TRANSPERSONAL THERAPY – SPIRITUAL APPROACH IN PSYCHOLOGY – AN INTERVIEW WITH TOMEK KWIECINSKI
Today a word about transpersonal therapy. It is an approach very special to me because it makes space for both psychological work and spiritual growth. I had the honor to talk about it with Tomek Kwiecinski. Tomek is a transpersonal therapist, a holistic personal development coach, and a holotropic breathwork facilitator. He is also an amazing open-hearted and wise man. I know what I say because he supported me in several difficult moments of my life. Check how Tomek introduces transpersonal therapy and let us know in the comments if you have any questions!
What is the Transpersonal Psychology Approach?
Transpersonal psychology is based on a variety of therapeutic methods. But there is one thing specific to this approach. It includes spiritual needs, mystical experiences and extended states of consciousness, which are seen as natural states for human beings and an important part of life. When I say ‘extended states of consciousness’ I mean both, the intentional experience like Ayahuasca or a holotropic breathwork session, the experience that can happen more spontaneously, for example during praying or meditation or that which are really surprising – during walking in the forest, car crash or with falling in love.
In the past, a lot of people didn’t find the understanding and acceptance needed to make progress in therapy because their spiritual needs and mystical experiences were not included as the material to work on. Depending on the approach, transpersonal issues were ignored, criticized or even diagnosed as mental problems.
Transpersonal therapy connects spiritual growth and psychological support. Of course, it can mean something different for everybody. Look, how many interpretations of ‘spirituality’ exist. Depending on the way we believe in the higher power in our lives, our religions, personal insights…
How does transpersonal therapy work?
Transpersonal therapy and other approaches have a lot of aspects in common. In general, therapy is about working on the mental and emotional parts of the personality in order to change the dysfunctional patterns into healthy ones. By ‘healthy’ I mean the behaviors that fulfill a person’s needs well.
The difference between transpersonal psychology and other approaches is exploring the spiritual side of life. It is one of the sources of psychological work that let us observe and change judgments, feelings, and habits. There are also atypical body-oriented methods, rituals or visualizations included in the therapeutic work.
How does a session look like?
It is not possible to say how a standard transpersonal therapy session looks like. There are many transpersonal psychology streams with different methodologies. And it depends on the therapist. For example, it could be just a conversation in a therapist’s office but with the focus on spiritual transformation. It could also be a much more atypical practice such as an inner talk with your spiritual guides, as well as a traditional Indian ceremony in a wooden house in the middle of a jungle.
For who could transpersonal therapy be helpful?
First of all, transpersonal therapy is dedicated to those, who need to combine psychology and spirituality. It is for people for whom spirituality is an important part of their lives. Those who look for the meaning of life or they want to explore and deepen their beliefs. Also for people who need to look at their spiritual journey in a more concrete and material way. You would be surprised at how many people feel lost while experiencing spiritual growth, and how helpful it is for them to find psychological contexts of the experience they have.
There are also many people for who other therapeutic approaches are just not enough. They feel that there is no space for their spiritual experience during therapy sessions. Or they stay alone with some important philosophical questions. The thing is when you become an emotionally healthy person who fulfills their needs without any problems, standard therapy is not for you anymore. Transpersonal therapy’s purpose is much wider. It is about your personal and spiritual growth that means you receive the support until you feel it works for you on your journey to become a better person.
How to find a therapist or a workshop?
The best way to find a transpersonal therapist is through personal recommendations. If it is not possible, then, of course, we have to search online. My advice is to make trial sessions with more than one therapist before deciding about longterm collaboration. Also nowadays, many therapists publish their insights, articles and films. It is good to research on the internet before we decide about making an appointment. This way we can check our feelings about the therapist, and what our intuition says about the work together.