"Transpersonal Psychology might loosely be called the psychology of spirituality and of those areas of the human mind which search for higher meanings in life, and which move beyond the limited boundaries of the ego to access an enhanced capacity for wisdom…It honors the existence of transpersonal experiences, and is concerned with their meaning for the individual and with their effect upon behavior."
—The British Psychological Society
As I believe I’ve made clear throughout the past several blog entries, I am a firm believer in therapeutic counseling as a tool of personal growth and transformation as well as a means to address existing or emerging mental/emotional challenges. Too often therapy falls into a myopic fixation with the self—the purely personal experience while ignoring (or even pathologizing) experiences which seem to transcend the self.
The broader mental health field, with its fixation on illness, generally fails to acknowledge, let alone address, the transpersonal aspect of the human experience—the recognition that we are engaged with a whole that transcends our limited capacities and touches on a sense of the sacred (be that in a religious or irreligious sense).
Enter Transpersonal Psychology, described by The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology as, “a full spectrum psychology…(with) a serious scholarly interest in the immanent and transcendent dimensions of human experience: exceptional human functioning, experiences, performances and achievements, true genius, the nature and meaning of deep religious and mystical experiences, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and how we might foster the fulfillment of our highest potentials as human beings.”
Transpersonal psychotherapy endeavors to assist human beings in connecting with the sacred, however that may manifest in our lives, as a means of exploration, sustenance, support and challenge. From dreams to meditation, experiences in the natural world, and deep experiences with others, when we are able to tap into that sacred element we are able to help infuse our lives with a meaning that is not possible in its absence.
I want to stress once more that this need not be a religious experience. Whether fervent theist or adamant atheist, the experience of the sacred, of that which transcends our view of self, that connects us to the larger world and to one another is available to all. And a potent tool in your own work in healing, transformation and empowerment!
For more information on Transpersonal Psychology and how it may benefit you, please contact me directly!
Bryan Dieterich, MA, LPC