Integrating psychology and spirituality, researching optimal mental health, self-realization, and development toward full human maturity
Transpersonal psychology is the fourth direction of academic psychology that developed in the late 1960s, after behavioral, psychoanalytical, and humanistic directions. It is based on the findings of William James, Jung, Freud, Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber, and various other important psychologists.
Carl Jung described the “collective unconscious” as being the transpersonal unconscious. Self-actualization, studied by Abraham Maslow was a key element in the foundation of transpersonal psychology. Maslow incorporated creativity, altruism, peak experiences, and personal actions that existed outside of the ordinary personality as well as psychological trauma and personal growth.
Transpersonal psychotherapy evolved over the years and was influenced by Charles T. Tart, Arthur J. Deikman, Ken Wilber, Stanislav Grof, Roger Walsh, and Frances Vaughan and has emerged to become a fully comprehensive discipline that addresses a broad range of human issues ranging from transcendent consciousness to normal and abnormal functioning and behavior patterns.
Although it has yet to be fully recognized, transpersonal psychology encompasses and builds upon several fields of psychology and offers an alternative view of behavioral, humanistic, and psychoanalytic psychology by offering that religious and mystical theory can be examined scientifically for the purpose of healing. It identifies and studies the various states of consciousness and asserts that each has multiple layers within that hold their own realities and systems. This theory asserts that people can move back and forth through the different stages of consciousness and can learn to reside permanently in one specific state.
Transpersonal psychology includes insights and acknowledges the entire spectrum of disciplines of quantum physics, anthropology, sociology, biology, philosophy, and theology, and has an eclectic approach to behavioral insights, psychoanalytic, and humanistic psychology.
Transpersonal psychology has a sophisticated overview of the evolution of consciousness, which integrates the psychology and philosophy of the West and the East, from ancient times until today, from science to spirituality.
It is the field of psychology that integrates psychological concepts, theories, and methods with subject matter and practices of the spiritual disciplines. Its interests include spiritual experiences, mystical states of consciousness, mindfulness and meditative practices, shamanic states, ritual, the overlap of spiritual experiences and disturbed states such as psychosis and depression, and the transpersonal dimensions of relationships, service, encounters with the natural world, and many other topics. The central concept in Transpersonal Psychology is self-transcendence, or a sense of self-identity which is deeper or higher, broader, and more unified with the whole. The root of the term, transpersonal or literally “beyond the mask” refers to this self-transcendence. While this self-transcendence recognizes a value to the personal, it also holds nonduality and the transpersonal as the more fundamental ground of being and consciousness.
The word ‘transpersonal’ means ‘beyond’ thoughts and personal. This refers to the experience of transcendental states of consciousness and the use of full human potential, the understanding of personal spiritual development and mystical experiences, and the integration of physical, mental, and spiritual components of a human being.
The transpersonal psychology model integrates the spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and creative being. It strives to discover divinity through our own humanity and is a by-product of a person’s growth and development.
Transpersonal psychology is sometimes confused with parapsychology, although it is important to note that the two are not the same. While transpersonal psychology focuses on the spiritual side of human nature, parapsychology is concerned with such things as psychic phenomena including precognition and psychokinesis.
Transpersonal psychology may also, sometimes, be associated with New Age beliefs. Although the transpersonal perspective has many overlapping interests with theories and thinkers associated with the term “New Age”, it is still problematic to place transpersonal psychology within such a framework. Transpersonal psychology is an academic discipline, not a religious or spiritual movement.
The Story of Transpersonal Psychology Science of the Soul