Peer Support

East Bay San Francisco area of California

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Deborah Merchant, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist in training


I have had numerous spiritual emergence events throughout my life, such as paranormal experiences, learning to live as a highly sensitive and empathic person, and many experiences shaping a drive to engage with the evolution of conscious awareness/psychic opening. I’ve also had a few spiritual emergencies, mostly from traumatic stresses activating abrupt changes in worldview, identity, or an expansion of conscious awareness. Because of events shaping my personal and professional life, these are the areas in which I’m most prepared to support others in integrating their experiences into a new sense of self and expanded capacity in life. Another area of spiritual emergence I am beginning to investigate is how to use existing structures or systems of daily life to the advantage of an emerging person, rather than being trapped by unworkable ways of living. As a psychologist, helping to influence mainstream psychology/psychiatry to be much more user friendly to spiritual emerging people in Western society is an obvious effort. Additionally, I am continuing to investigate how each of us can support changing various systems and structures of daily living to be much more life-enhancing.

Until I become a licensed psychologist, I plan to provide short, exploratory, educational workshops and blog posts regarding many dimensions of spiritual emergence. There is so much to explore regarding changes activated by a spiritual/religious expansion, support through paranormal experiences, ordinary life events which can have dramatic repercussions, and many other ways identity and consciousness expands. I plan to also approach appropriate members of my church community to offer spiritual emergence groups to anyone there, including the many unhoused community members who are served through the church programs. Additionally, I plan to increase my participation with NAMI to help decrease stigma and offer support group options for those who participate with that organization. This effort could possibly expand to offerings for support within many alternative organizations. These are my initial ideas for serving others in using their emergence experiences to enhance and advance their lives. Other ideas and opportunities will rise as I continue to study, develop, and participate with other SE coaches in this network.

My website will be complete and active soon:
The core of my personal and professional values are that every human being is fundamentally and originally whole and healthy. Human beings are not broken trying to become whole. The journey of life obviously presents a wide variety of challenges, including some pretty deep ones, and far too many of them in Western societies. However, I regard these individual and collective issues to be ‘problems in living’, as the psychiatrist Thomas Szasz described. These ideas require a great deal of unpacking and conversation to shift the current social norms and Western mainstream ideas regarding physical, mental and spiritual health. I will be contributing to the shift in consciousness in the field of psychology through a variety of ways over my career. In terms of immediate support, I am starting as described earlier: through blogs, conversations, other writings, support groups, and following the guidance of Spirit to act on other opportunities that rise.

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Academic Qualifications

  • I have a PsyD from Saybrook University in CA.

Other Relevant Training

  • I continue to study modalities for supporting people in restoring from traumatic stress, how to use nutrition and exercise to mediate psychological distress/mental illness/problems in living, and means of supporting evolving consciousness but I do not have certifications in any of these areas yet.

Offering 1-1 support

Not at this time

Offering support groups

For the immediate future, I plan to provide workshops via zoom and support groups via zoom. Once an arrangement is made with my church, I will offer support groups in person there.


At this time, I would make fees for support groups be ‘suggested donation’ most likely. If there is a possibility of serving unhoused members of my church community, or others in a disadvantaged situation, there would probably be no fee. This may change depending on circumstances and group populations. I will do my best to keep the Directory updated.

Support group plan...

See support group schedule for updates.

“Please contact me via my email if you'd like to connect for a complimentary 15-20-minute phone consultation, to see if we're the right fit!”

Other Offerings at IMHU

Info on Spiritual Emergence Coach® Training

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