To more clearly comprehend the interconnected nature of the universe, we need a psychological context that stretches to the farthest reaches of consciousness. Psychospiritual, or transpersonal psychology, represents the fourth wave in psychology following behaviourism, psychoanalysis, and humanism. Psychospiritual psychology offers a broad, inclusive and integrative framework to enable us to explore the full range – the heights as well as the depths – of human experience. The psychospiritual psychology at the core of my work is psychosynthesis.
Psychosynthesis psychology is not simply a model of pathology and treatment. It seeks to understand human life within the broad context of synthesis – the drive towards the reconciliation of all relationships: intrapersonal, interpersonal, societally, between nations, or the diverse networks of more-than-human life, through which the planet manifests consciousness.
While we each have an essential need for spiritual and creative self-expression, frequently the needs of the moment are more insistent. Our lives are shaped by what we pay attention to. Consequently, by constantly addressing the expedient over that which we know to be, in Plato's words, "good, beautiful and true", we act in ways that are ultimately self-destructive. This conflict is reflected in the 'dis-ease' that haunts our daily lives and in devastating environment degradration, rising mental illness and increased suffering across all forms of life out in the world.
Consequently, psychosynthesis considers individual existence as an expression of a larger reality. There is a natural tendency toward evolution, towards unfoldment, that pervades the universe as well as the human sphere. Our task is to good-humouredly clear the way for this propensity and actively bring it into existence.
Psychosynthesis offers a psycho-spiritual frame that takes a bi-focal approach to psychology. While psychosynthesis psychotherapy may well undertake work to address longstanding beliefs and symptoms, it is also premised on the belief that each of us has a need to discover a meaningful relationship with our existence and understand the tribulations of our lives in the context of something greater. Hence therapy is not solely regarded as way of managing problems, but also a means of helping someone attain their potential.
The soul's journey traverses those areas where psychological and spiritual concerns overlap, where mind/body/spirit coalesce. Art, music, dance may elicit notions of a deeper and more enduring sense of self beyond the mask we present in public. Glimpses of these deeper dimensions are not solely restricted to the adherents of a particular faith or religious community, but to anyone who is touched by a sense of love and wonder, light and grace, or undergone a peak experience.
By 'spiritual' I am referring to experiences that connect us with the deeper dimensions of reality. Life can feel meaningless at times and many of us may find ourselves wondering, “why am I here, what is my life about?” Holding such existential questions while resisting the urge to grasp at absolute conclusions – whether depressive or euphoric – can open up the possibility of something more nourishing.
The psychospiritual realm is available wherever we find joy and connect to a sense of something greater than ourselves. It can unlock the rapture of feeling authentic and wholly alive. A spiritual practice is often a deeply personal activity, yet whatever form it takes, daily ritual can support us in developing an awareness and engagement with our own journey of personal unfoldment.