What's Missing in Psychology Today?


I am

I am Chiaku Hanson, a third year Doctorate student, pursuing a degree in clinical psychology. I am very passionate about the field of psychology. My ultimate goal of becoming a psychologists is to become an expert at my craft. I desire to learn as much as I can as a mental health provider, so that I can be the change agent and bring a different perspective and skill to the field of psychology. I choose the field because I have a strong dedication to helping other people find their ideal life. I truly desire to help people deal with their unconscious conflict, so that they are able to function at their highest potential as well as, higher self. There is no other field in my opinion, which addresses the psyche much like psychology.

Direction of Psychology

Although Psychology is the perfect fit for me, the field is still operating on a Freudian level. Sigmund Freud was a psychiatrists and psychotherapist, who was also the creator of psychodynamic theory. Freud created a psychoanalytic theory, which has been the primary basis of understanding the human psyche for many decades. This platform is still being used by modern psychotherapists today. Many therapist use this model to make sense out of the human experience. Reduction of pathology has been the platform in psychodynamic theory. Freudian believed that Humans could not transcend beyond their egos, and that spirituality was nonexistent. It was believed that humans are just aiming to get their basic needs met, while trying to resolve their unconscious conflict with their earlier experiences with their caregiver. Modern psychologists are still following the Freudian way.

Carl Jung, who was also a psychiatrists and a psychotherapists, was a bit different. He invented the "Blank Screen" method. The blank screen is a method used in therapy, in which the therapist offers little to no facial expression nor nonverbal communication, in hopes that the client will project all of their unconscious conflict onto the therapists, also known as, transference. The Blank screen phenomena is still used by the average therapist today.

Mainstream psychology

The field is now realizing that Freud's psychodynamic theory and Jung's blank screen technique may not be the only route to take in helping clients resolve their issues. Therapists are beginning to realize how important authenticity is, when dealing with human nature issues. Although psychology has a range of theories, therapies and frameworks to work with individuals from, there is still one important framework that is missing. Transpersonal psychology, also known as, spiritual psychology and psycho- synthesis are missing components in psychology today.

Transpersonal psychology, also known as, spiritual psychology, is a subfield of psychology, which integrates the spiritual aspects of the human experience, while incorporating modern psychology framework. In other words, it is the field which builds the bridge between psychology and spirituality. The goal is to help with addressing all components of a person, verses only unconscious mind.

Psychosynthesis, created by Robert Assagiolo, is a therapeutic approach, which derives from psychoanalysis but branches into more spiritual realms. Robert Assagiolo's approach was a bit different from Freud's psychodynamic theory. He believed in integrating spiritual and psychological elements, as a way of addressing how individuals harmonize with various aspects of self.

Transpersonal psychology focuses on integration of the spirit and the practical parts of human nature. Psychosynthesis is a framework which focuses on feelings, thoughts, and spirit, in order to uncover internal conflicts and blocks.

The Problem

The problem that I see in psychology today is that, the spiritual component is considered to be taboo; an untouchable subject which should be avoided, yet studies show that, 72% of psychologists indicated that at some point in therapy , religious and or spiritual subjects arise. Another sample indicated that over 29% of psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, social workers and counselors agreed that religious and or spiritual matters were important in treating most or all of their clients.

If addressing all components of a person helps with dealing with the different aspects of human experience, then why has the American Psychological Association have yet to grant transpersonal psychology as a field within the umbrella of psychology? The American Psychological Association has also recognized the importance of using client's religious belief system in therapy. Using an individual's religious and spiritual belief systems has been viewed as useful tools in therapy, yet transpersonal psychology and psychosynthesis as a theory and framework have yet to be mentioned in intro to psychology courses nor intro to psychology books.

How to address the issue

Psychology ultimately sees the ego, mind and consciousness as phenomena which derives from neuro-physiological processes. It is not viewed as something which exists independently of the brain. On the other hand transpersonal theory and the psychosynthesis framework view consciousness as not just being a product of the brain but something that transcends beyond the ego and the brain. It's a supernatural understanding that is far beyond intellect and psychology. The only way to properly heal all components of a person is to address both the earthly body and the spirit. In order to heal, one must address the mind, body and spirit. The flesh will eventually die, however the spirit lives on. Life is eternal. Addressing only the psychological component of human experience is depriving the living spirit, which lives inside the body. While addressing the spirit is first and far most important, one cannot ignore the human experience and mental processes of those same experiences existing while living on planet earth. In the field of psychology, we have a responsibility to address the whole self, in order to take the person to higher consciousness and self-actualization. We must integrate both transpersonal and modern psychological frameworks in order to truly heal people. "We are not humans having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having human experiences"