Transpersonal Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective

By Michael Washburn

Subjects: Transpersonal Psychology, Psychology Of Religion, Psychoanalysis, Jung
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of Psychology
Paperback : 9780791419540, 384 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419533, 384 pages, July 1994

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents




1. The Sources of Experience in Infancy


The Nonegoic Core of the Psyche
The Traditional View of the Infant's Experience
The Nonegoic Core as a Source of the Infant's Experience
The Nonegoic Core and the Preoedipal "Object"


2. Ego Formation and the Origins of Dualism in Early Childhood


The Early Preoedipal Period
Rapprochement, Ambivalence, and the Splitting of the Great Mother
The Repressive Underpinnings of Object Constancy
The Oedipus Complex and the Consolidation of Ego Dominance


3. Ego and Gender


Gender Asymmetries in Preoedipal Development and Consequent Gender Disparities in Later Life
Gender Variations in the Oedipus Complex
Gender Differences and Superego Formation
Narrow versus Wide Gender Differences
Gender Differences in the Context of Patriarchal Dualism


4. Ego Development and Dualism in Latency


Object Relations
Ego Development
Existential Orientation: Playful Exploration of the World


5. Ego Development and Dualism in Adolescence


Object Relations
Ego Development
Existential Concerns: Identity Testing and Identity Anxiety


6. Ego Development and Dualism in Early Adulthood


Object Relations
Ego Development
Existential Project: Earning Being and Value—The Identity Project


7. Midlife Transvaluation and Pathologies of the Self


The Disillusionment of the Mental Ego
Pathologies of the Self
Existential Syndrome
The Divided Self
The Borderline Condition


8. The First Stage of Transcendence: The Dark Night of the Senses


Pride Goeth Before a Fall
The Inverse Law of Spiritual Development
Passive Purgation
Weakness of Will
The Bitter Pill of Self-Knowledge
On the Edge: Transition to the Dark Night of Spirit
Emergence of the Mystery of Faith


9. The Spiral Path of Transcendence: Awakening, Regression, Regeneration


Awakening: Rupture of Planes and Encounter with the Numinous
Regression in the Service of Transcendence
Redemptive versus Pathological Regression: On Distinguishing the Dark Night of Spirit from Psychosis
Regeneration in Spirit


10. Gender and Transcendence


Empowerment versus Withdrawal
Jung's Conception of the Anima and Animus: A Critique
Jung's Conception of the Anima and Animus: A Reconstruction
God the Father and the Great Goddess


11. The Goal of Transcendence: Integration


Features of Integrated Life
The Marriage of the Ego and the Dynamic Ground
Integration as Goal and New Beginning







In this book, Michael Washburn provides a psychoanalytic foundation for transpersonal psychology. Using psychoanalytic theory, Washburn explains how ego development both prepares for and creates obstacles to ego transcendence. Spiritual development, he proposes, can be properly understood only in terms of the ego development that precedes it. For example, many difficulties encountered in spiritual development can be traced to repressive underpinnings of ego development, and significant gender differences in spiritual development can be traced to corresponding gender differences that emerge during ego development.

Washburn draws on a wide range of psychoanalytic perspectives in discussing ego development and uses both Eastern and Western sources in discussing spiritual development. In rethinking transpersonal psychology in psychoanalytic terms, he explains how essential elements of Jungian thought can be grounded in psychoanalytic theory.

Michael Washburn is Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, South Bend.


"The author has an original theory of human development and self-actualization first expressed in outline form in his Ego and the Dynamic Ground and in this book presented in its fully developed and mature form. It is now more impressive for the range of materials it integrates, for the clearness of its thought, and for the way it brings into unity Freudian thought and the highest experiences of the great mystics of both West and East. " — Harold G. Coward, University of Victoria

"The scholarship is impeccable, the theoretical dimension is rigorous, and the critical thinking is strong. " — David M. Levin, Northwestern University

"Washburn's successful rapprochement of two of the most important psychodynamic traditions—psychoanalysis and transpersonal psychology—constitutes a major theoretical contribution to psychology. " — Steven M. Rosen, City University of New York, College of Staten Island