Transpersonal psychology addresses the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development.
Transpersonal psychotherapy takes into account everything from your deepest wounds and needs to the existential crisis of the human being.
Deep & lasting changes
Transpersonal psychotherapy accompanies you to discover the most transcendent capacities of your consciousness which affects your whole life.
We fear to know the fearsome and unsavory aspects of ourselves, but we fear even more to know the godlike in ourselves.
Transpersonal Psychology Approach
Transpersonal psychology is a branch of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of human experience with the work and research framework of modern psychology.
The term transpersonal means “beyond” or “through” the personal, and refers to the experiences, processes and events that transcend the usual sense of identity, allowing you to experience a greater and more meaningful reality. Researchers study what they consider the highest potential of humanity and the recognition, understanding and updating of the modified states of consciousness, unitive, spiritual and transcendent.
Transpersonal psychology emerges as a “fourth force” after Humanistic Psychology, which studies Personal Development and the Human Potential. It constitutes a different understanding of psychism, health, disease and personal and spiritual development.
It is the only school of psychology that studies directly and in depth, the functioning of the ego and the spiritual dimension of the human being.
Both humanistic and transpersonal psychology have been associated with the Human Potential Movement. A growth center for alternative therapies and philosophies that grew out of the counter-culture of the 1960s at places like Esalen, California.
Beginning with the publication of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology in 1969 and the founding of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1971, transpersonal psychology is relatively new as a formal discipline. Despite this it draws upon ancient mystical knowledge that comes from multiple traditions.
Transpersonal psychotherapists attempt to integrate timeless wisdom with modern Western psychology and translate spiritual principles into scientifically grounded, contemporary language.
History of Transpersonal Psychology
The origins of transpersonal psychology can be traced back to 1901-2 when the American psychologist William James (1842-1910) of Harvard University taught the so-called “Gifford Lectures” at the University of Edinburgh. In these classes, which would later be published in a book format entitled “The Varieties of Religious Experiences”, James focused on the study of religious experiences from a psychological perspective based on the study of the direct experiences of individuals. It was James who first used the term transpersonal in these classes. This school considers Richard M. Bucke (1837-1902), Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) and Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) as those who laid the foundations for what would later become Transpersonal Psychology.
The meaning of transpersonal back then, different from today’s usage, was in the context of James’ radical empiricism, in which there exists an intimate relation between a perceiving subject and a perceived object, recognizing that all objects are dependent on being perceived by someone.
Influences that shaped the early field of transpersonal psychology are: The psychedelic movement, the psychological study of religion, parapsychology and the interest in Eastern spiritual systems and practices.
“A resourceful psychotherapy considers every method, technique, wisdom and tradition, and yet, doesn’t have to stay loyal to any method, idea or person.”
Another important figure in the establishment of transpersonal psychology was Abraham Maslow, who had already published work regarding human peak experiences. In 1968 Maslow was among the people who announced transpersonal psychology as a “fourth force” in psychology, in order to distinguish it from the three other forces: psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanistic psychology.
Early use of the term “transpersonal” can also be credited to Stanislav Grof who is one of the founders of transpersonal psychology and a pioneer researcher in the use of altered states of consciousness for the purpose of healing, growth and introspection.
Also, Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean psychiatrist and writer, became one of the pioneers and top referents of transpersonal psychology. Doctor of medicine, he worked for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile and at a pioneer center of studies on Medical Anthropology (CEAM), founded by Franz Hoffman in 1960, while practicing psychiatry in the Clinical Psychiatric University. In the United States, he explored the field of perceptual learning.
Realm of Transpersonal Psychology
Transpersonal psychology considers topics such as:
- The peak experiences (which according to the American psychologist Abraham Maslow are states of interconnection and spiritual unification)
- Mystical, transcendent and metaphysical experiences
- Expansion of individual consciousness
- Deep inner knowledge
- Encounter of the sense of personal life
- Recognition of other beings and the environment as a unity
- Amplified states of love, compassion and universal fraternity
The main objective of transpersonal psychology would be for human beings to transcend the sense of themselves as a limit, in order to embrace a greater and more collective awareness.
The American writer Ken Wilber distinguishes three levels in the development of this consciousness:
- The prepersonal level: it is the moment of development in which human beings are not yet aware of their own mind (babies who do not yet have a theory of mind nor have constructed their personality)
- The personal level: that is reached when the individual becomes aware that he is a person who thinks different from others
- The transpersonal level: the level that is reached through spiritual development and that consists of transcending the identification with the body and the mind to reach a higher level of social, ecological and spiritual consciousness.