Let’s Get Some Mysteries of Transpersonal Psychology

Have you ever experienced a sense of being a part of something greater than yourself? This could have happened during a religious rite or meditation practice, or it could have happened when you were enjoying art or being in nature.

The study of experiences that broaden our awareness beyond (transcendence) our unique sense of embodied identity (personal) is known as transpersonal psychology. These encounters can alter our perception of the world and elicit feelings of wonder, awe, joy, and calm. Charles Tart defined transpersonal psychology as follows: “Transpersonal psychology promotes self-realization, the awakening of each person’s spiritual nature, and the most authentic human traits.”

Emergence of Transpersonal Psychology

In psychology, it is the most recent development. To expand psychology’s scope and field of study to include spiritual inner experiences, the full range of states of consciousness, and the realisation of the self, it arose at the end of the 1960s as a logical development of humanistic psychology, following tendencies that supported the growth of human potential.

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Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, and Stanislav Grof, a psychiatrist, co-founded the discipline, which got its official start in the late 1960s. But transpersonal psychology also has its origins in the previous research of psychologists who were very interested in the spiritual side of human nature, including Carl Jung and William James.

Other noteworthy transpersonal psychology dates are as follows:
  • In 1969, the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology was released.
  • Establishment of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1971.
  • The International Transpersonal Association (ITA) was, established in 1978.
Three essential ideas are found in the term “transpersonal,” according to the ITA:
  • The quest to discover a deeper feeling of being;
  • Acknowledgment of what is sacred; and
  • Connection to a wider sense of existence

Scholars Lajoie and Shapiro made an effort to define transpersonal psychology at the beginning of the 1990s. Although there are differences throughout definitions, they indicated that the majority of explanations in this discipline revolve around a few essential elements. These encompass transcendence, higher potential, spirituality, and other states of consciousness.

Transpersonal Psychology vs. Parapsychology

There are occasions when parapsychology and transpersonal psychology are confounded. It’s crucial to remember that the two are not interchangeable, though.

Parapsychology, formerly known as psychical research, is believed to have evolved from the roots of spiritualism and mesmerism. Telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, ESP, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, reincarnation, hauntings, and poltergeists are all aspects of parapsychology. The first attempts to examine spiritualists’ and mediums’ experiences scientifically led to the beginning of parapsychological research.

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According to Lajoie & Shapiro (1992), transpersonal psychology is “concerned with the study of humanity’s highest potential, as well as with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of unconsciousness. Situations or interactions that make us feel like we are a part of something bigger and more meaningful than ourselves are referred to as transpersonal, which means “beyond the person.” First to use the term “transpersonal,” William James was similarly impacted by nitrous oxide ingestion. Furthermore, the usage of psychedelic drugs by young people in America and Europe had a significant impact on the advancement of transpersonal psychology.

Transpersonal psychology and Science

Friedman (2002) investigated the relationship between transpersonal psychology and science and came to the conclusion that transpersonal psychology should be obligated to a scientific commitment due to the field’s historical roots, the ethical and legal ramifications of its affiliation with the scientific psychology discipline, and the field’s significance for human survival and advancement.

The majority of people would define scientific psychology as one in which hypotheses are developed based on and verified by actual observations. In particular, transpersonal psychology with a scientific foundation would support theories that can, in theory, be refuted by controlled experiments or firsthand experience. This does not imply that all practitioners of scientific psychology accept adequate approaches. Science operates under the tenet of reproducibility.

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Regardless of where psychological research is at the moment, Many others concur with Friedman (2002) that the value of transpersonal psychology for “Human survival and betterment” calls for adopting the scientific approach rather than promoting hearsay and popular belief. Tart (1972) offered a paradigm for this embrace many years ago. States of consciousness (SoC) are made up of “state-specific perceptions and logics,” according to Tart (1998).

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