(Supplementary Notes & References)
Adam Blatner, M.D.

(These remarks are a supplement to a talk I gave at the Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds of the Scott & White Medical Center, on October 1, 2004.)      (See also:  Articles on Spiritual Issues in Psychotherapy
     or    Re-Story-Ing the Soul. )

Historical Developments

The history of the re-emergence of spirituality in psychotherapy is complex, but just briefly mentioning some of the precursors lets you know that it didn't just emerge out of the pink clouds of new age romanticism.

 1. Early Para-Christian Developments: The Hermetic Tradition in the earlier and later middle ages produced an occult wisdom tradition generally interpreted as being compatible with mainstream Church dogma in order to protect its membership, but actually referring to psychological and metaphysical principles that had their roots in other sources. Some of these had roots in the mystery cults of the Graeco-Roman Empire, with connections with the myths of Egypt, Greece, and the Middle East. Some roots arose from Jewish Mysticism (i.e. Kabbalah.)

    During the Renaissance and through the Englightenment in Europe, these evolved into the Masonic, Rosicrucian, and other secret fraternities, and near the end of the 19th Century flourished as a number of occult sects that explored magick (sic) and the symbol systems of the Tarot cards, alchemy, crystals, colors, talismans, rituals, and so forth.

   Also, during the 19th Century, the influx of studies about Chinese, Japanese, and especially the Hindu and Islamic mystical traditions of Tantric Yoga and Sufism, all enriched this tradition and this cross-cultural fertilization has continued.

  2. In the United States, the transcendental tradition had early roots, including (in the early 19th century), the thought of Emerson and Thoreau, in America (Taylor, 1999).

  3. Carl Jung and his system of analytical psychology has become another significant foundation for transpersonal thought. A psychiatrist and early associate of Freud, they broke largely because Jung held that the capacity for religious feeling and imagery was as basic as sexuality, which Freud found both heretical (i.e., incompatible with his own personal needs for theoretical orthodoxy) and a dangerous flirtation with illusory modes of thought.

Freud gave a good deal of attention to building a professional organization to carry forward his ideas, while Jung and Adler didn't. Thus, Freudian thought became dominant by the mid-20th Century, although many thoughtful psychologists and psychiatrists have since formed separate organizations to propagate the insights of both Adler and Jung.

In the 1960s, the influx of spiritual teachings from the Orient, the emergence of psychedelic drugs and experiences, the broadening of the fields of anthropolgy, ethnological studies, and comparative studies of mythology and religion all combined to foster a resurgence of interest in Jung's approach, because Jung's analytical psychology, with its openness to a richer interpretation of the symbols of the psyche, gave far more satisfactory responses for thinking about the imagery described. This influence continues to grow in many circles, so that a few have suggested that in the not-too-distant future it will be Jung rather than Freud who will be considered the more prescient pioneer.

   4. Another root for thinking about spirituality and meaning was existential psychiatry, drawing on trends of existential and phenomenological philosophy in the earlier part of the last century. Their emphasis was on not reducing people's experience to a narrow range of theoretical dynamics, but rather trying to appreciate the fullness of their lives. The quest for meaning was hardly addressed by the other dominant schools of thought–psychoanalysis in psychiatry and behaviorism in academic psychology.

   5. There were some psychoanalysts who were somewhat more radical, such as Erich Fromm, and who addressed more cultural dynamics.

   6. From the two aforementioned influences, a "third force" (aside from behaviorism or psychoanalysis) emerged, "Humanistic Psychology," which included in its scope the power for healing conferred by the "higher" functions, the more mature and human functions (in contrast to the foundation in early childhood or "rat" psychology). Pioneers like Abraham H. Maslow, Rollo May, Carl Rogers, Charlotte Buhler, Herbert Otto, James F. T. Bugental, and others had an increasing influence in the late 1950s through the 1970s and beyond.  

    7. Meanwhile, in the 1950s and 1960s, the basis of psychotherapy was being expanded, with a proliferation of new methods, such as:
       - Roberto Assagioli's    Psychosynthesis
       - Fritz and Laura Perls'    Gestalt Therapy
       - Alexander Lowen's   Bioenergetic Analysis (a refinement of Wilhelm Reich's body work)
       - J. L. Moreno's     Psychodrama
       - Eric Berne's        Transactional Analysis
       - William Glasser's   Reality Therapy
       - Aaron Beck's       Cognitive Therapy
       - Carl Rogers'     Person-Centered Therapy
       - Family Therapies (many pioneers)
       - Creative Arts Therapies (art therapy, poetry therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, dance and movement therapy, etc.)
       - Group Psychotherapies (many pioneers)
              And so forth. In the next few decades, the number of identifiable therapies rose to over a hundred–and some claimed over two hundred!  Since the 1970s, there has also been an increasing interest in developing a more intellectually grounded approach to integrating the best insights from all these approaches, an informed eclecticism, and a search for the common denominators in all types of therapy.

   8. The variety of approaches mixed with ideas from Humanistic and Existential Psychotherapy and Group Psychotherapy, along with developments in philosophy, to spawn an increasing sense that all these approaches could offer benefits not just to help the "sick" heal, but also to help the normal or healthy become even healthier!  Thus was born of this synthesis the "Human Potential Movement" and the "encounter group," which flourished as a cultural fashion for about a decade, around 1967 through the late 1970s. These then blended into becoming a range of more focused programs, the idea of coaching, applications in management training, various support groups, etc.

   9. Changes in the immigration laws in the mid-1960s allowed for a non-discrimination towards non-Europeans, and this in turn allowed for an influx of people from the Middle East and East and South Asia. Along with these came their spiritual teachers, which gave a boost to the growth of alternative religions–Yoga, Hinduism, Sufism, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and so forth. (There was also an upsurge in interest in Native American Indian spirituality, and the spirituality of many other indigenous peoples.) These influences affected not only those who were inclined to "join cults," but also many thoughtful critics who considered what might be useful in such approaches. This proliferation of types of spirituality also led to a search for what they all might have in common.

 10. Within the mainstream religions, meanwhile, there were a variety of mildly revolutionary writers and thinkers promoting a range of reforms. Christian mystics were re-discovered, and the whole idea of developing a more direct relationship with divinity became more widely appreciated. Social concern infused the Churches as "Liberation Theology." There was more ecumenicism, and Jews and Christians from various denominations generated more discussions and collaborative ventures. (The fight for Civil Rights in the 60s was one example.) The "God is Dead" controversy was put forth not as a nihilistic pronouncement, but authored by deeply spiritual Christian thinkers in order to provoke a re-thinking about how God is popularly conceived and collectively dealt with.

  11. Transpersonal psychology, at the end of the 1960s, emerged from a combination of humanistic psychology and many of the other aforementioned influences. There were psychiatrists involved in this movement, also. Organizations were formed, journals and newsletters published, conferences held, and all these generated similar cultural efforts.

   12. By the early 1970s, the "new age" was becoming a loose aggregate of many of these trends. As a cultural trend, it was quite varied. Some elements were a bit cultish and "flaky," lacking much intellectually critical thinking, and appealing to the credulous. This sector was given excessive attention by the media, and also by reactionary elements in traditional religion that viewed it as a coherent religious movement with a set of shared doctrines–which was completely untrue! Anything but!  What tended to be ignored by the mass media was the considerable but more modulated and thus less easily characterized sector that was far more intellectually rigorous, thinking about the frontiers of consciousness and the future of spirituality, philosophy, and associated ideas. This sector has continued to work towards greater forms of integration, and many of its leaders don't think of themselves at all as being part of what most folks consider "new age."  (Being one of these advocates of more courageous re-thinking of the nature of therapy, personal development, and the frontiers of consciousness, I choose the term "the consciousness transformation field"–though in fact at present there is no consensus, no widely held term.)

(compiled by Adam Blatner, M.D.)

Boorstein, Seymour (Ed.). (1980). Transpersonal psychotherapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.

Dean, S. R. (1973). Metapsychiatry: The interface between psychiatry and mysticism. Amer J of Psychiatry, 130(9), 1036-38.

Dean, S. R. (1977). Psychiatry & mysticism. Chicago: Nelson Hall.

Deikman, A. (1971). Bimodal consciousness. Archives of General Psychiatry, 25(6), 481-490.

Drury, Nevill. (1999). Exploring the labyrinth: making sense of the new spirituality. New York: Continuum.

Fields, Rick (1992). How the swans came to the lake: A narrative history of Buddhism in America (3rd ed.). Boston: Shambhala.

Hixon, Lex. (1995). Coming home: The experience of enlightenment in sacred tradtions. Burdett, NY: Larson Publications. A nice survey of a number of traditions.
Houston, Jean. (1997). A passion for the possible: a guide to realizing your true potential. San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco.

Scotton, B. W., Chinen, A. B., & Battista, J. R. (1996). Textbook of transpersonal psychiatry and psychology. New York: Basic Books.

Shorto, Russell. (1999). Saints and madmen: psychiatry opens its doors to religion. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Smoley, Richard & Kinney, Jay. (1999). Hidden wisdom: a guide to the Western inner traditions. New York: Penguin / Arcana.

Taylor, Eugene. (1999). Shadow culture: psychology and spirituality in America from the great awakening to the New Age. Washington, DC: Counterpoint Publishing.       An outstanding and readable history, from 18th Century to present.

Ullman, R. & Reichenberg-Ullman, J. (2002). Mystics, masters, saints, and sages: Stories of enlightenment. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press.

Walsh, Roger, & Shapiro, Dean H. (Eds.) (1983). Beyond health and normality: Explorations of exceptional psychological well-being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Walsh, Roger,  & Vaughan, Frances. (Eds.) (1993). Paths beyond ego: The transpersonal vision. Los Angeles: Tarcher. (One of best overall introductions to transpersonal psychology.)

Wilber, Ken. (2000). Collected Works: Six Volumes. Boston: Shambhala. (These publishers do many books on this contemporary frontier.)
    Integral Institute:
              -                       -                     -                               -

Earlier references:

Braden, T. (1970). The age of aquarius. Chicago: Quadrangle Bks

D'Antonio, M. (1992). Heaven on earth: Dispatches from America's spiritual frontier. New York: Crown.

Deikman, A.(1982). The observing self: Mysticism & psychotherapy. Boston: Beacon.

Ferguson, M. (1980). The aquarian conspiracy. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher.

Feuerstein, G. (1991). Holy madness: The shock tactics and radical teachings of crazy-wise adepts, holy fools, and rascal gurus. New York: Paragon.

Fodor, N. (1949). The search for the beloved. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books. (on psychoanalysis & perinatal memories)

Greely, A. (August, 1969). There's a new-time religion on campus. New York Times Magazine.

Grof, S. (1984). Ancient wisdom & modern science. Albany NY: SUNY Press.

Grof, S. (1987). The adventure of self-discovery. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Harman, W. (1988). Global mind change. Indianapolis: Knowledge Systems.

Holroyd, S. (1977). Psi & the consciousness explosion. New York: Taplinger.

Keen, S. (1974). Voices and visions. New York: Harper & Row.

Keen, S. (1994). Hymns to an unknown God: Awakening the spirit in everyday life. New York: Bantam.

Lash, J. (1990). The seeker's handbook: The complete guide to spiritual pathfinding. New York: Harmony Books.

Lewis, J.R. & Melton, J.G. (Eds). Perspectives on the new age. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Miller, R.S. & Editors of New Age Journal (Eds.), (1992). As above, so below: Paths to spiritual renewal in daily life.
Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher. (Outstanding overview & references)

Mishlove, J. (1993). The roots of consciousness. Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books. (Revised, expanded version of his 1975 book)

Murphy, Michael. (1992). The future of the body: Explorations into the further evolution of human nature. Los Angeles: Tarcher

Needleman, J. (1970). The new religions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.

Nelson, J.E. (1990). Healing the Split. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher.

Pearce, Joseph Chilton. (1985). Magical child matures. New York: E.P. Dutton. (Pearce's earlier books, including The crack in the cosmic egg" and related titles, like Wilber's, make up some of the intellectual foundations of this new movement.)

Ram Das. (1971). Be here now. San Cristobal, NM: Lama Foundation.

Roszak, T. (1969). The making of a counter-culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.

Roszak, T. (1975). Unfinished animal: The aquarian frontier and the evolution of consciousness. New York: Harper & Row.

Slater, P. (1977). The wayward gate: Science & the supernatural. Boston: Beacon.

Tart, C.T. (Ed.) (1975). Transpersonal psychologies. New York: Harper & Row. (Excellent anthology, one of the earlier classic reviews of the emerging field.)

Toms, M. (1991). At the leading edge: New visions of science, spirituality, and society. Burdett, NY: Larson.

Van Dusen, W. (1972). The natural depth in man. New York: Harper & Row.

Vaughan, F. (1985). The inward arc: Healing and wholeness in psychotherapy and spirituality. Boston: Shambhala.

Walsh, R. (1993). The art of transcendence: An introduction to common elements of transpersonal practices. J. Transpersonal Psychology, 25(1), 1-9.

Walsh, Roger. (1995). Asian psychotherapies. In R. J. Corsini & D. Wedding (Eds.), Current Psychotherapies (5th ed.). Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock.

White, J. (Ed.) (1972). The highest state of consciousness. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.

Wilber, Ken. (1983). Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday.
  (Ken Wilber's over 18 books written between the late 1970s and the present make up some of the most interesting and best known intellectual foundations in the field.)

Wilber, K., Engler,J. & Brown, D.P. (Eds.) (1986). Transformations of consciousness: Conventional and contemplative perspectives on development. Boston: Shambhala.

Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, ecology, spirituality. Boston: Shambhala.

Wilson, C. (1971). The Occult: A history. New York: Random House.

Spiritual Emergence   (Books about the sometimes emotionally disturbing process accompanying shifts in consciousness and spiritual connectedness.)

Bragdon, E. (1990). The call of spiritual emergency: From personal crisis to personal transformation. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Dean, Stanley R. (December, 1978). Metapsychiatry and psychosocial futurology. MD Magazine, 11-13.

Targ, R. & Puthoff, H. (1977). Mind-reach: Scientists look at psychic ability. New York: Delacorte.
Wilber, K. (1983). Eye to eye: The quest for the new paradigm, pp 201-246. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday.

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

Other Organizations:
      Omega Institute; Institute for Noetic Sciences; Esalen Institute

New Dimensions Radio, P.O. Box 410510    San Francisco, CA 94141-0510
 Tapes available, and radio programs (KUT 90.5, Sundays 6 p.m.)

Re-Vision: A journal of consciousness and transformation
 HELDREF Publications, 1319 Eighteenth Street NW
  Washington, DC 20077-6117  (1-800 365-9753)

West of Austin, Texas, there is a new human potential institute, affiliated with Omega Institute (that started up in upstate New York): The Corssings.  Website:
    I recommend your checking it out! It's a real resource!

International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies
 and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM),

 Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
 475 Gate Five Road, Ste 300, Sausalito, CA 94965   415/ 331-5650
    Noetic Sciences Review, conferences, bulletin.

Fetzer Foundation, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Publishes:
    Advances: A Journal of Mind-Body Medicine.

Association for Transpersonal Psychology
 P.O.Box, 3049, Stanford, CA 94309   ph 415/ 327-2066
    Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Newsletter; Conference.

International Transpersonal Association    
 20 Sunnyside Ave, A-257, Mill Valley, CA 94941    
    (national & international conferences)