TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY, like all psychologies, is a model of the human psyche. However, it is distinguished by being a perspective based on the reality of a spiritual centre or Self within each individual. This 'Centre' - Self, Soul, Atman, or whatever it may be called - is the chief motivating and coordinating energy within us. The task of the transpersonal psychologist is to facilitate the release of this energy, in individuals and in groups.
TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY, as an umbrella term, covers a number of related approaches both Western and Eastern; its pioneers include Jung, Assagioli, Maslow and Frankl. The workshops at Rock Bank are based on the work of Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers.
To enter the world of the imagination is to take ourselves out of the stress of everyday life and make contact with the sources of our wholeness and creativity.
WHAT IS TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY?
Transpersonal Psychology was intended to be a perspective and to provide an eclectic and informal umbrella for people who shared basic attitudes, but whose opinions on specific questions might differ widely. Within it, a number of major strands come together. Woven by giants in the psychological field, they form a recognizable overall pattern and tapestry. Any selection of these strands is bound to be a personal one, and therefore arbitrary. But I give my own as a way of illustrating the new synthesis that I sense is emerging within psychology.
First, Abraham Maslow, with his special interest in gifted people, in peak experiences, and his emphasis on the processes of Self-Actualisation and self-realisation as dynamic motivating factors in human growth. Maslow began to explore these questions in the 1940's.
Second, Roberto Assagioli, an Italian psychiatrist, founder of Psychosynthesis. Assagioli started to develop his ideas in the 1920's, and is significant for his mapping of higher consciousness states, ways of being in touch with and entering these dimensions, and his emphasis on the spiritual or transpersonal self as the essence and ultimate direction and monitor of the psychological energy system of the individual.
Third, Victor Frankl, founder of Logotherapy. Frankl spent time as an inmate of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. He found that those whose lives had meaning, or those who could invest their lives or the experience with meaning, stood the best chance of survival. The will-to-meaning became the keynote of his psychological system and his methods of psychotherapy.
Fourth, Carl Jung and his immensely gifted group of followers. They have not only underlined the importance of unconscious factors, both individual and collective, in the human growth process, but have shown how individuals can become whole, and fulfil all sides of their nature, through the process they call Individuation.
The transpersonal perspective aims to relate and integrate both Eastern and Western approaches to psychological understanding and human growth. Down the ages, mystics of all the great religions and philosophies have pioneered the exploration of transcendental states. Transpersonal psychology today embraces and applies the perspectives of religious and esoteric schools, and such Eastern disciplines as yoga in its various forms, Zen, Tao, Buddhist teachings and others.