Integral Psychology. Transpersonal Psychology.
Integral psychology is concerned with exploring and understanding the totality of human consciousness and personality. It seeks to unify the personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal dimensions of human experience to achieve wholeness of personality, multicultural harmony, and collective transformation. Integral psychology is based on the practical and transformative aspects of Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga psychology.
The notion that spirituality is an aspect of the human being, apart from any specific religion, is an idea that comes directly from transpersonal psychology. Further, transpersonal psychology was the first field to examine the practices, such as mindfulness, of eastern spirituality from a psychological perspective. Transpersonal psychology was also the first psychology to study psychedelics, a field that is now coming back to the attention of mainstream researchers. As an outgrowth of humanistic psychology, transpersonal psychology is part of the movement that almost single-handedly invented the field of personal growth and development. As a whole-person psychology, it resonates with the values and perspectives of the complementary and alternative medicine movement, which has become a major force in healthcare.
Psychology of Humanity
As they are situated in community and world, transpersonal and integral psychology affirm the value of social action and ecological stewardship. Because our relationships are global, a transpersonal approach challenges the false norms of a psychology that is situated in any one meaning frame. Transpersonal psychology's initial mission, which was to include more than one valid state of consciousness, can now be extended to embrace the many ways of being human, as reflected in culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, spiritual path, and ways of knowing. The integral vision of a whole-person psychology can blossom into a psychology of humanity that celebrates our differences as much as it honors what we hold in common.
Aspects that set our degree apart are research, publication, and systematic approaches to building whole-person psychologies. First, the degree is associated with a research laboratory that will be available for use by students who wish to incorporate neuroscience into their research. The value of a whole-person approach in this context is that, while neuroscience does well at measurement, integral and transpersonal approaches excel at the descriptions of the experiences that are being measured. The vision informing the laboratory is that whole-person approaches to neuroscience may be able to open valuable new areas of research into healing and human consciousness.
In addition, some students will have an opportunity to work on a CIIS-sponsored, peer-reviewed academic journal, the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, and in this way gain hands-on experience in the processes of academic publication. This journal, which is available for free online, has over 80,000 unique visitors per year.
Every PhD program involves research, but the added feature of this degree is that it brings together some of the most seasoned scholars in our fields and offers students the opportunity to work with them on advancing their research agendas. It is by collaboration between scholars that cohesive areas of new knowledge are developed, and as aspiring scholars participate in constructing knowledge that has an impact, they cultivate a location for themselves in a research area that matters.
Our degree is well suited to three principal groups of students. Professionals such as psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, counselors, consultants, activists, organizers, leaders, teachers, researchers, nurses, physicians, lawyers, or others in fields related to personal development, social change, or environmental protection may wish to advance their education and to contribute to the development of better research and scholarship in their area of work. Another group consists of individuals who are entrepreneurially oriented and who may wish to use their degree as the basis for consulting, writing, or teaching in the public arena. Third, some people wish to pursue a doctorate as a means to more fully develop their personal gifts and potentials.