January 24, 2006

Jung, Washburn, Wilber and Assaglioli

Ken Wilber's spectrum model represents one of the most influential transpersonal models today. Wilbur must be credited as a pioneer who first embarked upon the effort to integrate a theoretical core for a transpersonal approach. One of Wilbur's most interesting and provocative insights is the "pre-trans fallacy." Wilbur argues that traditional psychology has tended to see transpersonal experience as a regression to prepersonal, primitive states of consciousness. He argues, on the contrary, that transpersonal states of consciousness are more mature levels of consciousness which from a personal perspective only appears to be regression.
Michael Washburn has developed a transpersonal model patterned after Jung's analytic approach. Washburn is especially critical of Wilbur's "pre-trans fallacy" argument. For Washburn the pre-personal and transpersonal share with each other the experience of the dynamic, collective, spiritual ground of existence; however, with the transpersonal consciousness, this is expressed through a well-integrated ego. In general, Washburn's approach is from a Western, theistic perspective compared to Wilbur's more nondual, Eastern approach to consciousness. Most importantly, it develops a transpersonal model which does away with the sense of a hierarchy of consciousness in Wilbur's model.
Robert Assaglioli's psychosynthesis theory has had a great influence on the transpersonal movement. Like Wilbur, he argues for a psychology of the height as well as the depths.
Another influence, Hameed Ali's Diamond Approach draws especially from the Sufi tradition which, compared to Jung, Washburn, Wilbur and Assaglioli, places a greater emphasis on the body; however, his concept of "essence" has striking similarities to Jung's concept of the "archetype."
A review of the transpersonal movement in psychology would be incomplete, of course, without mention of Stanislov Grof's Holotropic Model. Grof is known for his work studying the effects of LSD, which helped him to develop his method of therapy as well as a transpersonal theory of consciousness that takes account of spiritual realms of existence.
An exciting outgrowth of the transpersonal movement is the body-centered transpersonal approach, largely influenced by Wilhelm Reich. The many different approaches to transpersonal body-work include: Hakomi, John Pierrakos' Core Energetics, Bodydynamics, the Lomi school, Eva Reich's work, Jack Rosenburg's work, rebirthing, Eugene Gendlin's focusing-oriented psychotherapy, and Charlotte Selver's sensory awareness. (See below under Reichian tradition).
Other influences in Transpersonal psychology include: Otto Rank, Sri Aurobindo, Howard Clinebell, Ram Dass, Meister Eckhart, Riane Eisler, Jack Engler, Mark Epstein, Victor Frankl, Daniel Goleman, St. John of the Cross, Jonn Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Krishnamurti, R. D. Laing, Timothy Leary, Wilhelm Reich and many others.

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