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Multiculturalism and the ‘Transpersonal’

Sunday, January 21st, 2007 @ 11:00 pm
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I was asked to teach a session on TRANSPERSONAL APPROACHES TO COUNSELLING for the MA students on Tuesday, 6th February…how great, I love this topic!. I will present a powerpoint presentation with my beloved Jung, Wilber, Assagioli etc. Am also looking forward to the contributions from the group and their feedback.

As I was doing some reading around transpersonal theories earlier today, I saw that cross-cultural psychology has been, from its origins, multicultural and as Davis, J. (2003, An overview of transpersonal psychology. Humanistic Psychologist, 31 (2-3), 6-21. [Special edition on Transpersonal Psychology. Guest editors: Harris Friedman and Douglas Macdonald. ) highlights:

“transpersonal psychology requires us to challenge our culturally-defined views of mental health and psychotherapy and to draw cross-cultural insights into its practices and applications”.

In earlier posts, I was commenting around the issues of diversity, power dynamics etc. Davis stresses attention to something very profound, which I haven’t seen put so clearly into words:

“Transpersonal psychology has been criticized for emphasizing this oneness at the expense of diversity, and this criticism should be heard. I find myself particularly drawn to the argument that unity is an easier position to adopt for those in power than for those who are marginalized. The shadow of “We are one” may be blindness to subtle forms of discrimination and disempowerment. Nevertheless, unity is at the foundation of a transpersonal view”

In an attempt to avoid cultural misappropriation Davis continues by saying:

“It is important, in my opinion, to do our best not to misappropriate others’ cultural and spiritual practices and views. Yet, there are a number of more subtle factors which make this more difficult to implement. Some members of a particular culture have offered their practices while other members have been upset; there are sometimes significant internal schisms within ethnic communities about inviting nonmembers in. For example, Tibetan Buddhists have welcomed many Westerners into traditional rituals and practices, and some Native Americans have taught and empowered non-Indians to participate in and use traditional ritual forms”

Will come back to all this material for further reflection…

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