International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Finding Meaning Through Transpersonal Approaches in Clinical Psychology: Assessments and Psychotherapies

Harris Friedman, Ph.D

Walden University


Meaning is not a given, but constructed. Transpersonal psychology focuses on the interconnectedness of the person to that which can give meaning, such as relatedness to others, the world as encountered, and the cosmos as a whole. Clinical approaches to transpersonal psychology involve assessments and psychotherapies. Transpersonal assessments provide a basis for grounding meaning in some consensual realms, while transpersonal psychotherapies provide ways to further develop meaning, either to address psychopathology or encourage growth toward greater holism. Categories of transpersonal psychotherapies are identified, including attentional, biochemical, depth psychological, existential, and somatic, and some of their common features are explored in regard to creating and enhancing meaning.
Meaning is not an ontological given, but rather appears more as a socio-psychological and cultural construction. It serves the external adaptive purpose of unifying actions and the internal adaptive purpose of unifying cognition and affect. Meaning also appears always positioned in a relational framework that involves grounding persons as interconnected with something other than the individual self, namely others, the world as encountered, and the cosmos as a whole. One way to conceptualize a basis for meaning is from the perspective of transpersonal psychology, which provides a way to understand meaning in consensual ways through transpersonal assessments and to enhance meaning through transpersonal psychotherapies.

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