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Positive Psychology vs Transpersonal Psychology Essay

Compare and contrast the two disciplines of positive psychology and transpersonal psychology. In what ways do the two overlap and in what ways is each distinct? Support your comparison with references from this course or anywhere else in the literature. 400 words.

This week we will take up the challenge of comparing positive psychology and transpersonal psychology. We have spent the past 8 weeks reviewing topics and research in positive psychology. The discipline has really generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm within the field of psychology and can even be considered a movement. Now that you have some familiarity with the discipline it is time to pull back a bit and compare and contrast positive psychology and transpersonal psychology. What are some of the similarities and differences that you notice?

Many theorists, Seligman in particular, identifies the scope of positive psychology in terms of the following domains, that he refers to as PERMA (see (Links to an external site.))

  • Positive Emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

By way of contrast, I present the definition of transpersonal psychology described by Hartelius, Caplan and Rardin (2007) that focuses on the themes of beyond-ego psychology, integrative/holistic psychology, and transformative psychology.

“In its first major definitional theme, beyond-ego psychology, transpersonal psychology picks up where standard psychology leaves off. This gives us two psychologies: one for the ego and its pathologies, one for what lies beyond. From here it is natural to ask; how can one construct a single psychology of the whole person? This is the subject of the second theme integrative/holistic psychology. With this larger understanding of human development, we can begin to ask the truly compelling questions of the third theme, transformative psychology: how do we become more, bigger, deeper, and greater than the limits of our personal egos? What are the processes of post-conventional development? How can we understand and cultivate growth into our larger potentials, both as individuals and as human communities?” (Hartelius, Calan & Rardin, 2007, p. 142).

Hartelius, G., Caplan, M., & Rardin, M. A. (2007). Transpersonal psychology: Defining the past, divining the future. The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(2), 135-160.


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