Transpersonal psychotherapy

Am J Psychother. 2000 Summer;54(3):408-23. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2000.54.3.408.


The history, theory, and practice of Transpersonal (or Spiritual) Psychotherapy are presented. The author describes his own evolution from a traditional psychoanalyst to a psychotherapist who uses the tools and wisdom from spiritual traditions to enhance traditional psychotherapy while, at the same time, improving the self system of the therapist. Dangers as well as benefits of the spiritual approach are outlined. The creation and holding of a spiritual or transpersonal context is described and ways to ascertain, in the clinical situation, the appropriateness of such an approach are explained. The use of bibliotherapy to help transform and expand the worldview of the patient is outlined. Prayer and meditational systems also have a healing role in this approach. To illustrate the uses of Transpersonal Psychotherapy in practice, four cases are presented: 1) a paranoid schizophrenic man, 2) a well-functioning borderline person, 3) a very poorly functioning borderline person, and 4) a high-functioning neurotic man who had been in psychoanalysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*