What Is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?
Transpersonal psychotherapy is a spiritual form of talking therapy that aids the exploration of the self. It was first developed in the 1960s and was influenced by leading figures in psychology and psychotherapy, such as Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli, and Abraham Maslow. It was intended to be the “fourth force” in psychology, after humanism, psychoanalysis and behavioral psychology.
The approach draws on a combination of modern psychology and spiritual tools to focus on the experience of being human. Like solution-focused therapy models, transpersonal psychotherapy explores positivity and potential for the future rather than focusing on specific problems or challenges.
Transpersonal Therapy: How Does It Work?
Unlike many other forms of talking therapy, transpersonal therapy is not solely focused on the individual. In fact, according to the Harley Therapy Counselling Blog, ‘the word ‘transpersonal' refers to how we have experiences in life that place us beyond just our own self, but where we feel connected to others and to a greater whole.'
Transpersonal therapy explores the idea that all things in life are interconnected, and that viewing ourselves as one part of a whole (rather than as separate entities) can aid healing. It helps those who are struggling to find their purpose in life, as well as anyone who wants to find a higher purpose. The spiritual model integrates different components of human existence (spiritual, social, emotional, physical, creative and intellectual) and brings them together as one complete element.
Techniques Used in Transpersonal Therapy
Transpersonal therapy uses a variety of tools and techniques to create a bond of trust between the therapist and the client. The aim is for you – the client – to feel comfortable enough with your therapist to explore your spiritual self and open up about your thoughts and feelings. Many transpersonal therapy techniques were once seen as non-traditional. However, due to the popularity of meditation and mindfulness, many of these approaches are now seen as commonplace.
Transpersonal therapy techniques include:
Meditation: Meditation has been proven to alleviate conditions like anxiety, depression and PTSD, and many mental health practitioners now endorse it as a treatment.
Dreamwork: Both Freud and Jung used dreamwork in their therapy sessions. It is not uncommon for dream analysis to be a feature in transpersonal therapy. You may be asked to talk about your dreams or keep a dream journal.
Creativity: You may be asked to draw or paint a picture or create a model to demonstrate how you are feeling or to express your spiritual self. Other creative exercises might include journaling and music therapy.
Hypnosis: Many therapists now use hypnosis and visualization to help people achieve their goals, think more positively and deepen their spiritual understanding.
Transpersonal Therapy Counseling Psychology: Who Does It Help?
In counseling psychology, transpersonal therapy is a holistic approach that emphasizes the role of a healthy spirit. It can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, addiction, depression and other mood and behavior disorders. It can be also beneficial to anyone looking to explore their spiritual side or who is interested in spiritual wellbeing.
In basic terms, transpersonal therapy is ‘heartfelt' rather than theory-driven, which has been viewed as a criticism. Although it has not yet been recognized as a scientific field of study, this approach builds on several fields of psychology, many of which are backed by empirical research.
Smith, E. (2019, September 26). What Is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/what-is-transpersonal-psychotherapy