Ontological Orientation as a Mediator of Perceptual Change

Abstract

Self-other dualism results in a view of the self as continually under threat. A foreboding of fear, anxiety, depression, sorrow, and ultimately panic are likely outcomes. Belief withdrawal, particularly relinquishment of self-other dualism, has however been found to mitigate these outcomes. This article reports on a study examining the effectiveness of belief withdrawal attained through engagement with A Course in Miracles (ACIM), as devised by Dr Helen Schucman, a Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’'s College of Physicians and Surgeons. One-on-one interviews were conducted with thirty-three participants (sourced through ACIM Meetup groups) who had completed the ACIM self-study program of 365 workbook lessons aimed at restoring mental health through the discontinuation of dualistic perception. The data indicates self-other belief relinquishment may be achieved through ACIM facilitating significant attitudinal and behavioural change. ACIM’s ontological orientation was found to play a significant role in facilitating these changes.

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Correspondence to Shane Watts.

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The authors declare that this research was not sponsored by any parties associated with ACIM and did not provide any financial gain or privilege to those involved. The principal author has been an ACIM student for over 20 years, however at no point was the principal author’s views or his personal experience with the programme offered during data collection. To ensure research integrity participation was voluntary and no persons were solicited to volunteer.

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Watts, S., Dix, M., Sohrabi, H. et al. Ontological Orientation as a Mediator of Perceptual Change. Int J Ment Health Addiction 19, 193–206 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00165-3

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Keywords

  • Self-other belief relinquishment
  • Mental health
  • Non-duality
  • A Course in Miracles
  • Mind training