The Overview Effect, Self Transcendence & Mental Health - Dr Annahita Nezami & Frank White
Annahita believes that the dramatic rise in mental illness and how we treat those who are mentally ill exposes a dysfunction inherent within our society. She believes there’s a place for psychiatric medication, but emphasises that we need to move away from a standardised and restrictive approach to mental illness that is over-reliant on sedation and dampening feelings and desires.
Based on this premise, Annahita argues that contemporary mental health treatments need reviewing and revising. Annahita asks attendees to consider a world where people battling with terminal illness, trauma, stress, or depression have access to a range of evidence-based self-transcendent treatments (inclusive of nature, music, mindfulness-based therapies, positive technologies, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy).
In this talk, Annahita draws on applied research in psychology to make a case for VR-assisted self-transcendent treatments. She summarises some of the extant evidence in this area, explains what the Virtual Reality Overview Effect is, the rationale and theoretical framework behind it, and summarises the mission and milestones reached.
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- Frankl, V.E., 1985. Man’s search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.
- Gilbert, P. (2010). The compassionate mind (Compassion focused therapy). Constable. ISBN-10, 1849010986.
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- Stepanova, E. R., Quesnel, D., & Riecke, B. E. (2019). Space—a virtual frontier: how to design and evaluate a virtual reality experience of the overview effect. Frontiers in Digital Humanities, 6, 7.
- Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Mind, brain and body in the transformation of trauma. Penguin UK.
- Van Lente, E., & Hogan, M. J. (2020). Understanding the Nature of Oneness Experience in Meditators Using Collective Intelligence Methods. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2092.
- White, F. (2021). The overview effect: Space exploration and human evolution. Multiverse Publishing
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- Wilson, D. S. (2020). This view of life: Completing the Darwinian revolution. Vintage.
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About the Speaker:
Dr Annahita Nezami
Dr Annahita Nezami, CPsychol, DPsych, MSc, BSc, is a counselling psychologist providing psychological consultation, assessment, and therapy to organisations, individuals, and couples. Her areas of interest include space psychology, higher states of consciousness, wellbeing, performance, neuropsychology, and trauma. Annahita lectures nationally and internationally, and has presented her ideas about the Overview Effect and mental health on BBC Radio 4, Central St Martin’s, UCL, and TEDx. She researched the therapeutic value of the Overview Effect as part of her doctoral studies. After completing her studies, she founded VR Overview Effect (VROE); the first tech-based multi-sensory company that designs and researches treatments based on the self-transcendent experience of the Overview Effect. You can learn more about Annahita’s work at www.vr-overview-effect.co.uk or follow VROE on Instagram @vr_overvieweffect or on Twitter @DrAnnahita.
Frank White has authored numerous books on topics ranging from space exploration to climate change to artificial intelligence. His best-known work, “The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution”, is considered by many to be a seminal work in the field of space exploration. A film called “Overview,” based largely on his work has had nearly 8 million plays on Vimeo. Since his book was published in 1987, “the Overview Effect” has become a standard term for describing the spaceflight experience. The fourth edition of The Overview Effect, including original interviews with 31 astronauts, was published earlier this year. You can learn more about Frank’s work at: https://frankwhiteauthor.com
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Upcoming at TWU
This episode is sponsored by our upcoming Day on Changing Consciousness, taking place at the University of Greenwich on 26th June, 2022.
This will be The Weekend University’s first ‘in person’ event in over two years, and it’s shaping up to be a special occasion. The lectures will focus on consciousness paradigms that go beyond the brain, how they work, why they matter, and how understanding them can enhance your everyday experience of reality, with talks on:
–> Panpsychism: Is Everything Conscious? – Dr Philip Goff, PhD
–> From Ego-Centric to Eco-Centric: Changing Consciousness through Psychedelics – Dr Sam Gandy, PhD
–> Is Reality an Illusion? – Professor Donald Hoffman, PhD (via live video link)
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