Altered States of Consciousness, the Human Skin, and Skin Disorders: Spiritual and Religious Perspectives

Presented by Philip D. Shenefelt, M.D.

Recorded on Friday, February 9, 2024

Access provided upon registration on “My Courses page 

This presentation will explore the emotional, spiritual, and religious dimensions of skin and skin disorders since ancient times. The presentation draws on historical, anthropological, and medical perspectives, and Shenefelt’s exhaustive review of the published research (Shenefelt, 2014). The presentation prepares clinicians to deal with spiritual or religious issues that emerge in clinical hypnosis and healthcare sessions. Shenefelt’s conclusion is that “sometimes even today healing is hindered until the spiritual aspect is adequately addressed” (2014, p. 210).

The presenter will highlight the universal psychological significance of human skin. The skin is a major sense organ for touch, pain, itch, heat, cold, pressure, and vibration. The skin is also an expressive organ, expressing emotions detectable by others through pallor, coldness, “goose bumps,” redness, warmth, or sweating. Further, human beings throughout history have utilized the skin and decorations on the skin for emotional, cultural, and spiritual expression. This includes skin coverings, scalp and beard hair cutting, shaving, and styling, skin and nail and hair coloring and decorating, tattooing, and intentional scarring of the skin. The presenter will highlight how, historically, spiritual experiences and experiences of altered states have impacted on how humans have chosen to modify the appearance of their skin.

Access provided upon registration on “My Courses page 

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 1.5 CEs for Psychologists, 1.5 IL CEUS for Counselors and Social Workers, or 1.5 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs.