Last Updated on December 15, 2022
Transpersonal psychology courses can be used to change the way you see life. Learning about these subjects can help you improve your relationships and even make you feel more connected than ever. These subjects are not only fun to learn but they have also been shown to improve a students self-confidence and motivation. The information here will guide you through the topics that make up transpersonal psychology so that you can decide if they are right for you!
Read more about transpersonal psychology courses online, what does a transpersonal psychologist do, transpersonal psychology salary, and transpersonal psychology certificate and transpersonal counseling degree. You can also find articles related to transpersonal psychology courses europe on collegelearners.
Transpersonal psychology, or spiritual psychology, is a sub-field or school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology. The transpersonal is defined as “experiences in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos”. It has also been defined as “development beyond conventional, personal or individual levels”.
Issues considered in transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, self beyond the ego, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance, spiritual crises, spiritual evolution, religious conversion, altered states of consciousness, spiritual practices, and other sublime and/or unusually expanded experiences of living. The discipline attempts to describe and integrate spiritual experience within modern psychological theory and to formulate new theory to encompass such experience. The Transpersonal Psychology Day is celebrated on February 27th.
The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology began publication in 1969 and in 1971 the Association for Transpersonal Psychology was established. While the field did not formally begin until the late 1960s, it has its roots in early work by psychologists including William James and Carl Jung who were deeply interested in the spiritual aspects of human nature.
In addition to using psychology to better understand spiritual experiences, transpersonal psychology also strives to provide a deeper and richer understanding of individuals and to help them achieve their greatest potential.
Transpersonal psychology is a label for a type of psychological theory that embraces a wide variety of ideas that have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the mind and behavior. Transpersonal psychology looks at the whole human experience.
While not all definitions of transpersonal psychology are exactly the same, researchers Lajoie and Shapiro have suggested that there are several key factors that figure into most explanations of this field. These include spirituality, higher potential, transcendence and other states of consciousness.
In her 2009 book Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path, Mariana Caplan wrote:
“Transpersonal psychologists attempt to integrate timeless wisdom with modern Western psychology and translate spiritual principles into scientifically grounded, contemporary language. Transpersonal psychology addresses the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development—from our deepest wounds and needs to the existential crisis of the human being, to the most transcendent capacities of our consciousness.”
Instead of focusing on one school of psychological thought, or even just one discipline, transpersonal psychology seeks to incorporate a broad array of ideas, disciplines, and theories like philosophy, literature, health theories, art, social theory, cognition science, and different spiritual traditions, says Sofia University, formerly the Insitute of Transpersonal Psychology. Sofia University is a private institution that was initially founded to educate students in transpersonal psychology and continues to pass on transpersonal values.
Although transpersonal psychology is not often explored in traditional psychology programs, there is increasing interest in this perspective and how theories and ideas from this field can be applied to different subfields of psychology. Mindfulness meditation, for example, is one element of transpersonal psychology that is becoming more popularly used.
Difference From Parapsychology
Transpersonal psychology is sometimes confused with parapsychology, although it is important to note that the two are not the same. While transpersonal psychology focuses on the spiritual side of human nature, parapsychology is concerned with the paranormal, such as psychic phenomena, including precognition, clairvoyance, near-death experiences, and psychokinesis.
The following are just a few of the areas of research interest:
- Music therapy
- Guided imagery and visualization
- Peak experiences
- Near-death experiences
- Meditation, including mindfulness
- Spirituality and psychology
Transpersonal psychology, also known as transpersonal counselling, was developed by American psychologist, Abraham Maslow in the 1960s. The term ‘transpersonal’ means ‘beyond the personal’, and this reflects the core aim of the therapy – to explore human growth and help people to discover a deep and more enduring essential self that exists beyond the conditioned ego.
The methodology behind this therapeutic process is a combination of spiritual traditions from around the world, which are integrated with elements of contemporary psychology. This framework can help a wide range of individuals – including groups of people such as families and work colleagues.
Those who undergo transpersonal psychology are expected to gain a complete understanding of themselves, their capacities, and their relationships, and will leave equipped with the skills to help them deal with these beyond therapy.
What is transpersonal psychology?
Transpersonal psychology is a humanistic approach to therapy which values wholeness. The essential self is a combination of the transpersonal, self-transcendent and spiritual aspects of human experience. All of life’s experiences are considered valuable and growth enhancing, and every individual is treated according to their innate striving toward a higher reality. Ultimately, in transpersonal psychology healing and growth is approached through recognition of the centrality of self.
Transpersonal psychology does not view human personality as limited, instead, it sees certain character traits and attributes as a mask of our true essence. So, therapists who subscribe to transpersonal psychology believe that human growth begins with people who are hindered from reaching their potential, for instance, those suffering from a psychological disorder.
Our beings are merely the shell that transports our souls through life and, therefore, who we are consciously is only a window to our transpersonal selves. This is why transpersonal psychology addresses, equally, all aspects of our being (spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, physical and creative) to help us heal and grow. By enhancing all our inner capacities we can become powerful vessels for long-term change.
If you want to make real changes to yourself, I think it is essential to connect with your true self. Who are you really underneath all the difficulties that you face? What are you learning? What qualities are you developing or need to develop? By connecting more with that core part of yourself you can have access to a part that can transcend the difficulties that you may identify with.
– In this article, we explore what a spiritual approach to counselling entails.
Another key element of transpersonal psychology is the use of positive influences rather than troubled aspects of our human psyche to bring about healing and personal development. This technique derives from Abraham Maslow’s research on self-actualisation and his belief that creativity, experiences, personal actions and altruism exist outside of the ordinary personality, and deep within the essential self.
Focusing on positive role models who embody the true nature of our human psyche, therapists can teach a client to see their inner capabilities and view themselves as part of the process to reaching a state of improved human functionality.
What is the role of a transpersonal therapist?
Transpersonal psychology relies heavily on the nature of the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. First and foremost, the therapist must assume the role of an equal to their client and must be completely connected on the level of pure consciousness – sharing the same experience as their client does in therapy. This shared consciousness ensures that empathy and insight can take place alongside the therapist’s discriminating and analytical stance.
Fundamentally though, the primary mode a therapist must adopt when being with their client is with an attitude of open-mindedness, respect, innocence and wonder – as if everything that is said, felt and thought is completely new. Ultimately, both the client and therapist aspire to be present, authentic and self-aware, ensuring an ideal therapeutic relationship and setting that will help to facilitate ongoing healing and growth.
The transpersonal can be found anywhere and everywhere. It imbues our lives with meaning, making it rich and deep. The transpersonal counsellor strives to discover with their client what can make life feel whole.
How does transpersonal psychology work?
Transpersonal psychology is a process of self-actualisation and self-realisation, which helps clients to discover the deep core of their essential self. Therapy works by building and expanding on an individual’s qualities, their spirituality and self-development – helping clients to utilise their free will and inner resources to remove inner conflicts and create a sense of balance and harmony in their lives.
Ultimately, through transpersonal therapy, the individual attains a level of functioning in terms of their work and relationships that would be considered ‘normal’ and healthy by current standards of mental health. Although experts are in disagreement about a specific model for this therapeutic process, there are three key areas that it encompasses. These are:
- beyond ego (ego-transcended) psychology
- transformative psychology
- integrative/holistic psychology
In this framework, transpersonal therapists will draw from a diverse range of techniques, which will be taught and supported in a way that clients can continue to apply beyond therapy. Crucially, these techniques will be tailored to the specific needs and personal circumstances of each individual client.
The emphasis on individual development in transpersonal psychology is to ensure the effective cultivation of intuitive ways of knowing that complements a person’s unique psychological and spiritual being. This is how transpersonal psychology is able to support and enhance a person’s inherent striving for freedom, unity and life fulfilment.
Some of the commonly used methods in transpersonal psychology include:
- body awareness and movement
- journal writing
- inner child healing
- guided visualisation
- yoga therapy
- goal setting
- dream work
- assertive training
- regression therapy
- development of the imagination and intuition
- symbolic artwork
How can transpersonal psychology help?
Transpersonal psychology gives individuals the opportunity to recognise and value their true worth. This makes the therapy particularly beneficial to those who may be experiencing symptoms that are hindering their ability to appreciate and make the most of the experiences life has to offer. The kinds of problems that transpersonal psychology can help to treat include anxiety, depression, phobias and addictions – psychological conditions that are considered to have a spiritual component which needs to be understood and addressed.
Outcomes of transpersonal psychology include an enhanced spiritual connection, greater concern for others, and appreciation of life. These benefits extend to more specific areas of growth and healing depending on the variation of techniques used in therapy.
Whilst yoga and body-work can help to relieve stress, improve mental functioning and balance mental, emotional and physical energies, breathing practices can stimulate calm and initiate an altered state of consciousness. In addition, meditation and guided visualisation can help clients to establish inner peace, whilst hypnotherapy and inner child work can build a positive life outlook and improve self-confidence.
6 Facts About Transpersonal Psychology
Traditional psychology is interested in a continuum of human experience and behavior ranging from severe dysfunction, mental and emotional illness at one end, to what is generally considered “normal”, healthy behavior at the other end and various degrees of normal and maladjustment in between. While an exact definition of Transpersonal Psychology is the subject of debate, Transpersonal Psychology is a full spectrum psychology that encompasses all of this and then goes beyond it by adding a serious scholarly interest in the immanent and transcendent dimensions of human experience: exceptional human functioning, experiences, performances and achievements, true genius, the nature and meaning of deep religious and mystical experiences, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and how we might foster the fulfillment of our highest potentials as human beings.
Transpersonal psychology combines a variety of approaches in psychology, including behaviorism, cognitive psychology and humanistic psychology, along with other disciplines, including Eastern and Western philosophy, mysticism, mindfulness and the world’s religions.
Below are six other facts about transpersonal psychology, from the therapist’s role in psychotherapy to transpersonal psychology’s history as a field.
1. Transpersonal psychology doesn’t have specific tools or methods
“Transpersonal psychotherapy is rooted in an ideology and a basic humility that operates behind the scenes,” said psychotherapist, author and teacher Jeffrey Sumber. “It is less about a particular tool or methodology and more about an intention that motivates the intervention,” he said.
2. Relationships in transpersonal psychology are key.PSYCH CENTRAL NEWSLETTERGet our weekly newsletter
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According to Sumber, “Transpersonal Psychology is an approach to understanding the way our minds operate through our relationships with others, resting in the belief that there is something bigger and deeper in the space between which operates upon us.”
The relationship between client and therapist is just as important as the client’s other relationships. “… The space between therapist and client is as sacred and transformative as that space between the client and their issues, their families and friends, etc.,” he said.
And both people change as a result of this relationship. As Sumber writes on his website, “…in order for positive change to occur for the client, it must also occur for the therapist on some level, by and through the bonds of our relationship.”
3. The therapist isn’t viewed as the expert.
Rather, the therapist is “the facilitator [who] assist[s] the client in uncovering their own truth and their own process,” Sumber said. “The only room for expertise is the therapists’ ability to reflect the client’s own truth back to them with as little of the therapist’s own baggage as possible,” he added.
4. Transpersonal psychology doesn’t judge others’ experiences.
Sumber said that transpersonal psychology also is based on the belief that the “client and the therapist both have their own experiences and neither is right, wrong, correct or incorrect, healthy or unhealthy.”PSYCH CENTRAL RESOURCESSetting better boundaries starts here
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“If a client brings an experience into therapy that makes me uncomfortable, I have the ability to look at my own discomfort and work on it and I can even disclose it to the client if that is appropriate.”
5. Various well-known psychologists pioneered transpersonal psychology.
According to The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, William James, Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow are just a few of the psychologists that played a role in pioneering transpersonal psychology.
In fact, William James was the first to use the term “transpersonal” in a 1905 lecture, according to The Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology, and he’s referred to as the founder of modern transpersonal psychology and psychiatry. As psychologist Eugene Taylor, Ph.D, writes in the book:
He was the first to use the term transpersonal in an English-language context and the first to articulate a scientific study of consciousness within a framework of evolutionary biology. He experimented with psychoactive substances to observe their effects on his own consciousness and was a pioneer in founding the field that is now called parapsychology. He helped to cultivate modern interest in dissociated states, multiple personality, and theories of the subconscious. He explored the field of comparative religion and was probably the first American psychologist to establish relationships with or to influence a number of Asian meditation teachers. He also pioneered in writing about the psychology of mystical experience.
6. Transpersonal psychology emerged as a field in the late 1960s.
According to the article “Brief History of Transpersonal Psychology” written by one of transpersonal psychology’s founders, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, in the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies:
In 1967, a small working group including Abraham Maslow, Anthony Sutich, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, Miles Vich, and Sonya Margulies met in Menlo Park, California, with the purpose of creating a new psychology that would honor the entire spectrum of human experience, including various non-ordinary states of consciousness. During these discussions, Maslow and Sutich accepted Grof’s suggestion and named the new discipline “transpersonal psychology.” This term replaced their own original name “transhumanistic,” or “reaching beyond humanistic concerns.” Soon after- wards, they launched the Association of Transpersonal Psychology (ATP), and started the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Several years later, in 1975, Robert Frager founded the (California) Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, which has remained at the cutting edge of transpersonal education, research, and therapy for more than three decades. The International Transpersonal Association was launched in 1978 by myself, as its founding president, and Michael Murphy and Richard Price, founders of Esalen Institute.
At some point in time, most of take a moment to look inside ourselves to discover our inner souls. For some, this might be a fleeting moment, but for others, it can last for years.
Transpersonal psychology is a field of psychology for all of the soul searchers out there. Trans translates to “beyond”, and personal refers to personality. Therefore, transpersonal psychology is a field of psychology is the study of the human aspect that goes beyond the realm in which the so-called normal personality operates.
Studying transpersonal psychology often involves studying spirituality and the parts of the ego that are typically unexplored. Because this field of psychology deals with spirituality, there is often a religious aspect to it as well. This often involves getting acquainted with previously unknown levels of consciousness and life beyond the physical plane.
Transpersonal psychology has one of the more interesting histories of all fields of psychology. It started during the psychedelic hippie wave of the 1960’s. It was around this time that two Harvard psychologists, Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary, began experimenting with psychedelic drugs, namely LSD and psychedelic mushrooms. Their experiments were meant to discover altered states of consciousness and transpersonal aspects of the human psyche. Although these two unorthodox professionals were fired from the university after their unusual experiments, the seed of transpersonal psychology had been planted and had begun to grow. In 1967, a small group of psychology professionals gathered to create a field of psychology with the purpose of studying all areas of human existence, including our transpersonal existence. From this group, transpersonal psychology began to come into its own.
Today, psychedelic drugs are not used to aid those in the field of transpersonal psychology. At least not in traditional circles. It is, however, still a growing field, especially considering humans are becoming more spiritual and looking for new holistic ways to feel better about ourselves and our lives.
Why Do We Need Transpersonal Psychology?
Transpersonal psychologists believe that to be at our peak performance in life, our bodies have to be completely healthy. Medical doctors can help us take care of our physical bodies, and traditional psychologists can help us take care of our minds. Transpersonal psychologists can help take care of the often ignored soul.
Having a healthy mind, body, and soul can lead to a much healthier and happier existence. The field of transpersonal psychology can also help people realize that people are ultimately spiritual beings in physical bodies, and that our consciousness has more than one level. By understanding these concepts, individuals will often have an easier time reaching self-actualization and self-fulfillment in life.
what does a transpersonal psychologist do
Transpersonal psychologists work directly with people that might be “lost” spiritually, or just those that are looking for help “finding themselves” in order to leave a happier life. These professionals can also help patients change their negative behaviors, improve their relationships, or even just explore their spiritual sides.
Professionals in this field might use a number of different types of therapy and counseling to help guide their patients. They might use talk therapy, for instance, just as a traditional psychologist would. However they might also combine this traditional type of therapy with spiritual aspects as well.
Therapy and counseling in transpersonal psychology might involve such things as meditation, dream work, altered states of consciousness, and vision quests. These types of therapies can be used to help patients see themselves not merely as flesh, blood, and bones, but as diving individuals with a heightened sense of the world around them.
Where Do Transpersonal Psychologists Work?
Because transpersonal psychology is still thought to be quite unusual, it might be somewhat difficult for some individuals to find employment in this field. Businesses like spas and spiritual retreats, however, might hire transpersonal psychologists, as will a few mental health clinics.
The majority of transpersonal psychologists, though, will usually start their own private practices, seeing patients at their own convenience. Those with advanced degrees might also be able to find employment teaching at colleges and universities.
What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Transpersonal Psychologist?
As with finding a transpersonal psychology job, finding the right schools that cater to aspiring transpersonal psychologists can also be difficult. Only a handful of traditional colleges and universities offer degree programs in transpersonal psychology. Many aspiring transpersonal psychologists start their careers with bachelor degrees in general psychology or counseling psychology.Below is the complete educational path for the Psychologists:
|Psychologist Educational Track
|Average Education Length
|Choosing Online or Campus
|1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
|Online or Campus
|2. Earn A Master’s Degree
|2 Additional Years
|Online or Campus
|3. Earn a PHD or PsyD
|2-4 Additional Years
|Online or Campus
Graduate degrees in transpersonal psychology are offered at some universities. Graduate degrees in counseling psychology with a strong spiritual background might also be acceptable for starting a career in transpersonal psychology, however.
transpersonal psychology salary
You won’t find any specific salary information for transpersonal psychologists due to the highly specialized nature of this profession. However, transpersonal psychologists can best be categorized as counselors (categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as counselors, all other) who, as of May 2019, earned a median salary of $42,930.
Transpersonal psychologists likely work in settings like residential mental health and substance abuse facilities, where they earned an average salary of $45,140 and other residential care facilities, where they earned an average salary of $33,620.
The Integral and Transpersonal Psychology program seeks to ground academic excellence and the acquisition of professional skills in both the personal transformation of students and the cultivation of a spiritually informed scholarship.
Our curriculum provides context for multi-disciplinary exploration of the interface of psychology and spirituality, including integral and transpersonal psychology, Asian psychologies, modern consciousness studies, participatory spirituality, transpersonally informed therapies, depth psychology, contemplative psychology, religious comparative studies, shamanic and indigenous studies, eco-psychology, and more. Approaching the encounter among diverse worldviews in the spirit of dialogue, mutual transformation, and open inquiry, students in this program actively explore the practical implications and professional applications of this convergence for a diverse and multicultural world. This commitment also entails bridging psycho-spiritual growth with social, cultural, and ecological transformation.
Our program is guided by and dedicated to the following educational ideals:
- To offer an integral education that honors not only intellectual excellence, but also the voice and wisdom of the somatic, vital, emotional, imaginal, and spiritual dimensions of the person.
- To bring spirituality into academia and explore the transformative elements of inquiry, learning, and writing.
- To foster the psycho-spiritual development of students, as well as their unique gifts and potentials.
- To promote competence in diverse research methods and tools, with the goal of enabling students to participate in systematic, scientific knowledge building from the transformative and whole-person stances of integral and transpersonal psychology.
Students complete 36 units of coursework and write a dissertation. The degree is designed as a half-time online program with a research orientation. Students meet two times per year for a week-long residential seminar, with the remainder of coursework completed online. The program of study consists of core requirements, research courses, an area of focus that includes advanced seminars, two comprehensive exams, and a dissertation. Students may elect, with advisor approval, to add a second focus area to their program, thereby extending their program of study for an additional year. All courses in the our program are evaluated by letter grade; there is no pass/fail option.
The PhD in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology has 36 units of coursework plus a dissertation.
I. Core Requirements—12 units
Western/World Philosophies with History and Systems of Psychology
Critical Thinking with Integral/Transpersonal Psychologies
Scholarly Writing with Integral and Transpersonal Studies
Somatic Psychology with Exceptional Human Experiences
II. Research Courses—12 units
Qualitative Research Methods
Quantitative Research Methods with Neuroscience of Consciousness
Integral Research Methods with Creative Expression
III. Area of Focus—12 units
Integral and Transpersonal Psychology
Consciousness Studies and Contemplative Neuroscience
Course in Focus Area (3 units)
Course in Focus Area (3 units)
Course in Focus Area (3 units)
Course in Focus Area (3 units)
IV. Dissertation—0 units
In addition to the standard format for doctoral dissertations, the program allows students to use an alternative format that consists of three peer-reviewed papers. Two of these papers are to have been published or accepted for publication; the other is to have been either published or accepted for publication, or under review. Students who would like to pursue the multi-paper dissertation format are assessed by the faculty program committee on a case-by-case basis. As with the traditional dissertation, a dissertation proposal is submitted, a committee of three members is formed, a dissertation is prepared using the text of the three articles as its central content,.
Program Learning Goals
Upon completion of the PhD in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology, students will be able to:
Goal 1. Demonstrate the ability to produce doctoral-level scholarly work in integral/transpersonal psychology
- Exhibit doctoral-level scholarly writing and critical thinking skills.
- Display expertise in a topic area within integral/transpersonal psychology.
- Employ interdisciplinary scholarship in a careful and rigorous way.
- Design and carry out scholarly research using an appropriate research method.
- Integrate creativity and embodiment in the processes of scholarship.
Goal 2. Engage in communities of scholarship in a professional and collegial manner
- Present scholarship effectively in a group setting.
- Engage in respectful dialogue with scholars from other fields and backgrounds.
- Employ integral and transpersonal psychology concepts in teaching contexts.
- Practice inclusiveness with and appreciation of diverse and minority voices.
Goal 3. Demonstrate expertise in an area of integral and/or transpersonal psychology
- Display a command of the literature in an area of scholarship related to integral/transpersonal psychology.
- Participate in advancing scholarly research in the fields of integral and/or transpersonal psychology.
The majority of the courses in the Integral Transpersonal Psychology program are designed to pair a scholarly skill with a subject area of the student’s choice. The degree is research oriented, and so it has a strong emphasis on critical thinking, scholarly writing, and research design and critique. These skills are presented in the context of content that orients the student to the transpersonal and integral fields.
Core Requirements (12 Units)
Western/World Philosophies with History and Systems of Psychology (3 units)
This course is designed to situate the fields of integral and transpersonal psychologies in global and historical context. The student will be invited to consider how the history and systems of psychology have been shaped by the context of Western philosophy. The course will pose the question of how psychology might be transformed in the context of other world philosophies such as Advaita Vedanta, integral yoga, Buddhism, shamanism, and integrative western philosophies that attempt to reflect values of interconnectedness. The course also introduces embodiment practices for use in the scholarly context.
Critical Thinking with Integral/Transpersonal Psychologies (3 units)
This course offers tools and processes of critical thinking in the context of an overview of integral and transpersonal approaches to psychology. Major concepts and theorists as well as developments of the transpersonal field will be considered. The student will have opportunity to learn and practice both intellectual discrimination and intuitive discernment in thinking about whole-person approaches to psychology.
Scholarly Writing with Integral and Transpersonal Studies (3 units)
This course engages the student in processes of enhancing their scholarly writing skills in relationship to integral and transpersonal studies. The holistic, transformative lens of integral and transpersonal approaches has applications well beyond psychology, in such fields as anthropology, shamanism, parapsychology, spirituality, Black psychology, eco-psychology, sociology, social activism, feminism, sexual orientation and gender identity, ecology, medicine, leadership, literature, and the arts. A consideration of such applications will provide context for learning and applying scholarly writing skills.
Somatic Psychology with Exceptional Human Experiences (3 units)
Somatic psychology is an approach to understanding the human mind that is finely attuned to how people inhabit their bodies and their lives. This course offers an overview of research literature on somatic psychology and the field’s underlying principles. The course also surveys research literature on exceptional human experiences, such as those associated with mysticism, spirituality, and psychic phenomena. While these latter have often been studied in association with transcendence, a whole person approach to psychology situates them firmly within the lived experience of the body. Both of these emerging fields are studied in a context that supports innovative thinking as well as critical analysis.
Research Courses (12 Units)
Qualitative Research Methods (3 Units)
This course considers the strategies of qualitative research methods in the context of whole-person approaches to psychology. Qualitative research inquires into the qualities of lived experience as the data for constructing approaches to understanding the human mind. Students will gain familiarity in the application of grounded theory, narrative research, case studies, phenomenology, and ethnography, and will conduct a pilot study as an integral part of this course.
Quantitative Research Methods with Neuroscience of Consciousness (3 Units)
This course introduces quantitative methods of research in the context of neuroscientific approaches to the study of consciousness. Neuroscience seeks to understand aspects of the mind by measuring activity and change in various dimensions of the human nervous system, and quantitative methods are used to identify and describe potentially meaningful patterns in experimental results. The student will be invited to consider the value of quantitative approaches in whole-person approaches to psychology.
Integral Research Methods with Creative Expression (3 Units)
This course examines research methods that draw together various strategies in the context of creative-expression approaches to psychology. Integral methods include approaches such as grounded theory, mixed methods, theoretical research, and somatic phenomenology; further, creative expression considers artistic expressive activity as meaningful participation in the healing and revealing processes of transformation. The student will have opportunity to consider potentials for creative applications of integral research approaches through examining research in creative expression approaches to psychology.
Proposal Writing (3 Units)
This course provides the student with an opportunity to write, under faculty supervision, a preliminary research proposal. A completed preliminary research proposal will include well-crafted drafts of an introductory chapter, a literature review chapter, and a methods chapter, all in correct APA style. This this course, the student will have opportunity to demonstrate the skills and knowledge of critical thinking, scholarly writing, and research design and critique gained at earlier stages of the program.
Focus Area Coursework
A focus area consists of 12 units of coursework that is specifically oriented toward the student’s area of study. There are three focus areas are available for our degree:
Integral and Transpersonal Psychology
The topic for this self-designed focus area including 12 elective units should be submitted for advisor approval no later than the start of the second year of coursework, and must include at least two courses from electives offered within the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology PhD. The student may add up to two program-approved doctoral-level courses from within other online doctoral programs at CIIS (Transformative Studies or Women’s Spirituality), or online doctoral-level courses offered by East-West Psychology. If the student wishes to spend time in residence in the San Francisco Bay Area, coursework may also draw on residential offerings by doctoral programs at CIIS such as East-West Psychology. Prior to approval of the self-designed focus area by the advisor, the student must ensure that permission will be granted for admission to classes in these other programs, and that the classes will be offered in the semesters in which the student hopes to register for them.
Consciousness Studies and Contemplative Neuroscience
This focus area is designed to bring together consciousness studies, contemplative psychology, and neuroscience. If they are to be whole-person approaches, then fields such as integral and transpersonal psychology need to include neuroscience research within their scope of inquiry. In addition, engaging neuroscience is an important aspect of introducing the concepts and insights of transpersonal and integral approaches to a wider audience, both within psychology and to the wider public. What whole-person approaches bring to neuroscience is the ability to ask new and interesting questions that arise from the more holistic and systems perspectives of integral and transpersonal standpoints. The focus area will address issues of philosophical context through courses in consciousness studies that will be offered both within the our program and in cooperation with the Transformative Studies online PhD program. The neuroscience courses will provide conceptual orientation in neuroscience frameworks, as well as training in the use of neuroscience equipment, such as the EEG, in the study of contemplative and other non-ordinary states of consciousness.
The focus area in Somatic Studies is designed for students with experience or strong interest in body practices that might be called transformative. This might include one of the martial arts, a bodywork practice, a specific movement or dance practice, an advanced sport practice, or a gyrotonic, Pilates, or other similar practice. Coursework will consider the worldwide burgeoning of embodiment literature beginning in the mid-20th century and rapidly growing into the present, as well as its relevance to consciousness studies. In addition to advancing the student’s understanding toward the development of a scholarly doctoral dissertation, this course of study supports the cultivation of the student’s capacities for practice and teaching with an advanced understanding of the relevance of lived experience to addressing some of the major problems facing the world today.
Two comprehensive examinations are required. The first comprehensive examination is passed by taking a self-study course and exam in general psychology provided through the ITP department and must be completed by no later than the first day of the Fall semester of year two in the program. The self-study and exam is available for access on the CANVAS Café. In-depth instructions and guidelines for completing the self-study and exam are available on the CANVAS Café.
The second comprehensive examination enables the student to demonstrate doctoral-level writing skills sufficient for advancing to the proposal phase of their doctoral studies. The examination consists of submitting a 30-page scholarly paper of publishable or near-publishable quality as determined by the grading rubrics, with a clear and delimited thesis statement, definitions of technical terms, a well-organized literature review demonstrating synthesis, a discussion section, and a conclusion proposing future research. The paper must also demonstrate developed critical thinking and scholarly writing skills, including correct use of APA 7th edition style. The paper will be graded by a member of the ITP core faculty. This examination must be completed no later than one semester prior to enrolling in ITP 6898 Proposal Writing course.
The student will write a dissertation under the supervision of a core faculty member or dissertation-approved associated faculty member as committee chair, and two other qualified scholars, approved by the chair, one of whom must not be affiliated with CIIS.