After-Death Communication: A Typology of Therapeutic Benefits Page: 153
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MCCORMICK, MA & TASSELL-MATAMUA, PhD
near death (Datson & Marwit, 1997; Field & Friedrichs, 2004; Gug-
genheim & Guggenheim, 1995; Haraldsson, 1988; Kalish & Reynolds,
1973; Klass, 1993; Marris, 1958; Olson, Suddeth, Peterson, & Egel-
hoff, 1985; Parkes, 1970; Rees, 1971; Streit-Horn, 2011; Yamamoto,
Okonogi, Iwasaki, & Yoshimura, 1969; Zingrone & Alvarado, 2009).
The Therapeutic Nature of ADC
Research reveals that the vast majority of those who experience
ADC describe its phenomenology in complimentary and beneficial
terms (Streit-Horn, 2011). Therapeutic aftereffects of experiencing
ADC include reduced feelings of loss, grief, guilt, and sadness; as
well as changes in values; a strengthened belief in life after death;
and decreased death anxiety (LaGrand, 2005). For example, Nadine
Nowatski and Ruth Kalischuk (2009) investigated the effect of ADC on
23 participants whom they interviewed about the meaning and impact
of the experience. Emotions the participants expressed were largely
positive and associated with love, connectedness, and comfort. Many
participants felt they had received a specific and meaningful message
from the deceased, which often involved reassurance the deceased was
fine and that the deceased loved and (when appropriate) forgave par-
ticipants. Participants also reported life changes and personal growth
following their ADCs, describing themselves as more compassionate
toward and connected to others.
M. Damaris Drewry (2002) used semi-structured interviews to in-
vestigate the phenomenology of 40 individual ADC accounts reported
by seven participants. Results indicated participants felt blessed and
privileged by the experience of ADC even when they had been initially
disturbed by it. ADC enabled them to conclude unfinished business
with the deceased and, in some cases, to resolve their grief. Post-ADC
aftereffects included reduced existential fears, expanded existential
awareness, and a belief that consciousness and love persist post-
death. These spiritual or existential consequences of ADC were also
supported by the findings of Edith Steffen and Adrian Coyle's (2011)
thematically analyzed interviews, which showed 100% of 12 partici-
pants understood their ADCs to be indicative of life after death and
had reason to hope they would one day be reunited with their loved
ones. Participants also reported a reduced fear of death and increased
The collective findings of such qualitative studies are supported
by quantitative research, much of which has arisen from the foun-
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McCormick, B. M. E. & Tassell-Matamua, Natasha A. After-Death Communication: A Typology of Therapeutic Benefits, article, Spring 2016; Durham, North Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1125220/m1/3/: accessed March 29, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .