Transpersonal therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that not only includes, but emphasizes spirituality. We all have access to our spiritual nature and "inner healer" within, and in fact, this is the primary healing force in transpersonal therapy.
As a therapist, I integrate multiple methods when working with my clients. My work fits into the categories of “holistic,” “experiential,” “alternative,” and “transpersonal.” If you are unfamiliar with the concept of “transpersonal therapy,” this blog post will teach you more about it.
What is Transpersonal Psychology?
Transpersonal psychology is holistic, and not only includes, but emphasizes spirituality. We are, as Teilhard De Chardin said, “not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” We all have access to our spiritual nature and our own innate healing potential within. In fact, this is the primary healing force in transpersonal therapy. As such, transpersonal psychology moves beyond talk therapy and thought analysis as primary change methods. Instead, transpersonal psychology sees us as mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, creative, and intellectual beings. These inner qualities are innate and inseparable.
Transpersonal psychology can include (but does not always include, and is not limited to) meditation, guided visualization, hypnotherapy, dreamwork, art, music, shadow work, mindfulness, breath work, and psychedelic medicine.
Observed Benefits of Transpersonal Therapy
Transpersonal therapy offers numerous benefits that go beyond what talk therapy is able to offer. Here are several benefits I have observed (although they are not guaranteed).
Transpersonal therapy helps you feel more connected to every part of yourself, your higher self, other people, and the universe. I hold the view that much of our emotional, mental, physical, environmental, and cultural illness is due to a “disease of disconnection.” Our individualistic, extractive, and achievement-oriented society has left us alienated from our bodies, ourselves, our environment, our emotions, and each other. The result of this is disconnection, imbalance, and loneliness. Transpersonal therapy opens you back up again to help you realize and viscerally feel your interconnection with all things. This leads many people to feel a sense of peace, connection, and unity.
It helps you access wisdom and guidance that is otherwise unavailable through your conscious mind alone. Have you sought advice from friends, books, or articles, and still felt confused? Have you thought or talked about your problems over and over without making any real progress or insight? With transpersonal methods, you can access inner wisdom through altered states of awareness. This wisdom can be very powerful and transformative in your waking life. It can also feel deeper and more profound than any advice you could get from someone else (even from me), because it comes from within you!
Transpersonal methods help you open up out of a contracted state. You may have been struggling with the same patterns or symptoms for a long time. You may have tried to think or behave your way out of them to no avail. Your life may have even started to revolve around these problems. Transpersonal therapy helps connect you to resources, guidance, and meaning beyond your symptoms and familiar personality patterns to help you open up.
You step into the driver’s seat as your own healer. Instead of being told or taught what to do, with transpersonal therapy, you are your own inner healer. I am just the facilitator. I ask you the right questions and help you open up to your own wisdom, insight, and innate healing potential. This is very empowering for you. Over time, you will rely more and more on your own inner knowing instead of other sources of authority for direction in your life.
Transpersonal psychology helps you connect to a sense of meaning. Existential psychotherapists have long said that lack of meaning contributes to mental health issues. In our modern world, it is becoming even more challenging to find meaning as faith in our old institutions feels like it is breaking down and polarization and misinformation abound. Transpersonal psychology helps you connect to meaning that comes from within and makes sense for you. From this place, even life’s challenges take on beauty and richness.
Transpersonal therapy helps you reframe life’s struggles, traumas, and triggers as opportunities for personal and spiritual evolution. From a transpersonal viewpoint, everything we encounter in life, whether awe-inspiring or challenging, is an opportunity for growth. This helps you face the anxieties, emotional ups and downs, and hardships that are inevitable in life with more purpose and centeredness.
Through transpersonal counseling, you can integrate both insight and experience. You learn more about yourself and how you came to be the way you are. This helps you experience greater clarity. Additionally, you can experience healing on a deep level. We do this through focused trauma work with the help of your core self, higher self, and guidance. This feels more complete than insight or experience alone.
Is Transpersonal Therapy Right for You?
You may be wondering if transpersonal therapy is right for you. I have found that this method tends to be best suited to those who are seeking meaning, have a desire to “go deeper” and explore, want to find or walk along a spiritual path, or include spirituality in their healing journey. It is also helpful for those who are holistically-minded and naturally see the world and themselves as complex systems. They see themselves as the synthesis of their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual selves.
Some people choose transpersonal therapy as their first therapy experience, since it aligns with their worldview. Others have tried other methods before, such as talk therapy, self-help books, affirmations, or journaling. They recognize the validity and value of these resources, but know they want something "more" and want help embarking on a deeper path.
Many people who work with me share the following in common:
Most of them are “seekers” and see themselves as “spiritual” (or they would like to explore this part of themself).
They also sometimes say that “my last therapist and I talked and I got a lot of insight, but I feel like I need something more to address the root of the problem”
They often tell me that they have an intuition that they need something “deeper”
Some of them say that "I've been looking for a therapist for a long time who will understand and validate my spiritual side. I know there's a lot of power in spirituality to help me heal the root of my problems, but I don't know how to do it on my own."
How I Practice Transpersonal Psychology as a Therapist
I don’t tell you what to believe, but I do help you tap into your own inner guidance so you can find the answers within.
I may offer insight from various wisdom traditions, such as Buddhism or Shamanism (but only with your consent)
I help you look at your personality and patterns from the expanded, compassionate view of your “higher self” and/or your “core self”
I see you as a holistic being and take an integrative approach. I take into account biology, evolution, the nervous system, and the body, as well as transpersonal and spiritual ways of knowing. I honor both rational/left brain and holistic/right brain perspectives
I recognize the significance of the relationships, families, lineages, and systems you are embedded in
I help you identify and heal any traumas underlying your symptoms
Methods I Use
Each transpersonal therapist's approach will be different. Some therapists may use primarily breathwork and meditation, others primarily art and dream work, for example. Below are the methods I use.
Depth Hypnosis: Depth Hypnosis is a holistic and transpersonal counseling method that uses a lightly altered state of awareness to help you explore and heal your inner world for self-discovery, healing, and transformation. It integrates hypnosis, energy medicine, Applied Shamanism, and Buddhist Psychology. Read more here.
Internal Family Systems: Internal Family Systems sees our personalities as "families" of different parts of the self. When functioning in harmony, these parts can work together for our common good. When we are wounded in life, our inner system becomes imbalanced, which leads to symptoms and further suffering. IFS helps you recognize, love, heal, and integrate all parts of who you are. Read more here.
Applied Shamanism: "Shamanism" refers to earth-based wisdom that is indigenous around the world. In fact, if you trace your lineage back far enough, you likely had ancestors who lived with shamans in their tribe or village or were shamans themselves! The word "shaman" simply means "one who knows." Shamanic healing is a journey of knowing - about the self and the world. Applied Shamanism is an integral part of Depth Hypnosis and can also be practiced on its own. I teach shamanic journeying to clients who are interested in it.
Dreamwork: When we dream, we enter an altered state of awareness. From this state, we can access different perspectives, guidance, and subconscious information about the self. You are welcome to bring your dreams into sessions.
Meditation: I am a believer in the power of meditation. I sometimes spend a few sessions teaching clients how to do mindfulness of breathing, deep breathing, or other meditation methods as needed or upon request. You are always welcome to ask me questions about meditation.
If you're interested in trying transpersonal therapy, you are welcome to request a consult here. Please feel free to mention any methods you're particularly interested in! See you in session,