Spirit Rescue relates to the practice within Spiritualism of assisting spirit entities who are believed to have failed to make the transition into the afterlife. They are therefore considered by Spiritualists to remain within our physical dimension in a wandering or lost state. The usual causes of this are purported to be sudden or traumatic death, guilt, fear of punishment, restrictive religious beliefs and other emotional conditions that may limit a person's focus and prevent a successful transition.
Spirit Rescue is typically performed by a Spiritualist medium who will attempt to communicate with the discarnate spirit and explain their condition to them, reassure them or explore whatever it is that holds them within the earthly dimension of existence. Many of these spirits are considered to display a reduced degree of awareness and consciousness compared to normal human consciousness, and it is a common belief among Spiritualists that the spirit may not even realize they have died, especially as they may exist within a projected reality of their own making, a mental construct conforming to their expectations and emotions. This is allegedly much like a dream state from which a medium may attempt to move the spirit into a higher consciousness. The essence of rescue work appears to be reaching earthbound spirit and attempting to raise their conscious awareness to include other options of reality.
Common rescue methods may involve a medium using clairvoyant abilities, mentally "seeing" or sensing the spirit concerned, or they may employ a trance state of consciousness and channel the spirit, therefore allowing the spirit to speak to others present.
The use of spirit rescue and spiritual releasement therapy remain controversial within the medical community. Considered by many to be a complementary or alternative practice. Practitioners sometimes use diagnoses which are not recognized within the mainline of psychiatric practice.