Altered states of consciousness within therapeutic modalities - exploring commonalities of experience

A qualitative grounded theory study


  • David Furlong



consciousness, altered states, hypnotherapy, past-life regression, voice dialogue, soul-centred healing


Altered states of consciousness (ASC) occur when there is a deviation from normal levels of psychological functioning. They can be self-induced through meditative practices or taking psychoactive substances and therapeutically induced through processes like hypnotic induction. They are determined physiologically when brain rhythms drop from the usual rhythm of waking consciousness to the slower rhythms of meditation and dreaming sleep. ASC offers a window into the workings of the psyche. This qualitative Grounded Theory pilot study explored commonalities of ASC experience through the lens of four therapeutic modalities - Hypnotherapy, Past-life Regression, Internal Family Systems Therapy and Soul-Centred Healing. The research findings were based on twelve interviews with a trainer, practitioner, and client from these four therapeutic systems. In exploring their inner worlds through ASC, the common themes of this limited research suggested the participants’ conviction in a transpersonal element of human consciousness that transcends the physicality of their current life. These experiences were seen as part of a journey of individuation to higher states of consciousness. The multiplicity of the different inner world elements was also recognised, containing various characters sometimes known as sub-personalities, ego-states or simply “parts”.




How to Cite

Furlong, D. (2022). Altered states of consciousness within therapeutic modalities - exploring commonalities of experience: A qualitative grounded theory study. Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology, 3, 158–171.