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Transpersonal psychology stands at the interface of psychology and spiritual experience. It is the field of psychology which integrates psychological concepts, theories, and methods with the subject matter and practices of the spiritual disciplines. Its interests include spiritual experiences, mystical states of consciousness, mindfulness and meditative practices, shamanic states, ritual, the overlap of spiritual experiences and disturbed states such as psychosis and depression, and the transpersonal dimensions of relationships, service, and encounters with the natural world. The central concept in Transpersonal Psychology is self-transcendence, or a sense of identity which is deeper, broader, and more unified with the whole. The root of the term, transpersonal or literally "beyond the mask," refers to this self-transcendence.

Its orientation is inclusive, valuing and integrating the following:

  • psychology and the spiritual,
  • the personal and the transpersonal,
  • exceptional mental health and suffering,
  • ordinary and non-ordinary states of consciousness,
  • modern Western perspectives, Eastern perspectives, post-modern insights, and worldviews of indigenous traditions,
  • and analytical intellect and contemplative ways of of knowing.

Transpersonal psychology is not a religion; it does not present a belief system or provide an institutional structure. Rather, it is a field of inquiry which offers insights based on research and experience and provides practices for evaluating and confirming or disconfirming its findings.

Transpersonal psychology has benefits for both psychology and the spiritual disciplines. Psychology can expand toward a fuller and richer accounting of the full range of human experience. The spiritual disciplines can incorporate insights and skills about human development, healing, and growth to deal more skillfully with the psychological issues that arise during the spiritual search. It also provides perspectives on spiritual systems to help understand their similarities and differences.

This field includes theory, research, and practice. For more on the definition, history, and development of transpersonal psychology, see the articles I have included in this site, "Introduction to Transpersonal Psychology" and "We Keep Asking Ourselves, What is Transpersonal Psychology?" You can also go to some of the LINKS related to Transpersonal Psychology for others' definitions.

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