Letter from a Psychologist Colleague about TM and Transcendence
I really wanted to show you all a letter I received from a psychologist colleague of mine, Dr. Ellen Dye.
A letter from Dr. Ellen Dye~
I think all psychologists need to read the book Transcendence by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, the psychiatrist who did the groundbreaking work on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and wrote the book Winter Blues. Transcendence discusses the extensive body of peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of transcendental meditation (TM) for treating a variety of both psychological and medical conditions as well as discussing the life-enhancing aspects of this process.
After talking with Norman about a year ago, while he was still writing the book, I was horrified by my complete ignorance on this topic despite the fact that over 600 studies have documented the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation. There is also copious clinical experience suggesting the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, PTSD, anger problems, emotional dysregulation, executive function problems, and school violence. There are also studies showing that Transcendental Meditation decreases blood pressure, insulin resistance, and atherosclerosis. Most amazingly from a financial standpoint, it also reduces HEALTH CARE UTILIZATION. While some conditions have better researched than others, Transcendence is clear about this & suggests directions for future research.
Frankly, the research findings are so strong that it would almost be unethical for any psychologist or physician not to be aware of the information in this book. I personally have been referring clients for Transcendental Meditation since last year. I am seeing profound results, particularly with treatment-resistant clients with whom I have worked for many years. I have referred many of the clients for other treatments – e.g., medication, anger management classes, EMDR, behavior therapy – and some of them have received minimal help from this techniques. I’m sure some clients will not respond as well, but so far everyone is reporting at least some positive benefit.
Studies show that TM affects different areas of the brain than mindfulness meditation, and the body of research on TM is much stronger. This does not mean that TM is necessarily more effective than mindfulness, but they clearly affect the brain differently & one may be more effective for some conditions than others. One advantage of TM is that it is easy & people generally enjoy doing it. So far, all of my clients continue to do TM regularly, which is an amazing rate for habit adoption. I’m sure they won’t all continue indefinitely, but it’s interesting how easily many of them have taken to it.
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Wishing you Light and Transcendence,