Spontaneous, Facilitated, Assisted, and Requested After-Death Communication Experiences and their Impact on Grief
Experiences of after-death communication are normal, common, and usually healthy. They often go unreported by experiencers for fear of being judged, ridiculed, and/or thought to be mentally ill especially by doctors, therapists, and clergy. Four main categories of after-death communication experiences (ADCs) exist: spontaneous, facilitated, assisted, and requested. Spontaneous ADCs occur unexpectedly and uninvited. Facilitated ADCs occur during a specific established protocol and with the direction of a trained facilitator. Assisted ADCs involve receiving messages from the deceased through a psychic medium who directly experiences the communication and shares the messages received with the living. The term requested ADCs is proposed here to refer to experiences that occur as the result of the experiencer engaging in specific practices (other than facilitated or assisted experiences), employing technological or other physical apparatuses, using psychoactive substances, inviting the deceased to communicate, or simply intending that the experience occur. Most published research has examined the positive effects of spontaneous or facilitated ADCs on grief. Research examining the effects on grief of assisted ADCs is limited but trends toward a positive response. Reports on the effects of requested ADCs on grief are for the most part lacking and several research directions are open for further exploration. Counselors, healthcare providers, caregivers, and others who regularly interact with the grieving may benefit from better understanding these experiences but little to no formal training exists and they must independently seek out relevant materials. Ideally, this article will serve as one of those sources.