Sunday, February 26, 2006

Transpersonal Psychology

This semester, I have been taking a class that is not your run-of-the-mill psychology class. Where most psych classes are strongly science and theory based, this subject is not. Maybe that is why this particular viewpoint, called Transpersonal Psychology, is not accepted and approved by the APA (American Psychological Association). It’s too bad, because in the words of one of my fellow students “It take into consideration things that traditional psychology leaves out.”

Transpersonal psychology can be defined as the field of psychology which integrates psychological concepts, theories, and methods with subject matter and practices of the spiritual disciplines. According to my professor it where psychology, philosophy and the spiritual come together. Another meaning can be taken from the root of the term, transpersonal, which means "beyond the mask."

Some of the core concepts and topics in this branch of psychology reveal the range of topics. These core concepts include Non-Duality (at the core of all existence, everything and everybody is one), Basic Goodness, and Intrinsic Health as well the topics as peak experiences, meditation, levels of consciousness, and transcendence.

It is interesting that in this branch of psychology that any way of learning and knowing is considered a valid path to gain information. Many times these ways of knowing can not be measured and observed by another person. Transpersonal Psych asks why that should make it any less valid if it can’t be observed by another. It is still part of your reality.

This, to me, is an interesting point. There are many things that I just seem “to know” by what ever method – experience, intuition, etc – that other people will never experience in the way that I do. Does that make my knowledge wrong?

A different way to look at this situation is taking it from the point of view of another person. If someone comes up with another answer for the same situation through their experience, does that make them wrong? I would have to say no. That is how people end up with a different of opinion regarding a certain subject. That is why people have different viewpoints which are based their experiences. And that is how our base of information grows.

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