and Krippner - in bringing this collection to a wider audience today - have made an additional large leap in the same direction.”

~ Sara MacKian, PhD, Open University, author of Everyday Spirituality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

“Alex Tanous was a genius at finding practical ways to apply his extensive skills to help people, and Psi in Psychotherapy is an example of one of his greatest efforts in this area. Many people who have psi experiences are looking for spiritual components to their psychological conditions, but very few professional counsellors are familiar enough with the finding of parapsychology to provide an appropriate integrative diagnosis or plan of treatment.”

~ John, G. Kruth, MS, Executive Director, Rhine Research Center.

“An unconventional, bold and probably unique approach to the psychotherapeutic process, with a psychic and a psychiatrist both involved in the diagnosis and the healing. The psychic, Alex Tanous, attempts to identify clairvoyantly the clients’ early experiences and their relationship to current problems, and his impressions are used in determining the treatment. The excellent introduction and afterword from eminent parapsychologists provide a clarifying context to evaluate this approach and understand it in today’s terms. But it is the snippets of information about the healing of what appear to be incurable diseases, as well as his personality and beliefs, that make one want to find out more about this fascinating yet little-known figure”. 

~ Zofia Weaver, PhD, author of Other Realities?: The enigma of Franek Kluski’s mediumship

Key words: transpersonal psychology, alternative healing, psychic healing, out of body experience (obe), parapsychology, psychic phenomena, psychotherapy and psi.

About the author

Alex Tanous, D.D. (1926–1990), came from Portland, Maine, and was an international teacher of philosophy, well-being, and parapsychology. He was the author of several books, including: Beyond Coincidence, Is Your Child Psychic?, and Dreams, Symbols and Psychic Power. He spent many years working with groups and families investigating psychic phenomena, including his own abilities, through the American Society for Psychical Research. He held five degrees, including a bachelor of arts in theology, three masters degrees in theology, philosophy, and education, and a doctorate in theology (doctorate in divinity). He guest-lectured all over the world, and regularly in the colleges and universities of New York. His most frequent lecturing post was at the University of Southern Maine, where he had given lectures on healing, dreams, and had established the first parapsychology course within the USA to be taught with credit.

Sample chapter


Survival Fears Before Birth

Tom is a fifty-one year old robust Caucasian husband and father of two children who has been experiencing acute depression for the past few weeks. He has a blood pressure problem, which flares up periodically under stress. Tom smokes three packs of cigarettes per day and has difficulty refusing after dinner desserts. Also, he fears heights, being alone and being surrounded.

During the middle of December, 1981, Tom’s sister, Marsha underwent open-heart surgery, which was unsuccessful. She never regained consciousness following the surgery. Since her death, Tom has found himself crying and calling in sick at work. Three days before Tom made contact with Dr. Schwinge, he became depressed when he heard that an attempt was made on the life of a political leader in a South American country. The politician had been visiting a small village at the time. Tom’s nephews lived in that village and were actively aligned with the politician. The newsperson on TV reported that there were casualties. Tom assumed that his nephews were wounded or killed. He telephoned and received information that they were unharmed and in good health; however, this information did not ease his emotional problems. In fact, Tom refused to go to work and reported that he had a tingling urination frequency. Tom was referred, by his minister, to Dr. Schwinge. He told his pastor that he had a history of crying at happy occasions like weddings, and in restaurants and closed environments.

Family History

Tom’s parents are deceased. They passed along a Pennsylvania Dutch formula of hard work and perseverance to equal success. He is the father of five children. Two sisters are deceased. He has a younger brother and sister who live on the East Coast.

Following his graduation from high school, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His test scores provided him with an opportunity to attend Officer’s Training school. He received his commission and served with the Pacific fleet for four years. Shortly before his discharge, he met Amy, who would later become his wife.

Tom and Amy have been married for thirty-two years. They have two children, Robert and John. Robert is a skilled craftsman. John is a college freshman.

For the past twenty-five years, Tom has been employed by a large manufacturing firm. His promotions have been frequent. Currently he holds a senior executive level position. This position, in his words, is filled with high stress.

Evaluation Phase

Within the first three sessions in therapy, Tom found himself calling in sick at work more frequently and having crying spells. He found himself crying at weddings. When he looked around in the reception hall, he spotted a group of senior couples seated at various tables. He began to remember experiences that he had with his parents. He remembered wanting his mother’s attention while she was cooking and cleaning their home. Most especially, he remembered his attempt to persuade his mother, a schoolteacher, to stay home and skip school.

Tom entered this session in a low mood. He stated that he had been thinking about his sister these past few days. Clara and Ray had a stable marriage in his view. He enjoyed their company. Since Clara’s death, Tom is afraid to call Ray because he is sure that he will break down and cry. He concludes that his crying will upset everyone.

He continued to mourn his sister Clara’s death. Towards the latter half of the session, Tom brought up the topic of death. Shortly after the death of his mother, Tom felt his mother’s presence on two distinct occasions. The strongest impression he had was while playing the organ in the family living room. The sense of her presence was so great that Tom stopped playing the organ and turned around, half expecting to see her. On the other occasion, he did not feel she was physically present, but that she was present in some way.

Psychic Evaluation

As Tom entered the next phase of therapy, he had to roll up his sleeves and grapple with the thorny aspect of his psychic roots.

In the beginning of the fourth session, Tom was introduced to Dr. Tanous by Dr. Schwinge. After the greetings were ex-changed, Dr. Schwinge asked Dr. Tanous to make a psychic diagnosis of Tom’s condition. Dr. Tanous turned his energy to Tom’s genetic memory area. Before Dr. Tanous identified three early traumatic experiences in Tom’s life, he assured him that what he was about to tell him would be useful in his recovery from his depression and fears. Alex interpreted these experiences as centrally connected to Tom’s present condition. The first was Tom’s dilemma prior to birth. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck and he had concern for his survival outside the womb.

The second genetic memory centered on Tom’s birth. Tom was born at home. The local physician was not able to make a visit to the home prior to Tom’s birth. Providentially, Tom’s father had been present at the birth and removed the umbilical cord from Tom’s neck. This information had been substantiated later by the client’s aunt.

The third genetic memory focused on Tom’s contact with a corpse. When Tom was two years old, his father took him to a funeral home. As he and his father approached the coffin, Tom suddenly found himself being lifted up in his father’s arms. Then his father suspended him over the corpse in the coffin. Tom was frightened and upset but did not cry.

During the last few moments of the interview, Tom indicated an interest in Dr. Tanous’ psychic interpretation of his early experiences. Tom asked him how could he possibly know all the deaths in his past life. Dr. Tanous gave a very brief discussion on how his abilities were tested at the ASPR and the results of these experiments.

The efforts of a psychiatrist and psychic are directed to bring these memories to the client’s awareness in order to give him/her the opportunity to enhance their autonomy and freedom from fear.

These memories are not necessarily limited to experiences outside the womb. Clients carry memories of the womb experience. They also carry memories of parents’, grandparents’, or ancestors’ fears and unresolved problems. Just as our parents and grandparents pass on their genetic strengths as unusual abilities and their weakness as the potential of genetic diseases, they also pass on an inheritance of their experiences in the genetic memory.

At the end of the evaluation period Tom agreed to pursue the following goals:

- Comply with medical regimen to lift his depression.
- Reduce cigarette intake by ½ pack a day.
- Reduce blood pressure by using self-hypnotic techniques.
- Return to normal weekly work schedule.
- Resolve incomplete mourning for family members.

Dr. Schwinge had prescribed medication to help relieve the depressive. There was a hiatus between therapy sessions during the Christmas holidays. Tom regressed somewhat. He felt his sister’s loss most acutely. Her birthday and wedding anniversary occurred during the holidays. Tom had started to experience headaches, dizziness, and his blood pressure climbed. In order to bring his blood pressure under control, his physician prescribed additional medication. Dr. Schwinge helped Tom to relax and recall his childhood. Tom was allowed to choose a happy age. He chose five years of age. In the trance state, he described a farmhouse with high ceilings and cold floors. His mother prepared delicious meals and baked pies and cakes quite frequently. His brothers and sisters would chase him around. He received a lot of cuddling from his mother.

Dr. Schwinge introduced the scene of a boy skipping a rock across a lake. She asked Tom if he thought it were a peaceful scene. He replied that it was. Suddenly tears began to form at corners of his eyelids. He expressed apprehension about his problems as a child and being a mature man and controlling himself.

Middle Phase

Tom reported that the prescribed medication was of some benefit; however, his work attendance remained spotty. Dr. Schwinge set up a series of suggestions designed to help Tom to disrupt his depressing thoughts. She gave Tom various homework assignments—such as counting his negative thoughts, identifying the consequences of his thought—and looking at some of the assumptions proved helpful to Tom. It gave him an opportunity to experience a modicum of control over his negative thoughts.

He made a valiant effort to reduce his cigarette consumption and succeeded in limiting his habit to fewer than ten cigarettes a day. Tom was very proud of this accomplishment.

The office work was more difficult for Tom in this phase of therapy. A six-week business slump had his co-workers on edge and in each other’s hair. His boss made increased demands upon Tom. His blood pressure spiked several times. Tom called in sick a number of times. Memories of his departed family members became more prominent in his private reflections.

Dr. Schwinge guided Tom into the area of grief. She encouraged Tom to express these painful feelings of loss, which had attached themselves to memories of his family. These painful memories, she said, would heal in time and when the healing is complete Tom would have the courage to reinvest emotionally in others.

In one particular session the psychiatrist used an empty chair as a prop in order to get Tom in touch with unspoken feelings about not being able to say goodbye to Clara. Tom was embarrassed to admit that he felt angry that his sister had left him. The doctor asked him to imagine Clara present in the empty chair. What would you say to her? The question had a calming effect. Tom was able to let out a stream of associations about his sister, the good times in childhood, the silly fights, missed opportunities to be closer, and the guilt about how things could have been better. This was the first time that Tom had opened up about the feelings he had for his sister. Dr. Schwinge outlined the various phases in the grief process. She stated that in order for the healing of grief to be complete, one needs to establish new relationships and affirm the goodness of life. Tom was instructed to continue to be loyal to his departed family members by using the good memories of them to share hope with others that it is possible to live and feel good about life and people again.

Dr. Schwinge began to make timed interpretations regarding the psychic insights into the pre-birth experience and early childhood experiences and Tom’s current conflicts. Dr. Tanous made the interpretation that Tom has over-emphasized the aspects of uncertainty regarding survival after birth. This has been a prevailing theme in his dealing with adverse situations. Dr. Schwinge stated that it is curious that Tom does not view his father’s removal of the umbilical cord as a providential call to life. Tom, a practicing Christian, gave intellectual assent to the existence of a hereafter, but actively maintained an ambivalence when the subject was introduced in social gatherings. He was encouraged to discuss his views on the hereafter, as well as his experiences of God in his life, with the local pastor.

At the beginning of each session Tom was instructed to give a weekly account of positive feelings associated with assertive statements and completed task. The psychiatrist focused on developing interventions, which would help him to follow through with workable tasks in order to achieve reachable goals. He was able to re-interpret his boss’ angry, caustic and guilt-inducing remarks as the boss’ way of attempting to handle what was going on inside himself. The boss had been dubbed, “the walking volcano”, by the co-workers. These interventions proved helpful. No longer did Tom hold himself responsible for his boss’ problems.

Final Evaluation

Tom had been able to work through much of his active grieving over family members. He showed hopeful signs by picking up a renewed interest in his wife and children. His smoking habit is being held to five cigarettes per day. At his place of employment, Tom is working a full schedule of hours and reports the stress level is tolerable. He has more confidence in living and can say “no” to his anxiety more effectively. The noxious effects of the genetic and childhood memories have been somewhat neutralized. Whenever Tom is asked to assume a supine position and close his eyes in the dentist chair, he has a heightened sense of being in an open casket; however, he has had very good success in not escalating his anxiety to the point of incapacity during the experience. The anti-depressant medication has been discontinued. Currently he is still being maintained on blood pressure medication.

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published March 2019
206 pages
Size: 229 x 152 mm
ISBN 978-1-78677-087-5
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