More fun stuff - I wish I could have seen more of the psychology stuff. This is part one of two posts on this panel - too much for one post.
Panel: What is the Relationship Between Integral Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy? Ray Greenleaf, Elliott Ingersoll, Janet Lewis, Andre Marquis, Joanne Rubin, Douglas Tatyryn, Jefferey JessumWe were joined by a special guest, someone who has seen the evolution of transpersonal psychology into integral psychology, and has guided the process in some ways, Roger Walsh.
There's no abstract for this, but the topic should speak for itself.
IP = Integral Psychotherapy or psychology
TP = Transpersonal psychology
IT = Integral theory
Roger kicked off the panel with a brief series of remarks:
- Socio-economic forces are stacked against us in a big way - HMOs/drug companies are dictating the terms of the game - drugs & cheap, brief therapies
- These therapies are not more effective - all therapies are equally effective when offered by skilled therapists
- Spiritual practice is not how it reads in the books - we do not go into the woods, meditate a bit, and become enlightened - it's messier than that, and IP/TP offer guidance with that
- The integral model brings the quadrants together in a way traditional models do not - when we consider things like lifestyle factors in depression, and that fish oil, exercise, and so many other things are effective, it's important to add these perspectives as options
- The IP/TP models tend to encourage therapists to do their own work - shadow work, contemplation, etc - which makes them better at their jobs and improves outcomes
[Everything here is my best effort at a paraphrase.]
Andre made some good points, at various times that add up to a valid and useful critique of IP and Wilber's model in general - so I will just list some of them:
- Wilber makes ontological statements about reality that are difficult to make - from the experience of interior states to the nature of reality - these are philosophically challenging
- I can honor a client's claims about transpersonal experience without alienating the field - we do not need to make declarative statements about reality
- I avoided superpersonal / transpersonal stuff in my book - in North Texas, where I work, transpersonal issues are not relevant - maybe spiritual issues, but not transpersonal
- ~ He left Adi Da because of Nietzsche
- ~ Nietzsche said that spiritual systems devalue this life but seeking something more
- ~ Andre feels that Ken is guilty of this devaluing
- ~ His main practice is hunting and fishing now - how many people experience or live in nonduality? Not many, and he can transcend himself in nature while fishing
- He prefers an embedded / embodied practice - interpersonal, intersubjective
- Nietzsche offers a "perpetual self overcoming" - what better practice is there?
Joanne replied to some of Andre's points about Wilber:
- Training in states of consciousness can verify Wilber's claims - her point seemed to echo Wilber's Marriage of Sense and Soul in suggesting that we take an injunction (Wilber's claims about ultimate reality) and test them (follow the injunction, the practice), then compare outcomes.
Jeff commented a bit on this as well:
- Different validity claims have their place - but translating them (as from subjective to objective) poses certain problems that are hard to surmount with our current framework
- Integral theory as scaffolding
- TP as a modality within the framework of IT
Elliott is a cool guy (is it wrong to have a man-crush on him? None of the pictures online do him justice), who had a lot of interesting things to say.
- Ontological assumptions in journal articles often go unchallenged. Example: depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain - not true. We don't even know what a chemical balance would look like, let alone imbalance. It's all "word magic" - creating illusions of certainty.
- But if you posit a transpersonal or an integral etiology, the editors are all over it. Depression is a very integrally amenable illness with a variety of causes (quadrants, levels, states, stages, etc) and treatments. TP does not really offer this diversity of cause or treatment.
More from Elliott:
- "Systems of Modern Psychology: A Critical Sketch" - recommended book
- The APA (American Psychological Association), ACA (American Counseling Association), and other "bodies" of psychology (boards, journals, etc) all decide what is real within their domains. They dictate the ontological truth. There is no division in the APA for transpersonal psychology.
- If IP becomes another division of the APA, the risk is the loss of its unique way of working with clients.
- As long as the people writing our textbooks are first tier, IP/TP will only be individual models among many many. Unless we write the books, IP in particular will not be seen as a meta-theory, an overarching map.
- Theory is good. But his passion is practice. CBT is useful, as is holotropic breathwork, and other techniques
- CBT can deconstruct a personality as well as any other method - different modalities can all be useful
- The "kosmic address" of the client and the therapist are both important in choosing the modality and in creating the relationship
- IP vs TP - maps can help with acceptance - IP has more potential for acceptance because of its mapping and meta-theory - a Trojan Horse approach
- Integral is a perspective he uses with clients to bring resources to them - Are there therapies/techniques that are distinctly transpersonal?
- Many techniques have been developed to attain transpersonal states/awareness
- "Revisioning Transpersonal Psychology" - a more participatory approach, in answer to Doug (and to Andre)
- So far, integral has been more about taking perspectives, more individually focused
More to come in part two, later tonight. Now I must go see some of the posters.