Thursday, May 5      2:00 pm to 4:10 pm


Varieties of Religious Experience

MARIO BEAUREGARD, Montreal, Neuroscience of Transcendent Experiences
ALEXANDER MOREIRA-ALMEIDA Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Differential Diagnosis Between Spiritual Experiences and Mental Disorders
PADR. PAULO ROBERTO, Church St. Daime, Rio de Janeiro, Sacred Plants of Amazonia


MARIO BEAUREGARD                              ALEXANDER MOREIRA-ALMEIDA                       PADRINHO PAULO ROBERTO                                

Montreal                                                     Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora              Church St. Daime, Rio de Janeiro                                                          


Mario Beauregard is currently Associate Research Professor at the Université de Montréal (Departments of Psychology and Radiology, Neuroscience Research Center). He is the author of more than 100 publications in neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry. Because of his research into the neuroscience of consciousness, he was selected by the World Media Net to be among the "One Hundred Pioneers of the 21st Century." Dr. Beauregard is the co-author and editor of Consciousness, Emotional Self-Regulation and the Brain. His groundbreaking work on the neurobiology of emotion and transcendent experiences at the University of Montreal has received international media coverage. In 2006, he received the Joel F. Lubar award for his contribution to the field of neurofeedback. The National Film Board of Canada has produced a documentary film about his work titled The Mystical Brain (2007). Recently, Dr. Beauregard has published a book titled The Spiritual Brain (2007). On September 11 2008, he was invited to participate in a symposium (Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness) held at the United Nations. In 2010, Dr. Beauregard received the Spectrum Award from the World Organization for Human Potential.

Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D. trained in psychiatry and cognitive-behavioral therapy at Institute of Psychiatry of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, where he also obtained his PhD in Health Sciences investigating the mental health of Spiritist mediums. Formerly a postdoctoral fellow in religion and health at Duke University (US), he is now Professor of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health, Brazil ( His main research interest involves empirical studies of spiritual experiences as well as the methodology and epistemology of this research field. His publications are available at

Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza is one of the foremost English speaking authorities on the psycho-spiritual work of Amazonian communities. He received a degree in psychology from the University Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro.  His training included psychoanalysis, bioenergetics, gestalt, as well as various psycho-spiritual healing modalities.  At the age of twenty-five he worked as a psychologist for the Brazilian government in Amazonia. There he began his    lifelong study of the psychological and spiritual effects plants of the rainforest have on communities of native people. As a psychologist in Rio de Janeiro, he worked at the suicide prevention center of Pinel Hospital, with psychotic patients at the Pedro II Psychiatric Hospital and the Anna Freud Clinic, and with psychopathic children at Santa Thereza Hospital.  At the same time he continued to develop his work integrating the science of the mind with theology that spoke to the spirit. In 1982 he became the head of  the Céu do Mar church in Rio de Janeiro. Since his first lecture at Harvard University 15 years ago, Padrinho Paulo Roberto has been invited to universities and conferences around the world to share his knowledge of Christian-Spirituality. He recently presented at a Google Tech Talk on the threats to the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest . He spoke about the use of sacramental plants and spiritual teachings of the Yawanawa tribe and the Santo Daime communities in Ceu do Mapia and Ceu do Mar.