The relevance of early life and psychodynamic ideas in transpersonal integrative psychotherapy?

the journey in transpersonal integrative psychotherapy is to seek one’s essence, one’s real self

I often wonder if early life experiences are important in shaping adult character and whether unconscious communication such as transference and counter-transference is integral to transpersonal integrative psychotherapy.  Perhaps transpersonal integrative psychotherapy presupposes psychoanalysis or, rather, include it as a first and necessary stage in helping us to name what is going on in the therapeutic relationship.

Whilst unconscious communication is important in psychotherapy, is it that we need to go further than psychoanalysis to understand the client?  Yes, we all have early life issues and we perhaps might have early life developmental ruptures, and thus an analysis of these issues can be a useful insight.  However, such analysis can ultimately limiting as the journey in transpersonal integrative psychotherapy is to seek one’s essence, one’s real self. Therefore, we need to understand the client in a more holistic manner, the assumption being that we are more than the sum total of our personal history whether in families, schooling or working situations.  The journey in therapy is to uncover our inherent soul nature, that which gets blocked through our lived experience, whilst we are struggling to build a healthy ego.

I believe that early life experiences are indeed important in shaping adult character and that non-verbal and unconscious communication such as transference and counter-transference is integral to transpersonal integrative psychotherapy. I accept that transpersonal integrative psychotherapy presupposes psychoanalysis or, rather, include it as a first and necessary stage in helping us to name what is going on in the therapeutic relationship. However, I believe that we need to go further than psychoanalysis to understand the client. Indeed, we all have early life issues and we perhaps might have early life developmental ruptures, and thus an analysis of these issues can be a useful insight. The nigredo stage is necessary in the alchemical journey or we risk a spiritual bypass.

Psychodynamic therapy can, however, be limiting as the journey in transpersonal integrative psychotherapy is to seek one’s essence, one’s true self. Therefore, I believe that we need to understand the client in a more holistic manner, the assumption being that we are more than the sum total of our personal history of being in families, schooling or working situations and of being in our various relationships. To this end, we need to uncover soul qualities in our search for our true selves.

Ultimately, I agree with Jacobs when he says that in psychotherapy clients make theory rather than theory making therapy. I need, therefore, to remain open-minded and use early life theory as a map which might be helpful in the navigation rather than as a set of rules. Pattern recognition is essential to good therapy. The primary difference between talking to our friends or Aunt Dorris is that counsellors are trained to look for patterns.

Resources

Transpersonal interventions
Explanation of therapeutic approaches
Transpersonal techniques
Transpersonal psychology

 

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