The main purpose of conducting this research is for determining the different practices, assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes that are shared by transpersonal therapists distinguishing them from other therapists. The research mainly focuses on the areas of spiritual beliefs relating to psychotherapy, transpersonal training, spiritual experience, personality orientation, psychotherapeutic orientation and spiritual practices and tradition. Surveys have been conducted among 591 professional members from three clinical organizations in San Francisco. The subjects were given a Singer-Loomis Inventory of Personality or SLIP booklet which is a questionnaire containing 120 items for assessing the cognitive modes of the subjects. After that a discriminated analysis was conducted by the researchers for asserting the optimal weights which separate these groups, maximally.
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Hypothesis, method and findings
There are many hypotheses on transpersonal psychotherapy which is the main topic dealt with in this research. It was proposed that transpersonal psychotherapy is a therapy that directly or indirectly concerns the various barriers, obstacles, realization, acceptance and recognition for our ultimate state. Then it was said that the clinical practices of transpersonal psychotherapists include not only transpersonal work but also go beyond their ego goals spanning over spiritual and psychological practices. Later it was also proposed that since transpersonal view recognizes an individual’s spiritual quest, transpersonal therapists must acknowledge growth as a unity towards the truth along the spiritual dimension and perception of divinity. Another hypothesis on which this study is based suggests that transpersonal therapy and the therapists need to explicitly focus on the nature and quality of the love and energy which is demonstrated by them towards their clients rather than the various techniques and methods of the orientation.
This study is also based on the hypothesis that transpersonal psychotherapy establishes a growth-producing and conscious link between a patient and their transpersonal experience. This survey has discovered that most of the transpersonal psychotherapists give a broader variety of their therapeutic approaches than others. They are more synthesizing and eclectic since they employ more approaches in their practices making transpersonal psychotherapy more elusive than others. This study also determined that among the subjects researched, more than 56% of them were found to have given one faith or belief as a spiritual orientation and almost 31% of them were found to have no faith or spiritual orientation and were agnostics. This study also suggests that these transpersonal psychotherapists are more in sync with their patients and are thus, able to communicate with their clients on spiritual issues better than their counterparts.
Strengths of the research
To eliminate sampling errors in this research study the surveys were conducted by mailing them to the professional members, directly, which is one of the major strengths of this study. The mailings also included a cover letter, information about the survey instruments that were designed for conducting the study, a SLIP booklet, an answer sheet and a postage page envelop for returning the survey. Thus, the researchers took care of every aspect of the study. Another advantage of this study is the method used which is linear discrimination function. As transpersonal orientation relates to the belief system or attitude of the subjects it has been found that this linear discriminant function is the most appropriate method for outlining such an empirical definition for transpersonal psychotherapists. The writing is very clear and simple and easily understandable by the general population since it has been divided into many sections clearly stating the needs and results. This is a unique article as it gives importance to the role religion plays in the life of the patients and urges that the psychotherapists are given the training to handle their patients in a better manner. This study can establish the essence of transpersonal psychotherapy and how it differs from the conventional approaches, not in its techniques or methods but its scope and orientation.
Weaknesses of the research
One of the weaknesses of this study is that the 591 subjects used were only from three clinical organizations and were all from the San Francisco Bay Area only. Thus, they were not distributed over a geographically large area and thus, do not include a diverse population which somewhat limits the findings. Some people may find the conclusion to be limited since the researchers have used only a certain method in this study, the linear discrimination function. But still it serves more as an advantage rather than a weakness.
The connection between this research and another topic of interest
This study clearly explains that psychotherapists need proper training so that they can deal with the religious issues of their patients since most of the time they have to go beyond their professional competence and help their clients which gives rise to certain educational and ethical concerns. This study also suggests that there is a connection between transpersonal psychology and the study of psycho-spiritual and psycho-religious concerns. This study also leads the way for further researches in the areas of the various transpersonal training that can be offered by various institutes and make it mandatory for therapists who want to be qualified as a transpersonal psychotherapist.
Hutton, M.S. (1994). How Transpersonal Psychotherapists Differ From Other Practitioners: An Empirical Study. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 26(2), 139-174.
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