One of the great challenges in Western society is the high prevalence of mental health problems. This has made me look at different cultures and traditions, and how what we might label psychotherapeutic practices, can often be found embedded in daily, communal life. Religions around the world provide such services that can work as aids for increasing an individuals insight. In secular cultures however, any systematic help dealing with personal issues, mood 'problems' or stress is often restricted to severe cases, and consequently stigmatised.
This training of introspection or insight, as pertaining to the deliberate examination of the contents of one's subjective experiences, is as 'real' as any other mental training, like arithmetic or learning a new language. In my research, I would like to find out how this state of consciousness differs from others, and how our subjective experiences can inform research.
My PhD is supported through an ESRC DTC studentship and I have been awarded the 2016 Varela Award from the Mind and Life Institute.