EPISODE RELEASED 15th MAY 2023
WHAT IS TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY? WHY ARE RELIGIOUS AND MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES IMPORTANT TO OUR SENSE OF MEANING AND PURPOSE IN LIFE? WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY AND HOW CAN THEY ACTUALLY HELP US IN THE LONG RUN?
In this episode, we have the extraordinary topic of Transpersonal Psychology to learn about. With the steady rise in popularity of western secular spirituality, meditation, psychedelic research, altered states of consciousness and embodied practices in general, during the 60’s some psychologists felt there was a part of psychology missing from the old humanist and behaviourist models. It was as if the overwhelmingly materialist scientific view of humans, that sees our bodies and brains as fundamentally separate from other beings, the natural world and any hypothetically transcendent reality, was missing out a huge source of data about the way our minds work. So a bunch of them coined a new term, Transpersonal psychology, and with it came a new field of study and practice.
It’s a really wide field and at its cusps starts to get into areas that science can’t actually study using the method; some of which we’re going to touch on towards the end of this episode. But above all it makes a place for the importance of the transpersonal that crosses those boundaries between our bodies and brains and everything else out there, both known and unknown. So fortunately today’s guest has over 25 years of experience both as a psychologist and a workshops leader, David Lukoff.
Dr. Lukoff has published over 80 articles on spirituality and mental health, and is an active workshop presenter internationally on spiritual competency, grief, death, recovery, and spiritual crises. He is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Sofie University, previously known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, in CA and previously served on the faculties of Harvard University and UCLA. He is also the co-founder of the Spiritual Competency Academy, that offers mental health professionals courses on the skills and knowledge to become more spiritual competent.
What we discuss:
05:30 A psychedelic psychotic episode and a spiritual crisis
07:00 Spirituality and religion as resources and practices
07:42 The history of transpersonal psychology
10:20 Mindfulness research was first published in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology
14:00 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs VS behaviourism
15:45 Spiritual experiences are a privilege as many are just surviving
16:45 Spiritual emergencies
18:00 Jospeh Cambell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ and Jung’s ‘Compensatory psychosis’
20:30 Psychological support and psychedelic therapy for spiritual emergencies
22:30 David’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) entry that describes spiritual crises
24:00 The post scientific revolution meaning crisis, and spiritual assessment as a solution
26:45 Recovering after a loss of faith
29:45 Ceremonial, shamanic and plant medicine approaches
32:30 Bringing altered states into mainstream psychology
37:00 Holotropic breathing: simulating an LSD-like research after LSD research was banned
38:15 Mystical experience’s integration for positive psychology outcomes
40:15 The strength of the mystical experience correlates with positive outcomes
41:15 Stan Grof: NDE, OBE, psi, afterlife and interdimensional communications
45:00 The Spiritual Competency Academy: forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness
Rick Doblin - Founder of MAPS - Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
‘Spiritual and religious problems’ included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders
Jung’s ‘Compensatory psychosis’