Shaw, J. (2020). Exploring transformation: The experience of spontaneous out of body experiences in healthy people [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

An Out of Body Experience (OBE) is when an individual reports experiencing the world from a location outside of their physical body. They occur in at least 10% of the population, yet only a minority of research explores the effects outside of the pathological clinical setting. This study is an interpretive phenomenological analysis of the experiences of eight ‘healthy’ participants whom have undergone one or more spontaneous OBE’s. Semi- structured interviews were used. The analysis of transcripts resulted in the emergence of eight themes: 1) catalyst; 2) decreased fear of death; 3) increased inner peace; 4) new life view; 5) greater self awareness; 6) sense of individuality; 7) re-evaluated relationships 8) affirmed or novel spiritual beliefs. The findings revealed significant changes related to the transformation of self-identity, spiritual beliefs and life view. These suggest that the phenomena could be an Exceptional Human Experience (EHE) with potential benefits to the experiencer. Correlations between OBEs and awakening experiences, had similar effects to Near Death Experiences (NDEs). Whilst tighter boundaries around participant selection could be administered, the data acquired can be drawn upon within clinical and therapeutic settings. Further research is proposed around the depth and type of transformation to measure specific and longitudinal change.

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