Therapeutic work, especially transpersonal therapeutic work can be usefully thought of as participating in three levels of co-creation:- the inner, the between, and the beyond. More specifically, I propose that we can think of transpersonal therapy as finding ways to help the client (and ourselves) explore life in three broad spheres of engagement.
- The inner, the intra-psychic level. We draw on all facets of being human in the work – the mind, the creative imagination, the body, the emotions. Therapy which excludes one or more of these spheres denies the client the chance to ‘co-create’ their reality and experience in the therapy. This is an inner co-creation, where our different capacities need to be balanced and find ways to work in harmony within our wholeness. We help clients to bring a kind of ‘full capacity’ approach to their difficulties – the Jungians name this in terms of the functions – sensation, feeling, intuition and thinking. Other therapists prefer to explore this in terms of elements, earth, water, fire, and air.
- The between, the relationship level. Co-creation of therapy between therapist and client, where we bring an authentic and empathic awareness to the therapy encounter.
- The beyond. This is the co-creation with the mystery of life itself, a way of thinking about participation in the evolution of humanity, the cosmos, the divine. From this level the Hadith ‘I was a Hidden Treasure and I so longed to be known that I created the universe’ can be understood. I have written about this here.
This conception of transpersonal psychotherapy draws on the recent participatory turn in transpersonal psychology, articulated by Jorge Ferrer and others. Participation encourages transpersonal knowing which is based in relationship, embodiment, challenging narcissism, and action based personal positioning, that is a sense of being embedded in an ecology, being a part of a bigger whole which our spiritual lives are also a part of. Whilst there are many forms of spiritual knowing which are less relational, less embodied, less concerned with the collective and manifest, in therapy it is most often the case that our clients are seeking ways to be in the world, to find ways to make their lives meaningful, rich, loving and productive. The concepts of the three levels of co-creation fit this aim, and remain true to the transpersonal endeavour.