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Life, Death & The Space Between

Jul 8, 2021

A Medium Walks into a Psychiatrist’s Office with Al Powers and Brittany Quagan


“The voices are real. Real experiences. They deserve to be taken seriously as real human experiences; as real as anybody else’s.”

– Dr. Al Powers


Episode Summary:


Have you ever heard voices? Do you know anyone who hears things when others don’t? Are they delusions -- or are they spiritual experiences?  Does it matter?


In this episode, we talk with Dr. Al Powers, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist on faculty at the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Brittany Quagan, a working medium and “voice-hearer” who attributes her experiences to her spirit guides.  They work together on the Yale COPE (Influence/Control Over Perceptual Experiences) Project.


Yale COPE Project goals are:


  • To learnfrom those who hear, see, and feel things others can’t/don't
  • To understandthe ways people can control these experiences and their lives
  • To create new treatmentsfor those who need them


Listen in to understand how Dr. Al Powers and Brittany Quagan are bridging the gap between spiritual and mental health experiences. Which may not be so terribly different.  


Topics We Discuss:

  • Delusions vs. spiritual experiences
  • Pros and cons of antipsychotic medications and applicability to voice hearers
  • How the Yale COPE project gives voice hearers control over their voices
  • Voice hearers who saw their experiences as spiritual (vs. pathological) exerted more control over their voices
  • Empowering voice hearers by humanizing these experiences


Contact the Yale COPE Project:


If you, or someone you know, has perceptual experiences like hearing voices when no one is speaking, you are invited to join in the COPE Project. You do not need to have influence over the voices to join! Learn more about Dr. Al Powers and Brittany Quagan and the Yale COPE Project.



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