Near-Death Experiences: Implications for Clinical Practice
4 CE Credits
Near-Death Experience (NDE) represents an altered state of consciousness that has been linked to several neurochemical/neuroanatomic models, including theories that suggest anoxia, hypoxia, ketamine, or increased endorphins are released in a dying brain. Although NDEs are increasingly being reported in critical care settings, most healthcare professionals lack a sufficient knowledge base and associated clinical skills regarding this phenomenon. This course synthesizes 33 years of evidence-based research on NDEs, including its frequency, prevalence, short-term and long-term effects, assessment strategies,
DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for normative spiritual/transpersonal experiences, and associated barriers to and implications for treatment in a clinical setting. Specifically, the key characteristics reported by those experiencing NDEs are reviewed, with sensitivity to cross-cultural comparisons of characteristics reported by Western and non-Western accounts.
Current diagnostic criteria and various biopsychosocial assessments for NDEs are provided; each with a discussion of relevant religious, spiritual, and/or transpersonal issues. Lastly, clinical implications for treatment are addressed along with important barriers to treatment that can occur when co-morbid Axis I or Axis II DSM-IV-TR disorders exist.
After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
- Define a near death experience (NDE) including its prevalence and cross-cultural comparisons.
- Identify 7 leading causal theories along with the strengths and weaknesses of each model.
- Describe at least 6 common short- and long-term effects associated with NDEs.
- Improve diagnostic accuracy by implementing the use of the DSM-IV V-Code 62.89 and 2 assessment measures to assist with differential diagnosis.
- Identify at least 5 therapeutic strategies applicable to the NDE population.