What is a Transpersonal Approach to Life Coaching?
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
I work as a transpersonal coach, which I also like to describe as an,
‘integrative, balanced and embodied approach’ that, ‘unites psychological and spiritual perspectives’
When I mention the word transpersonal, I’m often met with blank stares. Some people like to hazard a guess or are keen to ask me what the word transpersonal means and subsequently, how and who a transpersonal coach helps.
The word transpersonal is taken from Transpersonal Psychology, an approach to psychology which was first introduced by psychologists such as Abraham Maslow in in the early 1960s. It is known as the ‘forth wave’ of psychology which is based on the perspective that we are more than an individual body and mind, and there is something that goes beyond the ego which encompasses wider dimensions of our being.
This approach is also interested in transformation and transcendence of the ego, integrating spiritual perspective which sometimes leads it to be described as a spiritual psychology. The word ‘spiritual’ is often misunderstood. It is separate from religion or any specific doctrine and can be understood universally as an inner experience of connection to something greater than oneself, such as the sacred and meaningful. I was instantly drawn towards the field of transpersonal psychology because it is an approach which encompasses my passion for spirituality, meditation, psychology and science. It integrates rather than disregards experiences which we can’t always make sense of and goes beyond the limitations of mainstream science and psychology alone.
So how does this relate to transpersonal coaching?
As a transpersonal coach, people come to me with a wide range of issues. Some people are struggling with anxiety, burnout or a loss of meaning and direction in life; they might be trying to accomplish specific goals. Many are struggling with their relationships or an ability to communicate. Others have experienced spiritual, or transcendent experiences that they are trying to make sense of or integrate into their lives. What makes transpersonal coaching different from other styles of life coaching, is not necessarily the problems that people come to the sessions with, but the perspective that is taken to approach these issues. This includes using mindfulness techniques, or expansive and open states of awareness to help people find greater clarity in relation to their problems.
Transpersonal coaching also emphasises the transformative potential of the healing presence that takes place between the coach and client within sessions; qualities of intuition, connection, compassion and mindful states are practiced and valued.
Like most styles of coaching, transpersonal coaching focusses on potential rather than pathology, distinguishing it in some ways from therapy.
One of the key things I like to share in my coaching, is that although times of ‘crisis’ can be difficult, times of crisis hold the potential for us to grow and ‘emerge’ to encompass greater levels of being. A Transpersonal approach to coaching helps people to interpret their experiences in meaningful ways and provides a supportive framework that recognises the transformative potential of challenging experiences as opposed to treating them as something to be repressed or ignored.
When our innate resilience is nourished, and difficult experiences are worked through with the right level of guidance and support, we may find greater meaning behind these challenges.
It is my belief that experiences of burnout, a loss of meaning in our life, anxiety, depression, or certain types of crisis are part of a transformative journey which we can learn to navigate with greater compassion, ease and acceptance–rather than try to ‘fix’ or ‘get over’.
To be honest, I’ve never been that fond of the word coach…
I’ve always found it to sound quite mechanical and focused too much on striving or improving ourselves. I think of a transpersonal coach as more of a guide or facilitator, who helps people to connect with their intuitive awareness and alternative ways of knowing.
Helping people to find a balance between the masculine and feminine polarities of ourselves–to find acceptance and presence for what we experience, while also engaging in practices and setting goals to work toward greater transformation and wholeness.
My work as a transpersonal coach is also based on the understanding that we have a core self, a soul or a self that is already whole and complete - we are, in essence, already ‘healed’. Sometimes parts of us might get ‘broken off’, be disowned or function in unhealthy ways because of our past wounds and experiences, yet we can integrate and bring all parts of us back into ‘wholeness’.
This ability to integrate and bring ourselves back into wholeness, lets us shift limiting beliefs and stories that kept us stuck in unhealthy and destructive way of being; to move forward with greater direction, clarity and flow in life.
As a Transpersonal Coach, I focus not only on helping people cultivate resilience through difficulty, but to also find meaning and purpose through adversity. It is my belief that with the right support a time of crisis can lead to a significant spiritual and psychological transformation of the whole self.
Thanks for reading and if you’d like to find out more, please get in touch!