We are pleased to devote this issue of Inside Out to the Transpersonal in Psychotherapy. It is sometimes known as “the Fourth Force” (alongside Analytical, Behavioural and Humanistic Psychotherapy). The transpersonal in psychotherapy has been developed by the work of many – from Jung, with his concept of the collective unconscious, Assagiolli, through Psychosynthesis and the Higher Self, to Grof, Lake and Wilber. It is therefore, a very wide area and we attempt to give but a glimpse of it through our articles.
A debate arises querying the relevance of the transpersonal in our work. It can be seen as a personalized belief system, that while underpinning the practitioner’s approach, needs to be kept separate from the therapeutic encounter, (see for example, Robert Skynner: Psychotherapy and the Spiritual Tradition, in the Awakening Heart; Ed. John Welwood, Shambala, London 1985.) There is of course the danger that the work, which is part of most psychotherapies, such as Ego Strengthening to allow us to deal more fruitfully with the ordinary reality of our lives and relationships, can be short-circuited in a defensive way by recourse to the trans personal. However, work on a transpersonal level, as Wilber points out in the Atman Project, is alongside and often subsequent to work on a personal level – not replacing it. To have such an understanding of this dimension of the person and its relevance to everyday issues such as purpose, meaning, separateness, etc. is valuable for practitioners, to alert them to areas of clients’ experience where words alone may not be adequate.
We thank those who have contributed to this issue and we encourage others to write for us. Naming of themes for future issues gives you plenty of time to gear your thoughts and put pen to paper. The Autumn issue will be on Men and Psychotherapy, complimenting our Women and Psychotherapy (Summer ’92). The Winter issue will focus on Bodywork. We invite relevant material now, for both themes.