From Personal Crisis toPersonal Transformation

Author: Emma Bragdon, PhD.

First published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1990.  New edition, 2013 for  softcover & ebook 

If you have felt disoriented by intense spiritual experiences this book will help you understand where you are and where you may be heading. It is a map of the journey of spiritual awakening written by a psychologist who knows the territory well. Reading it may make the difference between heading off to the hospital to get drugs to stop the symptoms or staying home and knowing you are OK.

A feast of revealing narratives expose the amazing story of how people deal with critical points in personal transformation, also known as spiritual emergency. With the increase of interest in yoga, psychedelics, meditation,  and recovery from addiction there is renewed interest in care that is not based on medication as much as empathy and compassionate, peer companionship.

This book can help anyone who doesn’t have a language to understand intense inner experiences and confuses them with mental illness.  Just because you have had a conversation with your spirit guide, or talked to the spirit of someone who has passed away doesn’t mean you are having a breakdown. It could mean you are having a breakthrough to a higher level of functioning. 

  When a person gets the right kind of support in the emergency the positive resolution follows: they typically are more intuitive, more telepathic, more compassionate, and more wanting to be of assistance to others on the path of evolution.

Readers will learn how to recognize and care for someone in spiritual emergency–without confusing their disorientation with “going crazy” and thinking they need to be medicated.  It can be confusing–especially because few healthcare providers, psychologists, and psychiatrists were trained to recognize spiritual emergency and don’t know how to offer the most effective kind of support.

Spiritual Emergence Coach

Click HERE to see IMHU’s online course on the topic: “How to Effectively Support Someone in Spiritual Emergency”.  We encourage all healthcare providers to get this information to enable them to offer the right kind of assistance to those in spiritual emergency.



The Call of Spiritual Emergency, was one of the original texts on the subject of Spiritual Emergency. Eloquently written, the new 2013 edition brings to the reader a series of remarkable, real life examples of how these difficult spiritual crises can manifest in many different aspects of our lives, with a wide range of intensity.

After sharing her story, Emma goes on to tell the stories of many others, in an easy to read, compassionate way. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her book is that, while the psychological theory is there, it is touched on lightly, always referring back to colorful narratives to stress her point. The stories she tells leave you feeling as if you are right there with the person going through what is often a fascinating, harrowing, deeply personal experience. Sometimes stories come from people she has met in her everyday life. Other times they come from famous mystics of the past, like St. Teresa of Avila, who underwent very difficult spiritual processes in her life.

Emphasizing how spiritual emergencies can arise in various aspects of our lives, Emma shares stories of spiritual emergencies happening in athletics, childbirth, physical illness, near-death experiences, self-help workshops… even sex!

Without a doubt, anyone who reads this book from cover to cover will rethink their old ideas regarding what is, and is not, a spiritual experience and how to negotiate the disorientation that can come from such experiences.  Highly Recommended!  —Sean Blackwell, author of, Am I Bipolar or Waking Up?

Dr. Bragdon has given a voice to experiencers such as myself and has validated those experiences as real and meaningful. No longer marginalized and considered to be psyco-somatic illusions. “This is an important book which both timely and necessary as we are witness to this shift in consciousness.–Jonathan Vogel, Addictions Counselor

An excellent book on this psychological phenomenon, very thorough & detailed. Probably one of the easiest books on the subject that I have read in plain English without losing the detail. It describes the psychology very well, naturally it follows the Christina & Stanislav Grof model, having helped with people going through it myself it presents sound advice and in depth guidance. Highly recommended.–Reader from the UK

Good introduction to the spiritual emergence process for coaches and therapists looking to expand their practice to included psycho-spritual crisis and transpersonal perspectives.- John Stork from Canada

Integrative Mental Health University is a unique training ground for healthcare providers as well as life-experiencers wanting to understand spiritual emergency.  You can find free courses to define the subject, academics thoughtfully describing it, and courses to build skills in effectively supporting people wanting to awaken to higher states of consciousness.  Click HERE for a look at all our courses and presentations.