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Spiritual Experiences Explored in Book by U of I Psychologist Mark Yama

September 09, 2020

University of Idaho Associate Professor and Licensed Psychologist Mark Yama of the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies has published, “The Spirit Transcendent: Exploring the Extraordinary in Human Experience.”

The paperback published this summer by McFarland and Co. Inc. explores spiritual experiences relayed to Yama by his clients during his work as a clinical psychologist.

“The book emerged out of my work with psychotherapy clients over a number of years,” Yama said. “At first, I was unprepared, given my background and biases, for the spiritual experiences which they related. I became captivated by them and in the book, I tried to accurately and faithfully represent what they told me.”

Yama argues that rather than being disparaged as hallucinations or delusions, direct spiritual experiences should be considered a unifying spiritual reality apart from the material world.

“To my surprise and delight, my experiences told a story, one that contains not just spiritual experiences of my patients, but actual evidence for a very old concept, that something about the person can survive after death,” Yama said.

Yama, who has been at U of I for 33 years, earned his Ph.D. in sensory psychology at Indiana University. He later trained in clinical psychology at the University of Texas.

The book’s stories, according to the publisher, “argue for a deeper reality that places spirituality on an equal footing with the material world.”

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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