What Is Transpersonal Psychology?

Updated October 11, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are many types of psychology designed to let you live a long, fulfilling life. One such type of psychology is transpersonal. What is transpersonal psychology, and what can it do for you? In this post, we will discuss transpersonal psychology and explain more about it.

Transpersonal Psychology

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To figure out what transpersonal psychology is, we should break down the name of the field. Trans means “beyond,” and personal means “personality.” Transpersonal psychology is a psychology field that studies beyond someone’s personality. For many, this is soul searching or finding their true self.

Transpersonal psychology is typically focused on one’s spiritual side, or it looks at your ego in places that few dare venture to. Because of the spiritual aspect of transpersonal psychology, there are religious ties. The concepts of life beyond death and different levels of consciousness are often explored.

This reason has made transpersonal psychology interesting to study. Some people may find it to be bunk because it is studying concepts that science can’t prove. Others may like it for going beyond what we know. With all that said, how did it get started?

History Of Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal psychology began thanks to the drug culture of the 1960s. When everyone experimented with psychedelic drugs, two psychologists from Harvard, Timothy Leary, and Richard Alpert decided to study them. They used LSD, mushrooms, and other psychedelic drugs to find other states of consciousness and discover parts of the human psyche beyond our normal reach.

Taking drugs to study was frowned upon at Harvard, and Harvard soon fired them. However, their experience helped create the transpersonal psychology we love. Shortly after, transpersonal psychology was created, and it evolved from there.

Does transpersonal psychology still use drugs? Is the field an excuse for people to get high? Not at all. In most mainstream circles, transpersonal psychology does not use psychedelic drugs. Instead, they look for other ways to study what is beyond what we know. As a result, transpersonal psychology is an always growing and evolving field and one that’s worth checking out for many reasons.

What Transpersonal Psychology Can Do For You

A transpersonal psychologist believes that the whole self-needs to be healthy to have the best performance in life. Transpersonal psychology believes that there is a part of your body that is often ignored. Your physical body is taken care of by a medical doctor. A psychologist in the traditional field will treat your mental symptoms. So what does a transpersonal psychologist do? Simply put, they help treat your soul, which is ignored in most scientific fields, according to what they believe.

What a soul is will differ from person to person. For some, it’s the immortal part of you that goes to another plane of existence after your death. For others, the soul is more metaphorical, and it means the traits that make you, you. Whatever your belief of the soul is, transpersonal psychology focuses on the idea that we are more than our physical body, and different levels of consciousness need caring. By studying transpersonal psychology, a person can help increase their self-actualization levels and live a better life.

Who ATranspersonal Psychologist Helps

A transpersonal psychologist helps many people, and here are a few people they can help.

  • Those who feel like their spiritual life needs more care. These people often want to visit beyond their normal consciousness or improve their relationship with a higher being they believe in. A transpersonal psychologist can help a person look at their spiritual side.
  • Those people who want to find themselves. This can mean finding your purpose, your personality, or just your place in this confusing world. A transpersonal psychologist can help you by changing some of your negative behaviors or helping with their relationship issues.

To accomplish this, they use many techniques used by traditional therapy. For example, a transpersonal psychologist may use talk therapy, which is what most traditional psychologists use. Instead of just talking to someone and guiding them through their feelings, a transpersonal psychologist will integrate spirituality into it. Here are some techniques they use.

  • Meditation is good for calming your nerves, but it’s used as well to reach another plane of existence. A transpersonal psychologist will use different types of meditation to help you with your spiritual side.
  • Dreamwork. Your dreams are said to be a look into the world beyond the conscious. A transpersonal psychologist will look at your dreams and try to find the meaning of them. They may make you lucid dream, where you can control your dreams by being aware of them.
  • Altered states of consciousness. A transpersonal psychologist may alter your consciousness of helping you find yourself. They may do that through hypnotism or drugs, though the latter isn’t used much anymore.
  • Near-death experiences. The near-death experience has been a subject of fascination for many years. When someone has a brush with death, they may detach themselves from their body, hallucinate, have their life flash before their eyes, or have a religious experience. A near-death experience is said to be a peek at life beyond our conscious. Skeptics argue that it’s a response from our brains when faced with a deadly situation. Either way, transpersonal psychologists study the many near-death experiences and try to find meaning in them.
  • Music therapy. Some transpersonal psychologists will use music to help a person stay calm, reach their goals, or reach the next level of consciousness. Music therapy is used in many different parts of psychology and is not just limited to transpersonal psychology.
  • Peak experiences. This is the feeling of euphoria one gets when they experience self-actualization. Someone who has a peak experience may display it through a small activity, or the activity could be intense. Transpersonal psychology wants people to achieve their peak experiences and also studies how people display peak experiences.
  • Mindfulness involves being aware of the present and not letting the past or future occupy your mind. It involves heightened sensations that allow a person to see the world around them in much more detail. Mindfulness is a concept that’s in many forms of psychology and not just transpersonal psychology. There are many ways to be more mindful, and a transpersonal psychologist can find the way that’s best for you.
  • This studies concepts that cannot be proven scientifically, such as reincarnation, telepathy, psychokinesis, ghosts, and any other paranormal experience. Because of the nature of what it studies, parapsychology is seen as pseudoscience. But for believers or just the curious, it is interesting.
  • Every aspect related to the spiritual side of you is studied in transpersonal psychology.

They’ll use other types of therapies as well, which are designed to help the person see beyond their mortal body. It can control how one sees their life and the others around them, too.

Where Can You Find A Transpersonal Psychologist?

Transpersonal psychology isn’t a traditional outlook on psychology, so you’re not going to find them in traditional clinics or hospitals. You may find one at a spa or a retreat that deals with spirituality. There may be some mental health clinics that have them, but they are rare. You may also find transpersonal professors at some colleges who teach the concept to students.

This allows the patients to work at their own pace and visit any time.

Educational Training Of A Transpersonal Psychologist

Like a normal psychologist, a transpersonal psychologist needs to have a variety of education and to study to get the career of their dreams. With that said, a transpersonal psychology degree is rare, so most transpersonal psychologists will need a general or counseling psychology degree before they move on. Many transpersonal psychologists will have Master’s or PhDs. Someone also needs to have a powerful spiritual background to have a degree.

A transpersonal psychologist’s income is not easy to find, as there aren’t many registered people. The general guess is that a transpersonal psychologist earns as much as other psychologists, who make around $70K per year. Most transpersonal psychologists aren’t in it for the money and instead discover humanity’s side beyond the physical.

Can Transpersonal Psychology Benefit Me?

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Transpersonal psychology is for the spiritual or those who want to have their spiritual side explored. However, it can benefit those who aren’t as spiritual or are curious about the concept of spirituality. While it’s a relatively obscure form of psychology, it has helped many people, and it’s worth trying if you are at least a bit curious.

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