The movement originated in the United States in the 1960s.
The term “transpersonal” refers to that which extends beyond the personality, understood as a mask that obscures the individual’s essence and highest potential. The transpersonal approach aims at revealing this potential, moving in the direction of an authentic relationship with human nature.
The transpersonal perspective embodies the requisites of the holistic paradigm and aims at developing enlightened, wise and mature people who contribute to the wellbeing of human life through a sense of solidarity with humanity and reverence for nature. The movement posits itself as an experience-based element that reconciles science and spirituality; a synthesis of modern knowledge and ancient wisdom.
Transpersonal psychology examines and integrates the framework of Western psychology – above all the Gestalt, existential, humanistic strand – with mystical Eastern meditation-based traditions such as yoga, Zen, Sufism, and also the shamanic practices based on ecstasy and direct contact with the forces of nature. It is also strongly influenced by the most recent findings of modern physics and biophysics, and closely correlates with other sciences, such as sophrology, sociology, anthropology and parapsychology.
In light of these considerations, transpersonal psychology may be characterised as a vast movement of thought and research that works towards the integration of psychological methods and principles, and spiritual or shamanic practices and rituals, to form a synthesis of mind, meditation, spirituality and transcendence, ordinary and non-ordinary states of consciousness, mystical, ecstatic or shamanic states.