Sunday, August 01, 2010

Panel: What is the Relationship Between Integral Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy? (Part 2) #itc2010

More fun stuff - I wish I could have seen more of the psychology sessions. This is part two of two posts on this panel - too much for one post. (Part one is here.) OK, so I didn't get this done last night as planned . . . apologies.
Panel: What is the Relationship Between Integral Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy? Ray Greenleaf, Elliott Ingersoll, Janet Lewis, Andre Marquis, Joanne Rubin, Douglas Tatyryn, Jefferey Jessum
We 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.

[PLEASE NOTE: I am paraphrasing the panelists comments as accurately as I can - these are not to be taken as quotes.]

Please note:
IP = Integral Psychotherapy or psychology
TP = Transpersonal psychology
IT = Integral theory

OK, then, on with part two . . . .

Ray offered an observation:
  • Psychotherapy = to serve the soul
  • What is the soul?
  • The soul is that which brings meaning, depth, luminosity - (terms which also need to be defined, in my opinion, and that of those on the panel as well)
  • He had mentioned earlier that as an earlier student of Jung, he finds a rich territory in bridging Jung and Wilber (and for those who know, Wilber has been very critical of Jung, while also acknowledging his debt to Jung)
There was then a brief discussion of Wilber having dropped the use of Transpersonal psychology in 1995 (with the publication of SES), due to its pre/trans issues, inordinate focus on altered states, etc. Ray suggested that he did not so much drop it as move beyond it into a larger field.

  • This whole topic can be tied to the history of psychology
  • Wilhelm Wundt as the father of Western psychology
  • But Wundt was somewhat integral in looking at various elements of the psyche, including the brain, intelligence, and other factors
  • Is there a consensus that integral transcends and includes TP?
Janet: (the lone dissent)
  • Yes and No.
  • Each sees itself as subsuming the other.
  • Isn't that part of the integral model?
  • What does TP offer that is not included in IP?
  • (citing Maslow): any psychology that does not account for higher stages/states or functions of consciousness as much as lower states/stages and functions is not complete
  • IP transcends and includes TP
  • There is no way to know what we don't know (I'm not clear on the context of this statement, there may have been a side conversation at this point)
Doug: (offers this as a general rhetorical question)
  • Is Ken still doing transpersonal and we're just confusing it with integral?
  • Integral handles the complexity
  • Ken moved through TP into something bigger
  • Integral is a huge space for us to play in
  • There are likely to be things we have missed, that Ken has missed, that we will discover later
  • TP developed to hold ideas and experiences that the humanistic models could not
  • IP offers a bigger lens than TP can provide
  • It's part of the evolution of psychology
Joanne: (she had been pretty quiet through the discussion, and Ray asked her what she was thinking)
  • I'm wondering about the audience reaction . . .
  • What is the relevance of this discussion
  • Does this matter?
Ray opened up the Q&A portion at this point . . .

John Wagnon (who blogged the critics panel here) asked an excellent question:
  • What techniques has IP offered that it created itself, techniques that are not borrowed/included from other systems?
  • IP is an operating system
  • It points out the various practices to fill in the gaps
Doug mentioned at some point, and maybe I covered this in the previous post, that IP is a map, and it offers a way to fine tune interventions to the person and the dysfunction - kind of a meta-model he can use to orient himself

  • 3-2-1 shadow work has a place, but it is not true shadow work
  • If that is your shadow work practice, you will be carrying a big shadow with you for the rest of your life - it's a false answer
[I am SO in agreement with that comment]

  • Same thing with Big Mind and nondual consciousness
  • You are not going to get enlightened in an afternoon session with Genpo Roshi
  • It's a taste, not a real practice
[again, I SO agree with that comment]

And with that, we come to an end. This is was a fun discussion to witness. The general conclusion, with Janet as a lone dissent, is that IP transcends and includes TP - and also that IP is more of a generalizing map, or an operating system, than it is a unique form of therapy.

At one point, there was discussion about what might happen if IP DID become a part of the APA sections, would it lose it's uniqueness. There was some conjecture that we might see Integral CBT, Integral Self Psychology, Integral DBT, and so, with each of the various therapies now in use adopting the Integral tag (as we are seeing right now with mindfulness-based [fill in the blank]).

I don't really see this happening any time soon.

But what we really need is to find a way to make IP assessable to working therapists. My girlfriend looks at this stuff and says two things: (1) I'm already doing most of this stuff - my practice is bio-psycho-social, and (2) the model is way to complex to be useful when I am sitting with a client - at that moment, all that matters is the relationship with the client.

It's hard to argue with that logic - as often as I try.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Your girlfriend is pointing to an interesting split I often see between int... sorry Integral, and the life-world: Integral, particularly what I've seen of IntPsych, is focussed on theory compiled by Wilber, using (and now often stuck with) ideas current in the 90s. In the interim, working psychotherapeutic theory is being forced, through the weight of empirical evidence, towards an integration of several streams of thought/action/practice: neuro, "narrative", bio-psycho-social, with differentiation, attachment and object relations plus a healthy dose of spiritual/existential awareness. All in service to the foundation of therapeutic change on the relationship between client and therapist and the understanding of the small contribution to client change of the particular technique favoured by a practitioner. (Rosenzweig; Wampold; Luborsky et al; Lambert & Bergin;...)

This has given rise to an integral view of the client/practitioner/practice system which has moved beyond the sterility both of modalities and of categories such as transpersonal or, indeed, Integral. For me, until Integral psychology, in talking about psychotherapy, incorporates the last fifteen+ years of research into what can best be said to happen and what works in therapy, its opinions are likely to be of ever decreasing relevance to the discussion in the world of actual, human practice.

Joanne's initial question was on the money: what the relevance of this discussion? The transpersonal/Integral psych issue seems to me more religious or political than practical.