Transpersonal Psychology, birth of the term and originsTranspersonal Psychology adheres to a philosophical and epistemological vision that considers all dimensions of consciousness. Not only the cognitive-mental and emotional processes, but integrates the spiritual experience into the psychological context. The term Transpersonal applied to psychology was first used by Robert Assagioli, creator of Psychosynthesis, and later by Gustav Jung. It indicates those areas of psychic reality that extend beyond identification with the individual personality. Hence transpersonal psychology is characterized as the contribution of scientific circles to the study and understanding of the inner experience of a transcendent order. The Inner Experience, over the centuries, has received numerous denominations from different traditions: mystical ecstasy, cosmic experience, cosmic consciousness, oceanic experience, peak experience, nirvana, satori, samadhi, kingdom of heaven, etc.
In summaryLa Transpersonal Psychology combines the experience of Western psychology, especially of the Gestalt, existential and humanist vein, with the mystical traditions based on meditation, and with those shamanic founded onecstasy and direct contact with the forces of nature. It also has a strong influence from the most recent acquisitions of the modern physics and biophysics, and is closely related to other sciences such as sophrology, sociology, anthropology and ethnopsychiatry.
William JamesPioneer of psychology, William James he was the first to study mystical experiences considering them both psychological and spiritual events. In "The Varieties of Religious Experiences", James considers the mystical experiences as a "healthy and natural impulse", the foundation of any religion. Freud and later schools of psychoanalysis stigmatized these experiences, calling them regressive fantasies to the uterine state. The Behaviorists definitively shifted the focus of science from the world of states of consciousness to that of behavior. However, together with the dominant trends, a school of thought remained alive, supported by scholars of different backgrounds and origins, which continued to maintain the transcendence of the ego andspiritual experience at the center of his own psychological research.
Cal Gustav JungThe most important to mention is Carl Gustav Jung, to whom we owe the introduction of the concept of a Collective Unconscious, initially defined by himself "Uberpersonliche"(Transpersonal). This Unconscious would be the author of the fundamental interconnection of every individual psyche, and would be populated by the Archetypes which constitute the very ordering principles of every transpersonal experience. According to Jung, we all indirectly experience Archetypes through dreams, symbols, fables, rituals, while mystical experiences allow us direct access to the world of archetypes. Jung went so far as to indicate in spiritual experience the main way for the resolution of neuroses.
Abram MaslowAbraham Maslow was the founder of the Humanistic Psychology and has laid the foundations, perhaps more than anyone else, of nascite of Transpersonal Psychology integrated within the panorama of psychological approaches. Maslow considered Humanistic Psychology, which he defined as the Third Force of psychology, after Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism, as a transition phase that prepared for a “Even higher Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman”. This movement recognized the exploration of the cosmos plus human needs and interests as a starting point for the understanding of discomfort, going beyond concepts such as identity, personal self-realization, towards a transcendence of the self that also took into account the "cosmic" and therefore archetypal elements of the psyche.
Robert AssagioliRobert Assagioli had the great merit of to be the first to transcend the limits of psychoanalysis, proposing a defined approach "Psychosynthesis". According to Assagioli, Psychosynthesis allows the individual to broaden his personal boundaries to realize the Transpersonal Self. It also seems that he was the first to coin the term Transpersonal Psychology.
Pierre WeilPierre Weil, author of the book "Man Without Borders", is one of the great Fathers of Transpersonal Psychology. He identified a series of boundaries that limit man in his world view, thus defining the areas of intervention of Transpersonal Psychology. These are: consciousness, memory, evolution and death.
Specificity and intent of Transpersonal PsychologyThe main prerogative of the transpersonal movement are the knowledge e transcendence of borders, acting with scientific methods for the development of the following theses: Consciousness is an incessant and unlimited flow. Limits exist only in the mind of man.
- Memory goes beyond phylogeny and can go back along the evolutionary day of the living to the very source of vital energy.
- Human evolution does not stop at the intellect or the stage of sexual maturity, but proceeds towards higher qualities: wisdom, love, humility, compassion, awareness, etc.
- Death is only a passage, an opportunity to know new dimensions of being.
Stan GrofStan Grof, was one of the first to come up with a transpersonal psychodynamic model, as well as one inner experience map and a psychotherapeutic methodology with a transpersonal approach.
Ken WilberKen Wilber he is arguably the most fertile transpersonal theorist still alive. He has come up with a model of development of consciousness which allows iintegrate the various psychological models: cognitive, moral, psychodynamic and spiritual.
Other important authorsOther authors who collaterally nourished the great river of the Transpersonal are Karen Horny with his concept of "True Self"
- Victor Frankl, which based his work on the search for meaning and on the notion of "self-transcendence"
- Carl rogers, which included the concept of "Transcendent spiritual power" among the characteristics of a fully functioning person
- Fritz Pearls, influenced by Zen in the elaboration of his Gestalt therapy