Joanic Masson

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A study was conducted on Western adults who participated in a group undergoing initiation into therapeutic shamanism. It investigated how shamanic work could be a factor triggering changes in persons who never had been previously immersed in such a tradition. Five groups, each composed of six people for a total of 30 participants, met eight times over a period of four months. Analyzing questions asked of the 27 who completed the program resulted in the following identified themes: experiences of the group, trust in the shamanic practitioner, raised awareness of their feeling states, experiences of the shamanic journeys, understanding of the origin of personal difficulties, solutions discovered to improve one’s life, identification of striking moments, belief in the existence of “spirits,” and other relevant changes like disappearance of allergies, improved self-confidence, more assertiveness, a desire to live, optimism, the capacity to live in the present moment and to make choices. The structural role of ritual and trance in this type of program is highlighted, including discussion about implications of the changes reported.