by Richard Boylan, Ph.D.
The evidence from my research and clinical experience, as well as that of other clinical professionals working with experiencers of ET encounters, strongly suggests that the vast majority of close encounter Experiencers have an acute, mild-to-severe transient reaction to their close extraterrestrial encounter, but not chronic symptoms. These are the experiencers who have had an Uncomplicated ET Encounter. They exhibit the temporary symptoms of Close Extraterrestrial Encounter Syndrome (CEES). A Brief Intervention Model of exploratory, educative and ventilative counseling about close ET encounters generally suffices for the vast majority of experiencers with an Uncomplicated Close Encounter. In these cases I have found that one to six sessions of therapy and education generally is sufficient. After this brief counseling is completed, the experiencers typically are ready to move on to further exploration of what ET contact means, in a consciousness-sharing group.
Close Extraterrestrial Encounter Syndrome (CEES) is an Adjustment Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: a reaction to a close extraterrestrial encounter (CEE), remembered or repressed into the unconscious, which substantially alters patterns of daily living or social relationships in a destabilizing way, and has four or more of the following 20 target symptoms.
These symptoms may include:
Then, there are those experiencers who are suffering from a Complicated CEE, because they are still dealing with an earlier, severe, human-caused trauma, for which they have not yet completed a successful course of psychotherapy, and for whom the extraterrestrial visitations cause an abreactive exacerbation of previous, human-caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, Borderline Personality Syndrome or some other Personality Disorder. For such dually challenged persons the therapist will need to consider long-term psychotherapy. Such therapy will need to deal with both the human-caused traumatic issues and the emotional exacerbation and turmoil resulting from extraterrestrial visitations. Special care will be needed to keep distinct the issues stemming from the human-caused trauma, and those issues stemming from the extraterrestrial contact itself. It cannot be expected that the experiencer with previous human trauma will initially be able to keep the two events separate. In fact, in my research experience, such experiencers almost always confuse the feelings coming from their extraterrestrial encounter with the residual feelings from their human trauma.
And this is to be expected. The reason such confounding of close encounter feelings with feelings from human trauma occurs is because the human trauma is invariably extremely intense, catastrophically unexpected and out-of-the-norm, and extremely intimate. The unresolved human traumata most likely to cause flashback emotions after a close encounter are: childhood sexual molestation, childhood or adult rape, or childhood ritual (Satanic) cultic abuse, (usually involving sexual molestation and torture.) Such human traumata leave the victim with deep feelings of being entered intimately by an unwanted other person, feelings of being overpowered in a frightening way, feelings of loss of the usual protective boundaries between what is personal and what is socially shared, and feelings of loss of distinction between where self ends and where another person begins (intimate invasion).
Because extraterrestrial encounters often involve the sudden appearance of one or more extraterrestrials without warning in an unexpected location, such as one's bedroom at night, their appearance can feel, at first, like an invasion. The extraterrestrials' use of mental telepathy, and their facility for reading one's thoughts and the contents of one's mind, can feel to the previously traumatized person like an old, familiar, and unwelcome intrusion into what is in our culture one's private space. Here we have the clash of two cultures, polar opposite in their assumptions. In human culture, (Western modern industrial culture, anyway,) the assumption is that one's thoughts and living space are private, because individualism is prized. In extraterrestrial cultures researched so far, it appears that living space and thoughts are inevitably shared, because of the automatic, two way nature of the mutual telepathic ability of all members of their society. They live in a shared minefield "commons."
There are other aspects of some close encounters which may also cause traumatic flashbacks. Sometimes an extraterrestrial will cloak him/herself (yes, they have gender) by imposing on the mind of the experiencer the borrowed appearance of a familiar family figure, so that the experiencer believes (and remembers) that it was Dad, or Uncle Henry, or Grandma that was actually in the bedroom the night they woke up with a presence in the room. If that close encounter also includes a scientific medical exam, with the experiencer on her back, paralyzed or held in place by force field ankle or wrist restraints, and if palpation of the pelvic or buttocks areas, or a gynecological procedure is part of the procedures, and the experiencer has only sketchy recall of the encounter, their memory may put the fragments remembered together and come up with the pseudo-memory that Dad, or Uncle Henry, or Grandma pinned them down in their bedroom and molested them. I have discovered at least five instances of such pseudo-incest memories in an 86 case research sample, and Harvard psychiatrist John Mack reports more.
Then there are those minority of cases, perhaps 5%, of persons who are the victims of pseudo-Alien abductions, staged by human military/intelligence "Special Operations" exercises, which may include drugging, narco-hypnotism, psychological and physical abuse, interrogations, threats, rape, or torture, in exotic unfamiliar settings with bizarre "Aliens" standing around. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is collecting reports from these victims.
Differential diagnosis of CEES from schizophrenia is relatively straightforward. Genuine experiencers do not have bizarre, grandiose, somatic, religious, nihilistic or persecutory delusions, (although the clinician must distinguish such reports as telepathic communication by ETs from schizophrenic thought insertion delusions.) Likewise, schizophrenic auditory hallucinations, where "the voices" criticize or command, must be distinguished from audible ET telepathic communication. Experiencers are not incoherent, nor locked into illogical thinking or loose associations. Their affect is anything but blunt or flat. Nor is their behavior grossly disorganized.
Borderline Personality Disorder, as well as Factitious Disorder with Psychological Symptoms, provide differential diagnosis challenges, because many attention seeking Borderlines and Factitious Disordered are now hopping on the "abductee-victim" bandwagon, and have been exposed to enough media or support-group data to cleverly mimic experiencers. But persons who have had genuine encounters generally lack the marked mood shifting, stubborn anger, history of intensely unstable relationships, gnawing identity disturbance, impulsivity patterns and chronic acting out to enliven an empty life, which are the hallmarks of Borderlines. Likewise, the chaotic array of symptoms and stubborn clinging to "victim" status of Factitious Disordered differentiate from the generally well-functioning experiencer, who genuinely wants to understand and feel better.
The differentiation of Delusional Disorder, Paranoid Type from CEES is more exacting, because a Delusional could have a single topic delusion of extraterrestrial visitation, and otherwise be functional. However, the characteristic disproportional, consuming paranoia of the Delusional is quite different than the sometimes afraid reaction of some experiencers. And Delusionals are refractory to reality based educative counseling, which experiencers are able to use to master their misgivings and uncertainties about their encounter.
Frontal Lobe Epilepsy may produce transient organic hallucinations, which can infrequently include "seeing" extraterrestrials. But the emotional lability, impulsiveness, intellectual rigidity or social dis-connectedness often also seen in these organic personality syndromes distinguishes them from genuine experiencers.
And finally, genuine close encounter experiencers must be distinguished from Malingerers and Antisocial Behavior individuals. For Malingerers, the pay-off is that claims of "alien abduction" provide some excuse for the claimant not to have to exercise responsibility for which s/he would otherwise be accountable, such as productive work, having a successful romantic relationship, or a life direction. For the Antisocial Behavior individual, lying about an extraterrestrial encounter is no more difficult than the other lies and deceptions that a person without principle may engage in.
The proper differentiation and diagnosis of close extraterrestrial encounter from its surrogates is an important and valuable service for the clinician to provide the client. And it serves as a sure foundation from which to develop an appropriate clinical treatment plan.
© 1997 Dr. Richard J. Boylan, All Rights Reserved