family & peer support

When a loved one is in an extreme state of consciousness it can be scary.

If you don’t understand what experience they are having — you may wonder if they are “out of touch with reality”. That’s conventionally thought of as a symptom of psychosis, and/or severe mental disorder.   

When that person is unable to go to work or attend school, and isn’t up for regular household or child-caring tasks — it can be very disruptive and  inconvenient, too.

What can you do?

1. Rule out biological causes.

Make sure your loved one is not suffering from a biological issue, like a brain tumor. It’s very important to have the person get a physical check-up with a qualified medical doctor.

2. Keep them safe.

If your loved one is responding to any impulses to hurt themselves or others — be sure that they are in a safe place so they will not act on these impulses. Hospitalization may be necessary.

3. Help them sleep.

If the person is not getting adequate rest, i.e. not sleeping for days on end, they may need a pill to help them sleep. A local health food store can supply you with gentle ways to encourage sleep, e.g. teas or homeopathic remedies. If these are inadequate, ask your trusted healthcare provider to supply your loved one with a medication to induce sleep and be sure to follow the directions carefully.

4. Provide good nutrition.

If the person is not eating healthy foods or drinking water to sustain themselves, they may need extra care — to encourage these life sustaining activities.

Essential for Making Wise Decisions

Ideally, friends and family will educate themselves about spiritual emergency and psychosis so that a diagnosis of severe mental illness is not made nor is the person hospitalized when it is not appropriate. Either one of these can lead to severe and lasting trauma for the individual.  

That said, it is possible that your loved one may be experiencing blissful spiritual experiences and then psychological turmoil. At some point the disturbing experiences need to be worked with — but hospitalization and primarily psychiatric medication are usually not the ideal place for this as they provide limited options for therapy.

IMHU offers two free presentations
to quickly educate yourself

Spiritual Emergency:
What is it?

A 15-minute video overview. When someone is disoriented by powerful spiritual experiences and is thrust into personal transformation--it can create a crisis. You may call it an evolutionary crisis as it leads to higher functioning when well managed.

psychosis: What is it?

A 30-minute mini course that compares conventional and more current ideas on extreme states and best care for someone in an extreme state. Includes a quiz to identify psychosis.

IMHU support for you or your loved one

If your loved one is at home and wants to share with others to help with the integration of their experiences, contact a certified “Spiritual Emergence Coach®” to participate in a support group or receive personal coaching or counseling from someone qualified to help.

In An Emergency

Suicide Prevention Services

Dial 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

Trans Lifeline is at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada)

The Trevor Project is at 866-488-7386

If You'd Like to Talk to a Peer contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the US, click here for a link to crisis centers around the world. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741

NOTE:  Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.

Respite Houses & Residential Care

If your loved one is not a threat to themselves or others but needs some “time out” — with someone watching to see they are OK and providing companionship — there are good options. Some are community-based, state sponsored, and inexpensive. Others are fee-based and may or may not take health insurance.

IMHU offers two presentations which can quickly orient you to these options and give you contact info

The Power of Peers in Recovery and Spiritual Emergence

A one hour presentation

Residential Treatment and Collaborative Care

A one hour mini-course

Going Deeper

Sign up now for our flagship courses if you or your loved one want to learn in more depth about Spiritual Emergency, including the 12 categories of experience, what a person in the process might experience, effective tools for managing the phenomena, what catalyzes the experiences, and how long they last.


How to Effectively Support Someone in Spiritual Emergency

Online: Includes 5 Webinars and Live Q&A

How to Differentiate Spiritual Crisis and Pathology

A 75-minute presentation


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