Characteristics of English-speaking Trance Channelers

September 1, 2020
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Wahbeh, H., Butzerb, B. (2020) Characteristics of English-speaking trance channelers. Explore, 16(5), 304-309.


Historical records suggest that channeling has existed globally, in a variety of cultures, for thousands of years, and recent research suggests that channeling is more prevalent than most people realize. The present study used an online survey to explore mental health factors, personality characteristics, subjective experiences, and the impact of channeling on 83 participants who self-identified as trance channelers. Most participants endorsed being spiritual but not religious as adults, and on average the channeling experiences began at middle age. The majority of participants did not report pathological levels of dissociative or psychotic symptoms, anxiety or depression. Compared to relevant norms, participants reported similar scores on most personality factors, psychological absorption and empathy. Participants’ average scores on emotional and environmental sensitivity corresponded to being designated as sensory-processing sensitives. Participants reported high levels of noetic beliefs and experiences, particularly beliefs in life after death, non-local consciousness, and telepathy. Most participants reported that their channeling process is willful and consensual and that they are consciously aware of the channeling state while it occurs. The majority of participants also reported a positive impact of channeling on their lives. Lower psychotic symptoms, older age when the trance channeling experiences began, and higher sensitivity scores predicted a greater positive impact of trance on participants’ lives. Given that trance channeling has played a role in religious and spiritual traditions around the world throughout history, the present study provides an important exploration of the trance channeling phenomenon.

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