Transpersonal psychology (also known as transpersonal counselling) is a humanistic approach to therapy that was developed by American psychologist, Abraham Maslow in the 1960s. The term ‘transpersonal’ means ‘beyond the personal’, and this reflects the core aim of the therapy – to explore human growth and help people to discover a deep and more enduring essential self that exists beyond the conditioned ego.
Transpersonal therapists value wholeness – taking the view that the essential self is a combination of the transpersonal, self-transcendent and spiritual aspects of human experience. All of life’s experiences are considered valuable and growth enhancing, and every individual is treated according to their innate striving toward a higher reality. Ultimately, in transpersonal psychology healing and growth is approached through recognition of the centrality of self.
The methodology used to drive this therapeutic process is a combination of spiritual traditions from around the world, which are integrated with elements of contemporary psychology. This framework can help a wide range of individuals – including groups of people such as families and work colleagues. Clients of transpersonal psychology are expected to gain a complete understanding of themselves, their capacities, and their relationships, and will leave equipped with the skills to help them deal with these beyond therapy.
Transpersonal Psychology addresses the spiritual nature of humankind. Unlike religion and theology, its interest centres on the mind and behaviour; hence it is a branch of Psychology. All the major spiritual and mystical traditions of the world incorporate teachings about the nature of mind and promote behavioural practices intended – amongst other goals – to bring about psychological transformations. Transpersonal psychology addresses these teachings and practices, researching their value and evaluating their relationships to ideas promulgated in Psychology. In essence Transpersonal Psychology seeks to integrate non-scientific spiritual insights with observations and models associated with the rigorous methodological approach of psychological science.