Psychology Research Seminar on Wednesday 11th December
Posted by Simone Apel
Submitted by Dr Helen Clegg
The next Research Seminar, open to all UN staff and PhD/research students, is on Wednesday 11th December at 3.30pm in F43. Refreshments will be available from 3.15pm. The speaker is Dr Edith Steffen and the title for her talk is “The experience of sensing the presence of the deceased: Conceptual challenges for perceivers, researchers and practitioners”
The common experience of sensing the presence of the deceased, while mostly reported by perceivers as positive and beneficial, has tended to be made sense of within Western bereavement scholarship and psychology in general in terms of hallucinatory or illusory phenomena, something that could be seen as contradicting the sense of veridicality that is an essential feature of the experience as reported by perceivers. While some recent theoretical developments in bereavement research have taken a more positive view of such experiences, the mainstream agenda of pathologising or minimising sense of presence continues on. Research by the presenter has shown that perceivers mostly find the experience meaningful but may struggle to talk about it with others, possibly due to a lack of available socially sanctioned conceptual frameworks within which the phenomenon can be framed in accepted ways that are consistent with how the person has perceived and made sense of the experience. Drawing on the relevant extant literature as well as the presenter’s own research, this talk will briefly present an historical overview of research engagement with sense of presence before identifying and clarifying the key challenges and implications involved in conceptualising sense of presence phenomena. It identifies new lines of enquiry and presents recommendations for both researchers and practitioners.
Dr Edith Steffen CPsychol is a Registered Counselling Psychologist and currently works part-time in the NHS and part-time at the University of Surrey as a Research Fellow. She also works in various other academic roles including as an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, as a Research Supervisor at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling and as an Associate Editor of Counselling Psychology Review. In February 2014 she will take up a position as a Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at the University of East London.