Notes on the Psychology of UAP
Feelings and Mental States Associated with the UAP topic:
Hurt (including from medical conditions)
Desperate need for validation
Anticipation (sometimes called a sense of quickening or impending disclosure)
UFO religion/cult issues
Attacking others that do not agree with your hypothesis of events.
Inability to consider another hypothesis related to the phenomenon.
Discouragement or disappointment due to not having had an experience.
Potential Diagnosis associated with the UAP topic:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
Acute Stress Disorder
Trauma Disorder (Specified or Unspecified)
Dissociative Disorder (including amnesia and fugue)
Substance Related Disorders
Schizotypal Personality Disorder (AKA “eccentric” disorder)
Must be considered and ruled out: Psychotic features/disorders, Schizophrenia (which requires more intensive treatment)
Note: the diagnosis will differ by age. Some diagnoses may be co-morbid (multiple). These are only some of the possible diagnoses.
Causes for these feelings and mental states:
Distortion of world view
Being dismissed, ignored, or told to be silent on the topic
Media (including books, documentaries, movies, and the news)
Technology- EMF, Gamma, or microwave impacts on the brain, including potential brain tumors (will require examination by doctors outside of psychology).
Lack of support or existence of support
Error in remembering and lack of hard evidence to support the memory.
History of poor government handling (including threats and misinformation)
Lack of safety/ability to protect oneself and inability to control the situation
Potential Treatment and the Therapeutic Approach
The intent of therapy is to treat the symptoms, not the cause, in order to improve functioning. It is not intended to add additional stigma for experiencers. Judgment should not play a role in providing support for clients. People should not be diagnosed if they lack in functioning and are okay with their experience.
It is important to note that something is not a disorder if it does not impact functioning in a negative way. Example: Being successful and happy = no disorder. Drinking to the point you cannot work = disorder.
If a support group is gathered: privacy and confidentiality is encouraged.
Experiencers are encouraged to seek support from other experiencers and therapists in a private setting (not skeptics in a public setting). It is encouraged that they do not invite attacks. This does not mean they cannot share their photos, etc. if they feel they are stable. But support should be in place. One might encourage them to practice handling questions and potential “attacks” on social media ahead of time. Coaching about handling the public and others in your life regarding the phenomenon.
Possible types of therapy and methods: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Trauma informed and specific interventions, using coaching tools, using apps, and pre-planning.
Potential Solutions for Public Messaging and Preparing the Public for Disclosure
Use historical precedents for discoveries.
Consider how lack of protocols impacted the world with COVID (learn from the experience)
Wider acknowledgement of parapsychology (including previous studies).
Remember, “unidentified means unidentified” (until proof says otherwise). This language sidesteps a lot of controversy.
For context, use examples that are understood by all when speaking about the phenomenon: including Déjà vu, precognitive dreams, etc.
Recognize cultural variations regarding the phenomenon. Examples: Skinwalkers and Star People.
Promote normalizing the topic. Bring the topic out of the ufology-bubble.
Encourage more honesty and transparency from the government.
Encourage the scientific community to continue providing data from prior and future UAP research and studies.
Consider prior disclosures and how they impacted society.
Encourage open discussions without ridicule.
Encourage media to discontinue stigma of the topic (including “tin foil hat” and “little green men” comments and minimizing).
Encourage speakers to discontinue using alarming or confusing language, examples: “alien,” “zoo,” “threat,” “density,” “food chain,” “reptilian,” etc. Consider more open language like “others” and “objects.” Use language that can be understood by all if you want the subject to be more widely understood. Use clear messaging.
Encourage use of “in my opinion,” “allegedly,” or “in my personal view,” during discourse about “god” or any hypothesis related to occupants. It is recommended that theories about God and religion are left out of the conversation as much as possible as beliefs vary widely. Some think their beliefs conflict with UFOs and others do not. Some do not believe in God at all. Some believe in many. Use caution with this topic. For instance, it is not helpful to suggest that occupants are like God.
Use fact-based presentations and information whenever possible.
Increase education of the public regarding sensory issues related to the phenomenon (and the phenomenon in general).
Utilize polls to monitor public opinions.
Continue to utilize slow disclosure to improve desensitization to the materials (as much as possible). Perhaps at a 2-week rate. Slower is not necessary at this point… it’s been over 70 years.
Prepare plans for treatment ahead of time due to potential disclosures outside of government control (including leaks, etc.).
Reconsider “superior intelligence” messaging about inhabitants. Superiority in tech does not imply “superior species” altogether.
In mental health and education (schools): Encourage people to be more introspective regarding the truth of their reality- Knowing their physiology, thoughts, feelings, behaviors. Teach the basics first and encourage logical thinking as a whole.
Ask people “what would you do if” questions to help prepare them. Tools can also be used from mental health professionals.
Issues Related to the Use of Hypnotherapy.
Leading during the session must be avoided.
Unlicensed hypnotherapists are not okay. Look for reviews, successes, proven protocols, and so forth.
Lack of support after hypnotherapy session (to process) is problematic.
Revealing whatever your mind was trying to protect you from can be damaging. Do not expect otherwise. Limit expectations regarding the session as a whole. Note: it can also be VERY expensive.
May call the accuracy of your memory into question. Consider who you need to prove your experience to.
Issues Related to Past Use of “Mass Hysteria” AKA Mass Anxiety Hysteria or Mass Motor Hysteria or Mass Psychogenic Illness or Mass Sociogenic Disease. Sweden reports a “resignation syndrome.” DSM-5 now calls it “Somatic Symptom Disorder.”
Mislabeling, misunderstanding, and misuse of this term has held disclosure back for decades. Example: Including cases that are not related to Mass hysteria within a list of cases that are. Example: The Ariel School is listed in the “Episodes of Mass Hysteria in African Schools: A Study of Literature” on the NIH website (originally from Medical Association of Malawi) with no explanation as how it relates.
Defined as “collective illusions of threats” as a “result of rumors and fear.” – Journal of Practical Nursing and Mental Health.
Also used to describe “spontaneous manifestation or production of chemicals in the body… by more than one person” and linked to “pre-existing tensions”- British Journal of Psychiatry. This is contradicted by Bartholomew and Wessely’s study which states “there is no particular predisposition to mass sociogenic illness and it is a behavioral reaction that anyone can show”- British Journal of Psychiatry
Per John Waller in the Psychologist 2009: Allegedly diminishes when not given credence by authorities (UAP cases have endured lack of credence for years)
People cannot even decide if it can be diagnosed due to its use to cover uncertain physical evidence. “it precludes the notion that a organic factor may have been overlooked”- Mass Psychogenic Illness: A Social Psychological Analysis 1982. By Jerome Singer
Most noteworthy: Mass hysteria incidents happen in small areas. They do not impact globally. And they are recovered from.
Cannot explain multiple sightings of similar or the same craft across decades and the globe. Often seen by people with no previously expressed interest in the subject who may have no connection to one another. It is similarly false to say all people claim to see “flying saucers” as shapes described have varied considerably (though there are certain categories and patterns) despite what is popular in movies or the media at a given time.
Starting on page 309: Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders are “associated with significant stress and impairment.” This is no longer simply called “mass hysteria” and often has to do with actual physical symptoms with no known cause.
Mass hysteria is not a visual thing at this point. And mass hallucination could never occurred without close physical contact.
Further notes to consider:
Extensive research has been done regarding the abduction (Mack, at Harvard) and UAP narrative. Other papers may be found via google’s scholar collection.
Documentaries have alleged that greater intelligence is connected to increased belief in UFOs. They have also claimed that people with severe mental health disorders do not typically mention UFOs.
The CIA allegedly contributed ideas to films in order to help with disclosure. Whether or not psychology was considered in this endeavor is unknown. In fact: the effort may have been detrimental as people may believe what they see is part of a movie/CG/a dream, etc. However, they may not believe what they see anyway…
“UFO-related beliefs are associated with higher schizotypyl scores, but that the belief in extraterrestrial life per se is not.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886997800189
Biographical analyses of 152 subjects who reported temporary abductions or persistent contacts with UFO occupants show that these subjects are remarkably devoid of a history of mental illness. However, in 132 cases, one or more major characteristics were found of what S. C. Wilson and T. X. Barber (1981) identified as the fantasy-prone personality (FPP). https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1991-27403-001
A Gallup poll found that 24 percent of Americans, 21 percent of Canadians, and 19 percent of Britons believe “extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth at some time in the past.” The National Council on Science and Technology and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography published a study that found as much as one-third of the U.S. population and 38 percent of Mexicans believe alien spaceships have been here. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/about-thinking/202002/why-won-t-ufos-go-away
Also important to note: Sightings have been reported by people of all backgrounds, education-levels, ages, races, nationalities, religions, and so forth.
Names Associated with the creation of these notes (and interested in helping with UAP mental health):
A Study of UAPs/UFOs: Research and Science @studyofuaps (general psychology)
Gwendolyn Downing, LWGV @_hopefullyhope (licensed therapist)
Chris @GhostArchetype (licensed therapist)
Interested in assisting with UAP mental health:
Erik Schlimmer @UAP_Therapist (licensed therapist)