Transpersonal and Depth Psychology

Depth Psychology refers to therapeutic approaches that are open to the exploration of the subtle, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience.  Transpersonal Psychology is over 100 years old.

cognitive_swirlThe word ‘transpersonal’ was coined by Harvard Psychology and Philosophy Professor William James while presenting a series of lectures at Edinburgh University (Gifford Lectures in 1902) meaning to transcend the boundaries of the individual Self. Transpersonal Psychology is closely aligned with the work of the famous Swiss psychiatrist Dr Carl Jung, who understood it to include anything that is beyond the personal ego. It is also linked to the work of American psychologist Dr Abraham Maslow who introduced the concept of self-actualisation in the early 1950s.

Transpersonal Psychology has evolved into a fully comprehensive discipline that integrates the spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, physical and creative being into one complete element and addresses these six components during therapy. Transpersonal Psychology is a non-pathologising and strength affirming therapeutic approach that embraces the study of mind-body relations, spirituality, consciousness, and human transformation.  It is aligned to some of the Eastern spiritual traditions that use meditation, Yoga, QiGong and mindfulness techniques for personal growth.

Transpersonal Psychology does not subscribe to a specific unified model of psychotherapy nor is it religious. It encourages the possibility of positive growth and the realisation of human potential through the exploration and discovery of different states of consciousness and asserts that each has multiple layers that hold their own realities and systems. It proposes that people can move back and forth through the different stages of consciousness and can learn to reside permanently in one specific state.

How does it work?

At The Oxford Development Centre we tailor all our therapeutic approaches to each person’s individual needs and requirements, taking into account their own aims for recovery, healing and growth. Transpersonal Psychology involves deeper level work that requires a person’s openness and willingness to explore and understand who they are.  Transpersonal Psychology can help clients gain greater self-awareness and enable them to accept, love and integrate those aspects of themselves that they might previously not have known or may have found difficult to embrace. This process frequently enables a person to find greater meaning in life and a connection to their own spirituality. Clients can experience it as very empowering to be able to explore a spiritual dimension as part of their therapeutic process.

Our therapists are able to explore and integrate these deeper level therapeutic approaches with clients who are ready and wish to engage in such work.  Our therapists are committed to their own personal growth processes and deeply respect and honour each client’s individual path. Transpersonal and Depth Psychology do not suit everyone and life circumstances would have to be right. Sometimes this work can arise out of traumatic experiences and people often find that they need to have reached a certain level of maturity before they feel drawn to want to engage in such work. We will always assess a client’s suitability for such an approach even if they express interest in such deeper-level work.

Dr Herbert is a member of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of The British Psychological Society and all therapists have studied aspects of these approaches at varying levels of depth and can embed these as part of their therapeutic work if appropriate.

Inspiration

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon, I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain!

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with you, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the exstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.  I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have, I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Native American Elder