Unlike most forms of psychotherapy that concentrate on improving mental health, transpersonal therapy takes a more holistic approach, addressing mental, physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual needs, with an emphasis on the role of a healthy spirit in healing. To facilitate healing and growth, transpersonal therapy places great emphasis on honesty, open-mindedness, and self-awareness on the part of the therapist as well as the client.
When It’s Used
Transpersonal therapy is used to treat anxiety, depression, addictions, phobias, and other mood and behavioral problems. Those who are open to exploring their spiritual side, becoming more spiritually aware, or finding a spiritual path, or who are having trouble finding meaning in their life, may benefit from transpersonal therapy.
What to Expect
Transpersonal therapists use meditation, guided visualization, hypnotherapy, dream work, art, music, journaling, mindfulness practices, and other techniques that can help you explore your spiritual self and create meaning in your life. With the therapist’s guidance, you will find, build, and expand on your inner strengths and resources to create a more balanced life and a healthier state of mind.
How It Works
Transpersonal therapy is a holistic healing intervention that evolved from the humanistic work of American psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1960s. It integrates traditional spiritual rituals into modern psychology and emphasizes positive influences and role models rather than concentrating on negative experiences. This intervention is based on the idea that humans are more than mind and body but are also composed of intangible, or transcendent, factors that make up the whole person. Just as your mind and body sometimes require treatment, your spirituality and other intangible aspects of yourself often require healing of a sort. A transpersonal therapist may draw from a variety of different religions and spiritual practices for tools and methods that can help you explore various levels of consciousness and use your spirituality to guide you through troubled times.
What to Look for in a Transpersonal Therapist
Look for an experienced licensed or certified counselor, psychotherapist, or other mental health professional with additional training in holistic forms of healing and one or more spiritual pathways. In addition to these credentials, it is important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable working.
- Grof S. A brief history of transpersonal psychology.
- Friedman, H. Finding meaning through transpersonal approaches in clinical psychology: Assessments and psychotherapies. International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy. 1 July 2014;5(1):45–49.