“Weird Coincidence” and Respect for Psychiatrists

Is it only coincidence that (1) much of the public suspects that psychiatrists rely on funny-kooky-hahaha theories; and that (2) a noted psychiatric journal suggests that “weird coincidences” tend to have deep mental significance? Here are two articles from that journal:

This Issue: Coincidence Studies,” Bernard D. Beitman, MD, Psychiatric Annals, Volume 41, Number 12, DECEMBER 2011. He writes:

“While on a vacation in Alaska, a physician undergoing psychotherapy ‘heard’ the reassuring voice of an ill, beloved mentor in Texas, speaking to her. A few days later, she was told that the mentor had died around the time she had heard his voice. She had been reluctant to tell her psychiatrist (or anyone) about this event, as well as about many previous similar extraordinary events. This case report appeared in a recent lead article in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In the May 2009 issue of Psychiatric Annals, my colleagues and I reported results of the Weird Coincidence Scale (WCS-2) study, strongly suggesting that such extraordinary experiences are far more common than is generally recognized by the scientific community….

“In the first paper of this issue, I propose the development of the new field of Coincidence Studies.”


Weird Coincidences Commonly Occur,” Stephanie L. Coleman; Bernard D. Beitman [pictured here], MD; Elif Celebi, MD, Psychiatric Annals, Volume 39 · Number 5, MAY 2009. The authors explain:

“The coincidence experience permeates all domains of life. We speak of the coincidental nature of falling in love, the experience of having a job ‘fall into one’s lap,’ and we read about coincidences in literature and see them occur regularly in movies and plays. To many of us, there is some degree of awe and wonder involved in experiencing an improbable coincidence. We may question why it happened, what it means, or simply stand back in amazement.”

(Thanks to investigator Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.)