What Is Transpersonal Therapy?

By Nicola Kirkpatrick

Updated December 18, 2018

Reviewer Kay Adkins, LPC

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As with most variations of talk therapy, transpersonal therapy has the power to improve a person's view of life and increase their confidence in themselves. It can help the person heal from a variety of events as well as encourage positive body-mind relations to improve the overall quality of life. Transpersonal therapy takes a holistic approach to talk therapy by focusing not only on the mind but the wellness of the spirit. It hones in on the physical, mental, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual needs of the individual. This personalized approach facilitates healing and growth for a happier and healthier adult.

What Does Transpersonal Therapy Treat?

A variety of disorders are treated with transpersonal therapy. Depression, anxiety, mood and behavioral disorders, and phobias are among the list of disorders that it might treat. Those individuals who seek a more spiritual approach to their daily issues will find this treatment beneficial. In Transpersonal Therapy, the individual will learn to develop new coping mechanisms to deal with past and current issues and gain insight into repeated behaviors. Also, those individuals who are searching to become in tune with their spiritual needs will find solace in this approach.

How Does It Work?

When one is only focusing on problems, it is difficult to see the bigger picture. This can also prevent from further developing any skills. Perhaps the artistically inclined lack the motivation to create art because of depression or anxiety interrupts thoughts about how work will be perceived. With transpersonal therapy, individuals can regain confidence to pursue those passions that has been lost.

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The transpersonal therapy uses a combination of approaches that include Western and Eastern philosophy, mysticism, behaviorism, and cognitive psychology. It also takes influence from the world's religions as it recognized other cultures strides in the mind-body relationship conversation. This widens the gaze of the person as a whole is important in this therapy.

A transpersonal therapist teaches how to cope with specific disorders including:

  • Meditation - this typically involves sitting still, focusing on breathing, and creating a calm environment in which to clear your mind.
  • Drawing mandalas - a mindfulness technique that helps focus on clearing the mind and coping with past traumas.
  • Journaling - provides the power to see problems and determine which ones require energy. It can also help get those icky emotions out, so they are not carried around all day.
  • Music therapy - this can include dancing, listening, and creating music to facilitate healing and growth. Those who are creative will find this notably beneficial.
  • Mindfulness techniques - this includes focusing on breathing, surroundings, and sensations. It helps to center the individual, so the individual is more prepared to handle daily stressors.
  • Visualization - this is a form of guided meditation where one can safely create spaces of comfort to help when not feeling well or not coping properly.
  • Hypnotherapy - the therapist will guide the individual to a safe place in the mind to uncover any hidden potentials or any problems that is holding the individual back.

These techniques helps explore personal self-concepts and personal passions. By exploring the spiritual self, you can create more meaning in life and improve inner strengths that have always been present. This can provide balance and improve overall wellness.

Where Did It Come From?

Abraham Maslow developed this holistic and humanistic approach in the 1960's with some other psychologists such as Carl Jung and Roberto Assagioli. Maslow is most popularly known for creating his Hierarchy of Needs that focuses on the basic needs of the individual for optimum thriving. He believed that humans become dull and nihilistic without the other aspects of their needs being met, the "other" being those that are transcendent beyond tangible observance. Through spiritual cultivation and healing, the individual thrives as a human.

How Is It Different Than Other Therapies?

Rather than focusing on the negative events or negative thoughts, transpersonal therapy focuses on the positives. What skills does the person have that can be celebrated and encouraged? What have they already done that is healthy and worth acknowledging? It takes your human potential and pushes you to cultivate already developed skills.

Transpersonal therapy doesn't see the individual as being separate from the world, but rather a piece of the whole. Individuals are seen as part of their natural surroundings, with the understanding that all are influenced by what is surrounding. Therefore, your surroundings will influence you. By making changes to better your surroundings or to improve an overall spiritual connection, one can improve their personal environment and self.

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The therapist isn't seen as the only one who has the tools and expertise to help. This particular therapy focuses on what the individual can do instead of what the therapist can offer. The therapist becomes the facilitator in this instance, and you are the counselee becomes the one who uncovering their personal truths. It is important to remember that the person is the one in control of healing and well-being. The therapist will help uncover personal truths as the individual works through therapy.

What Is The Relationship Between Mind And Body?

Think of it this way: when eating a lot of unhealthy food, the mind is affected as well as your body. A lack of exercise and hydration can make the body sore and brain lag. It will require more effort to accomplish daily tasks, do chores, and get any mental work done. When bodies are taken care of the mind thrives.

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Taking care of your spirit does much of the same. Being more mindful can help you cope with previous events in your life by accepting them and allowing those emotions to pass through you as they surface. You're not allowing them to take over. Practicing meditation can help you get into the habit of being mindful as well as increase relaxation. When you're constantly moving through the cycle of working and getting chores done, you can easily forget to take time for yourself. These skills help you pay attention to your body and mind to better care for it.

Taking care of the spirit does much of the same. Being more mindful can help cope with previous traumatic events or situations in life by accepting them and allowing those emotions to pass through as they surface. Practicing meditation can help get into the habit of being mindful as well as increase relaxation. When constantly moving through the cycle of working and getting chores done, one can easily forget to take time for personal development. These skills help increase attention to your body and mind to better care for it.

Is Transpersonal Therapy Right For You?

That depends on what one believes will be of most benefit. When seeking therapy services, it can be overwhelming to find the right fit. The most popular therapies for people suffering from most mental disorders are cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, and cognitive analytic therapy to name a few. When looking for a personal approach that puts the individual in the driver's seat and gives the one tools to find a personal center, then transpersonal therapy may be a fit for that person.

The holistic approach can be appealing to those who are already spiritual, bolstering their own beliefs about their mind-body relations. It can improve connection to your spiritual beliefs as well as encourage to seek that guidance when in need. Asking for help can be the hardest part of seeking treatment, but transpersonal therapy can help accept that sometimes help is needed to get through life. And that's okay!

Additionally, when seeking to enrich the connections in life, it can be constructive to use transpersonal therapy for that. It reminds the individual that that connections are just as important to well-being. After all, the people we choose to be around influence us whether we realize it or not. To choose friends who want to see personal learning and growth will encourage that. Those who are selfish and only use you for their gain will be a drain on your connection and ultimately lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Where Can Transpersonal Therapy Be Found?

Most often, a transpersonal therapist can be found in most cities by doing an internet search. Their offices can help find the right therapist that will guide a person on their personal journey to an improved quality of life. Since the results can be particularly overwhelming, sometimes starting with online services can be much easier. BetterHelp offers these services for those seeking treatment through the following link: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/

Investing in your health is the key to improving your quality of life with whatever therapy you might choose. But it all starts with you. When you invest in yourself, the results are a healthier you.

For additional information about transpersonal therapy and psychology, check out the following links:

Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/therapy-types/transpersonal-therapy

Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-facts-about-transpersonal-psychology/

Good Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/transpersonal-psychotherapy

Harley Therapy Counseling Blog. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/what-is-transpersonal-therapy.htm


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