The impact of post death communication [PDC] on bereavement : thesis completed to fulfill the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Massey University, May 2014

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Post Death Communication (i.e. perceived communication from someone who has died), has been part of the human experience since the earliest recorded history, and it is now known to be highly beneficial to almost all bereaved individuals who experience it. Despite the fact that PDC appears to be common to all cultures and is usually very welcome and very healing, it has been judged by Western society in a negative way and as a result, fear of negative judgment has meant that experients are hesitant to discuss it. Using Thematic Analysis, this study conducted a small qualitative investigation into the experience of PDC among New Zealand and North American populations. In a semi-structured interview, conducted face to face where possible, and by Skype where necessary, 14 participants aged between 52 and 80 years were asked about the nature of their PDC experience, how they felt about it, and how it impacted their bereavement. Results showed conclusively that PDC is welcome and beneficial, and that experients are wary of discussing it for fear of being judged negatively. Thematic analysis revealed a meta-theme of Affirmation – participants were unanimous in believing PDC to be beneficial. Within this meta-theme were the three themes of Comfort - PDC brings comfort to the bereaved; Continuity – PDC brings a sense of personal and relational continuation, and Growth - PDC brings a sense of personal growth and a change in values. A fourth theme arising from the analysis was Negativity. Participants expressed fear of being judged in a pejorative way for having experienced PDC. Since 2000 it has been possible to induce PDC in a clinical setting, thereby elevating what had been a serendipitous, random occurrence into a powerful therapeutic tool. The protocol of Induced PDC is practiced on five continents, yet few people in the healing professions are aware of it. In New Zealand, Induced PDC appears to be unknown. This means that grieving Kiwis are going without the therapeutic benefits of PDC. The findings of this thesis indicate spontaneous PDC as experienced by the sample is overwhelmingly beneficial, and they support the use of Induced PDC in therapeutic settings. The findings have implications for raising awareness about and the use of Induced PDC by New Zealand clinicians.
Bereavement, Psychological aspects, Spiritualism, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology::Applied psychology