What Is Transpersonal Psychology?

Transpersonal psychology is a field of psychology which 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 meditation, process art, ecopsychology, 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. A central concept in Transpersonal Psychology is self-transcendence, or a sense of self-identity which is deeper, higher, broader, and more unified than identification with the ego. The root of the term transpersonal, or, literally, "beyond the mask," refers to this growth beyond ego. This orientation is inclusive, valuing and integrating the following:

  • the arts and humanities,
  • exceptional mental health and suffering,
  • ordinary and non-ordinary states of consciousness,
  • modern Western perspectives, Eastern perspectives, postmodern insights, and worldviews of indigenous traditions, and
  • analytical intellect, direct experience, and contemplative ways of knowing.

Transpersonal psychology is a psychology of health and human potential. While recognizing and addressing human psychopathology, transpersonal psychology does not derive its model of the human psyche from the ill or diseased. Transpersonal psychology looks to saints, prophets, great artists, heroes and heroines for models of full human development and the growth-oriented nature of the human psyche.

Transpersonal psychology values the diversity of expressions of human experience while recognizing the universality of its deeper dimensions. It actively seeks out and integrates insights on human nature and healing from a wide variety of cultures, and recognizes the role of the cultural context in the experience of individuals and groups.

Transpersonal psychology is an approach to the whole person. It seeks a balanced development of the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and creative expression aspects of a person's life.

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