ACA Blog

Gupreet Kaur
Apr 19, 2010

Paradigm Shift - Active Observer

We all are observers of reality. This phenomenon of active observer comes from quantum physics. Quantum physicists say that there is no reality without human observation. Quantum physicists have redefined the purpose and beauty of the act of observation, because Newtonian laws are not applicable to the reality of a subatomic world. This phenomenon of an active observer is very much pertinent to the field of mental health. It redefines our roles as counselors and educators. These redefined roles can help us to be change agents at a whole different level. It requires a paradigm shift in how we perceive reality.

This phenomenon called active observer can help counselors take counseling to a new dimension. The component of this phenomenon is the human consciousness. According to quantum theory, you need human consciousness in order to construct reality. Each of us participates in constructing everyday life at personal level, community level, national level, and global level. Whatever problems, concerns, and issues (good and bad) we are facing today on planet earth came into being with each and every person’s participation. As I said last week, it might be hard to swallow this, but it is true according to quantum theory mechanisms.

As I said, the active observer principle is very much applicable to counseling. We can help our clients choose the reality they want for themselves. We can see them as whole human beings capable of helping themselves. Sounds familiar? Of course, it sounds like Rogers talking. This phenomenon also involves some aspects of spirituality, particularly the concepts of good and evil.

Nevertheless, I wrote an article for the ASERVIC newsletter on Quantum Theory and Counseling, please read it if you get a chance. For the mean time, I am giving you an excerpt from that article below, which pertains exactly what I am talking about here: Another phenomenon called “Active Observer,” plays a big role at the quantum level. According to quantum theory, we, as human beings, are observers of the reality. Quantum physicists say that reality requires the act of human observation. Quantum physicists have redefined the purpose and beauty of this act, because Newtonian laws are not applicable to the reality of the subatomic world. Goswami (2008), in his recent book “God Is Not Dead,” describes the physicist John Wheeler’s duly verified in the laboratory “The delayed-choice experiment,” as a base to this phenomenon. The experience simply demonstrates that, light (and indeed, all quantum objects) is both waves and particles until an observer decides it to be either a wave or a particle (Goswami). Hence, “…conscious choice is crucial in the shaping of manifest reality (Goswami, p. 100).

So, what does it mean to be an active observer? It means “Participator,” as Braden (2007) describes it. Gerstein and Bennett (1999) say, “Physicists believe that without the mental event of observation, no physical event can occur (p. 259).” The mental event of observation is a choice made by the observer consciously or unconsciously. We are continuously creating our reality whether we like it or not. The key here is to become conscious of our choices. The research in quantum theory reveals that in the preexistence stage of a particle before it is a particle; it is both a wave and a particle. Only the observer’s act of observation and conscious decision of whether the observer wants to see it as a wave or a particle determines its reality into either particle or wave (Goswami, 2008). This experiment shows the crucial role that human consciousness plays to construct reality. So it is clear that humans create their own reality, good and bad. By becoming aware of this principle, counselors can help their clients understand this principle at work to nudge them to drop the victim role and assume an active observer or participator’s role instead. Just this simple change in perception can go a long way. This principle can give counselors the confidence they need to confront clients, when appropriate, about their reality and to coach them to choose different reality. Counselors can help their clients choose the reality they want for themselves. Counselors can see clients as whole beings capable of helping themselves. Gerstein and Bennett (1999) say, “The very act of a therapist observing a patient changes a patient” (p. 266).

I love the last sentence I quoted from Gerstein and Bennett (1999) article. Perhaps, Rogers was right that the therapeutic relationship is the utmost thing in counseling. Can we just change the client by observing them with loving kindness, positive regard, being nonjudgmental, and simply having the belief that they have everything within themselves to achieve highest possible self-actualization? Can it be true? Or is it true?

I would like to hear from you all, my colleagues, as counselors…

Gurpreet Kaur is a counselor who works at an outpatient clinic and also has a private practice. She is a doctoral student with professional interests in quantum physics, spirituality, self-actualization, and mindfulness practices as they all relate to counseling.

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