Spiritual considerations and psychology are now the principal design tools used to create aesthetically and functionally beautiful places, emotionally and socially fulfilling spaces, because all significant events in life reflect a deeper sense of purpose, meaning and direction in this, the human experience! James e. Woody
"We recognized the role of imagination and ritual that is shared between contemporary psychotherapies and all ancient traditions. It is also evident that the arts are the bridging existential phenomena that unite ritual, imagination and dream-world in a way that no other activity can do." - Paulo Knill (p.50 in Foundations of Expressive Arts Therapy).
What is Transpersonal Art therapy?
A growing trend among academics is Transpersonal Art therapy, which focuses on self-realization, dealing less with curing and more with healing. Curing without healing is a triumph; healing which may entail curing is a necessity. The mind and body is more than just an extremely complex machine. We are also spiritual beings learning from life, searching for meaning in birth, death, and all that precedes and follows our life cycle. The psycho-spiritual traditions of the world's cultures offer us the potential for new models of health and well-being. Comparative studies of spiritual and religious systems and transpersonal anthropology are an important part of Transpersonal Art therapy, because all significant events in life reflect a deeper sense of purpose, meaning and direction and the spiritual or transpersonal dimension of the human experience!
How does it work?
Transpersonal Psychologists, take clients through a series of carefully developed exercises which help them look inward for a place if inspiration. Usually done as part of the programming process, these exercises bring to the fore a vast personal store of experience and emotions that contribute to a client's vision of ideal place. One of the disciplines considered by Boucovolas (1999), in a listing describing how transpersonal psychology may relate to other areas of transpersonal study.
Transpersonal psychology approaches to health, social sciences and practical arts.
Transpersonal psychology is sometimes confused with parapsychology, a mistake made due to the overlapping and unconventional research interests of both fields; parapsychology would however tend to focus more in its subject matter on the "psychic" and transpersonal psychology the "spiritual" (relatively crude though these categorizations are, it is still a useful distinction in this context). While parapsychology leans more towards traditional scientific epistemology (laboratory experiments, statistics, research on cognitive states), transpersonal psychology tends to be more closely related to the epistemology of the humanities and the hermeneutic disciplines (humanism, existentialism, phenomenology, anthropology), although it has always included contributions involving experimental and statistical research.
Transpersonal psychology is also sometimes
confused with the
New Age. Although the transpersonal
perspective grew out of the
human potential movement, a movement that
many commentators associate with a broad conception of the New Age, it is
still problematic to place transpersonal psychology within such a framework.
Transpersonal psychology is an academic discipline, not a religious or
spiritual movement, and many of the field's leading authors, among those Sovatsky (1998) and Rowan (1993), have addressed problematic aspects of New
In writing about Transpersonal Art, Boucovolas begins by noting how, according to Breccia and also to the definitions employed by the International Transpersonal Association in 1971, Transpersonal Art may be understood as art work which draws upon important themes beyond the individual self, such as the transpersonal consciousness. This makes Transpersonal Art criticism germane to mystical approaches to creativity. Transpersonal Art criticism, as Boucovolas notes, can be considered that which claims conventional art criticism has been too committed to stressing rational dimensions of art and has subsequently said little on art's spiritual dimensions, or as that which holds art work has a meaning beyond the individual person.
Transpersonal perspectives are also being applied to such diverse fields as psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, pharmacology, cross-cultural studies (Scotton, Chinen and Battista, 1996; Davis, 2003) and social work (Cowley & Derezotes, 1994). Currently, transpersonal psychology, especially the schools of Jungian and Archetypal psychology, is integrated, at least to some extent, into many psychology departments in American and European Universities. Transpersonal therapies are also included in many therapeutic practices.
Certain aspects of the psychology of Carl Jung, as well as movements such as music therapy and art therapy, may also relate to the field. Boucovolas' paper cites Breccia (1971) as an early example of Transpersonal Art, and claims that at the time his article appeared, philosopher Ken Wilber had made recent contributions to the field. More recently, the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, in 2005, Volume 37, launched a special edition devoted to the media, which contained articles on film criticism that can be related to this field. Reference: Boucovolas, M. (1999). Following the movement: from transpersonal psychology to a multidisciplinary transpersonal orientation. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 31 (1) 27-39 Wikipedia information about Transpersonal Art. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Transpersonal Art". "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpersonal_art.
The History of Transpersonal Thinking.
Transpersonal psychology is one of the disciplines considered by Boucovolas (1999), in listing how transpersonal psychology may relate to other areas of transpersonal study. In writing about Transpersonal Art, Boucovolas begins by make note how, according to Breccia the definitions employed by the International Transpersonal Association in 1971, Transpersonal Art may be understood as art work draws upon important themes beyond the individual self, such as the transpersonal consciousness. This makes Transpersonal Art criticism germane to mystical approaches to creativity. Transpersonal Art criticism, as Boucovolas notes, can be considered that which claims conventional art criticism has been too committed to stressing rational dimensions of art and has subsequently said little on art's spiritual dimensions, or as that which holds art work has a meaning beyond the individual person. Certain aspects of the psychology of Carl Jung, as well as movements such as music therapy and art therapy, may also relate to the field. Boucovolas' paper cites Breccia (1971) as an early example of Transpersonal Art, and claims that at the time his article appeared, philosopher Ken Wilber had made recent contributions to the field.
More recently, the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, in 2005, Volume 37, launched a special edition devoted to the media, which contained articles on film criticism that can be related to this field. By common consent, the following branches are considered to be transpersonal psychological schools: Jungian psychology, depth psychology (more recently rephrased as the archetypal psychology of James Hillman), the spiritual psychology of Robert Sardello, (2001), psychosynthesis founded by Roberto Assagioli, and the theories of Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber, and Michael Washburn.
Amongst certain thinkers who are considered to have set the stage for transpersonal studies are William James, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow, and Roberto Assagioli (Cowley & Derezotes, 1994; Miller, 1998; Davis, 2003). Research by Vich (1988) suggests that earliest usage of the term "transpersonal" can be found in lecture notes which William James who had prepared for a semester at Harvard University in 1905-6. A major motivating factor behind the initiative to establish this school of psychology was Abraham Maslow's who had already published work regarding human peak experiences. Maslow's work grew out of the humanistic movement of the 1960's, and gradually the term "transpersonal" was associated with a distinct school of psychology within the humanistic movement.
In 1969, Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and Anthony Sutich were the initiators behind the publication of the first issue of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, the leading academic journal in the field. This was soon to be followed by the founding of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) in 1972. Past presidents of the association include Alyce Green, James Fadiman, Frances Vaughan, Arthur Hastings, Daniel Goleman, Rob Frager, Ronald Jue, Jeanne Achterberg and Dwight Judy. In the 1980s and 90s the field developed through the works of such authors as Jean Houston, Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber, Michael Washburn, Frances Vaughan, Roger Walsh, Stanley Krippner, Michael Murphy, Charles Tart, David Lukoff, Vasily Nalimov and Stuart Sovatsky. While Wilber has been considered an influential writer and theoretician in the field, he has since personally dissociated himself from the movement in favor of what he calls an integral approach.
Institutions of higher learning that have adopted insights from transpersonal psychology include The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (US), California Institute of Integral Studies (US), John F. Kennedy University (US), Burlington College (US), Liverpool John Moores University (UK) and the University of Northampton (UK), and Naropa University (CO). There is also a strong connection between the transpersonal and the humanistic perspective. This is not surprising since transpersonal psychology started off within humanistic psychology (Aanstoos, Serlin & Greening, 2000).
Art & Neuroscience> Brain. The perception of art by the brain.
This is the approach that studies what happens to art when it enters the brain: how our brains reconstruct, assess, and fasten judgment to works of art. This includes not only bottom-up flows (sensory input moving higher and higher, up into the cortex), but also top-down flows (expectations influencing the viewing or listening process; jogged memories coloring our incoming perceptions). These flows are what the vast majority of current neuroaesthetics research is concerned with, and indeed what most books concerning art and the brain investigate.
What this approach is most interested in is perception and analysis of basic aesthetic details: how we see color, detect motion, hear sound, recognize faces, feel rhythm, and what the peculiarities of each perceptual system tell us about the way the brain stitches these properties together. Then, at the next level, we can begin to untangle emotional and executive areas of the brain and their involvement in making and viewing art. Art’s effects can be correlated with the production of fear via the amygdala, pleasure in the nucleus accumbens, mystery/problem solving in the prefrontal cortex, disgust in the insula. Also involved at these higher levels is our empathetic connection to the work, be it a character in a film, or a melody in a song, and the top-down control it has over the perception of the work at hand.
"The perception of art by the brain" and other related concepts are derived from non-scientific writings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the Nobel Prize-winning “father of modern neuroscience.”
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