Rhea A. White and Exceptional Human Experiences
Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.
Rhea was interested in the study of what she called Exceptional Human Experiences (EHEs) (e.g., White, 1990, 1997). These experiences included such psychic phenomena as extrasensory perception and psychokinesis, but also many other experiences among them mystical experiences, encounter experiences (aliens, angels, other apparitions), death-related experiences (near-death experiences, deathbed visions), and more usual experiences such as optimal sport performance, nostalgia, and falling in love.
In her view exceptional experiences had transformative power: “I propose that
provide the insight and the dynamics to move human from a lesser to a more consciously evolved state that expands human awareness of the nature of life
[They] make us aware of our oneness with all things
” (White, 1997, pp. 8889).
The ocurrence of EHEs could affect people in many ways: “A sense of process can be conferred by EHEs
indicating a graduated, evolving, evolutionary internally reiterative series of stages
. This eventually results in the sense that one is involved in an ongoing process that is happening both within and without and that is moving the experiencer in the direction of actualizing his or her human potential” (White & Brown, 2002, p. 96). The process, which Rhea articulated together with Suzanne Brown, has been discussed in detail by the later (Brown, 2000).
Brown, S. V. (2000). The Exceptional Human Experience Process: A Preliminary Model with Exploratory Map. International Journal of Parapsychology, 11, 69111. Online at: http://www.jrisystems.com/zips/SuZpaper-v11n1bro.pdf
White, R. A. (1990). An Experience-Centered Approach to Parapsychology. Exceptional Human Experience, 8, 736.
White, R. A. (1997). Dissociation, Narrative, and Exceptional Human Experience. In S. Krippner & S. Powers (Eds.), Broken Images, Broken Selves: Dissociative
Narratives in Clinical Practice (pp. 88121). Washington, DC: Brunner-Mazel.
White, R. A., & Brown, S. (2002). Dictionary of EHE-Related Terms: An Experiencer’s Guide. Exceptional Human Experience, 17, 9399.