Psychotherapy and Spirit

Theory and Practice in Transpersonal Psychotherapy

By Brant Cortright

Subjects: Transpersonal Psychology
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of Psychology
Paperback : 9780791434666, 272 pages, July 1997
Hardcover : 9780791434659, 272 pages, July 1997

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



Part 1: Transpersonal Theory

1. Basic Assumptions


Defining Transpersonal Psychology
Defininf Transpersonal Psycholtherapy: Theory and Practice
Basic Assumptions
Challenges for Transpersonal Psychotherapy


2. The Psycho-Spiritual Framework


The Spiritual Dimension
The Psychological Dimension
The Integrating Transpersonal Framework
Transpersonal Models of Transformation
Some Historical Prejudices


3. Consciousness


The Methodology of Consciousness
The Therapeutic Power of Being With What Is
The Therapist's Consciousness


Part 2: Specific Approaches

4. Approaches to Transpersonal Psychotherapy


Ken Wilbur's Spectrum Model
Carl Jung's Analytical Psychology and Michael Washburn's Recent Innovations
Hameed Ali's Diamond Approach
Roberto Assagioli's Psychosynthesis
Stanislav Grof's Holotropic Model
Existential Transpersonal Psychotherapy
Transpersonal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Body-Centered Transpersonal Approches


Part 3: Clinical Issues

5. Meditation and Psychotherapy


Spirit Paths—Impersonal Divine
Soul Paths—Personal Drive
Practices Shared by Spirit and Soul Paths
Conclusions and Discussion


6. Spiritual Emergency


A New View of Spiritual Experience
Spiritual Emergence Versus Spiritual Emergency
Forms of Spiritual Emergency
Differential Diagnosis
Implications of Spiritual Emergency


7. Altered States of Consciousness


Effects of Psychedelic Drugs
Models of Working Therapeutically
Effects of the Feeling Enhancers
Working Therapeutically
Guidelines for Use
Limitations of Altered State Work


8. Selected Topics in Transpersonal Psychotherapy


Birth and Death
Spiritual By-passing
Addiction and Recovery
Clinical and Ethical Dilemmas


Part 4: Conclusion

9. Principles of Transpersonal Practice






The first concise overview of transpersonal psychotherapy.


This volume brings together the major developments in the field of transpersonal psychotherapy. It articulates the unifying theoretical framework and explores the centrality of consciousness for both theory and practice. It reviews the major transpersonal models of psychotherapy, including Wilber, Jung, Washburn, Grof, Ali, and existential, psychoanalytic,and body-centered approaches, and assesses the strengths and limitations of each. The book also examines the key clinical issues in the field. It concludes by synthesizing some of the overarching principles of transpersonal psychotherapy as they apply to actual clinical work.

At the California Institute of Integral Studies, Brant Cortright is Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Integral Counseling Psychology program. He is the author of Integral Psychology: Yoga, Growth, and Opening the Heart, also published by SUNY Press.


"The field of transpersonal psychotherapy is growing rapidly and needs a competent overview and assessment of perspectives. Psychotherapy and Spirit meets this need. My guess is that it will be widely consulted not only by transpersonal psychotherapists but also by psychotherapists of other orientations who are open to the spiritual dimension of the psychotherapeutic process. " --Michael Washburn, author of The Ego and the Dynamic Ground, Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective

"Cortright brings together the disparate elements of transpersonal psychology in a way that is unique and profound. I know of no other work that so compellingly summarizes the progress and controversies within this groundbreaking discipline. " -- John E. Nelson, M. D., author of Healing the Split: Integrating Spirit Into Our Understanding of the Mentally Ill

"This material is central in the training of transpersonal therapists and in the continuing education of more traditionally oriented psychotherapists. Clearly the author's convictions and experience inspire the book, and it will resonate with other clinicians attempting to do transpersonal therapy. " -- Arlene Mazak, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology