Transpersonal psychology enhances the study of mind-body relations, spirituality, consciousness, and human transformation. Experts disagree as to the specific model and margins of this form of therapy, however the three key areas that are considered through transpersonal psychotherapy are:
- Combined/holistic and natural psychology
- Transformative psychology
- Ego-transcended psychology
Transpersonal psychology uses positive influences, rather than the diseased human psyche and our defenses, as a model for the realization of human potential. Saints, artists, prophets and heroes are all revered and examined as embodying the true nature of our human psyche. This technique encourages a person to see their inner capabilities and view themselves as in the process of reaching that state that has been achieved by the models represented.
Transpersonal psychology is a study of human growth and development. Psychologists who subscribe to transpersonal psychology believe that continuum begins with people who lack ego identity and are essentially at the bottom of the developmental structure of humanity. Psychotic and borderline personality afflicted would be classified in this category. As we move toward functionality, people with stronger ego states and concise and definitive object relations are represented as “normals.” Moving even further into human development are the mystics and meditators who are seen as transcending the conscious state and identifying a supreme being, God or universal force.
Transpersonal psychology does not view an end to human personality. Rather it sees each character trait and attribute as a garment that shrouds our true essence. Our beings are merely a vehicle used to transport our spirit and soul throughout our world. We are but a window to the transpersonal being.
The transpersonal psychology model integrates the spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, physical and creative being into one complete element and addresses the six components equally for the purpose of treatment. It strives to discover divinity through our own humanity and is a by-product of a person’s growth and development.
Carl Jung described the “collective unconscious” as being the transpersonal unconscious. Self-actualization, as studied by Abraham H. Maslow , was a key element in the foundation of transpersonal psychology. Maslow incorporated creativity, altruism, peak events and 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 as a scientific field of study, 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 theories 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 is a spiritual depth psychology. Based on the principles of Jung, Rank, and Reich, among others, this theory subscribes to the belief of a subconscious and super-conscious.