Transformational psychology, a term used interchangeably with transpersonal psychology, is focused on incorporating all elements of human experience, particularly spirituality and mystical experiences, into existing ideas about human health and potential. While this field of psychology is relatively new, several institutions offer degrees in transformational and transpersonal psychology in both on-site and online classes.
Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado, provides an MA degree in transpersonal psychology with possible emphasis in art therapy, wilderness therapy or counseling therapy. Naropa incorporates both Eastern and Western psychological traditions with a particular emphasis on mindfulness and meditation training as a basis for therapeutic work. Naropa's is a clinical degree that provides both a practicum and 700-hour internship experience in the third year, which can help students who want to pursue Colorado state licensure in psychology. Licensure provides students with the opportunity to work not only in private practice, but also for state, government and nonprofit organizations. Naropa is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Sofia University, in Palo Alto, California, describes itself as a university with a focus on "diverse paths of spiritual growth." Sofia University provides a hybrid Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree with a possible emphasis on creative expression, which involves the incorporation of creativity as a spiritual practice. The degree program is not clinical and does not provide a pathway to California state licensure. Sofia University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.
University of Philosphical Research
The University of Philosophical Research, in Los Angeles, California, but largely a distance education school, provides an M.A. in transformational psychology that incorporates psychological understanding with the teachings of mystical and religious traditions around the world. The degree includes classes about ego transcendence, dream work and teachings from both Eastern and Western mystical traditions. This degree does not indicate that it leads to licensure; it is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council.
Southwest Institute of Healing Arts
The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Tempe, Arizona, provides an associate degree in holistic health care with a focus on transformational psychology. This degree provides some basic psychology courses, such as developmental psychology, addiction and diversity, as well as courses focused on diverse spiritual paths and practices such as reiki, hypnotherapy and reflexology. This institute is accredited by organizations such as the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training and the Arizona State Board of Private Postsecondary Education
Licensure and Practice
When deciding which school is right for you, be sure to understand your own goals, your state counseling rules and regulations and how each school meets your needs as well as state regulations. For example, if you do not intend to be a transpersonal or transformational counselor, you do not need to worry about pursuing a state license to practice counseling. If you hope to practice counseling psychology for government, nonprofit or residential agencies, you must go to a school that provides a path to licensure. Among these schools, Naropa is the only school that provides licensure within the program itself. While the other programs might provide a supplemental education in transformational or transpersonal psychology or the opportunity to pursue further education or teach, a license is required to practice counseling in most states. Review state licensure and counseling practice laws before pursuing any degree program.
Ann Trent has been publishing her writing since 2001. Her work has appeared in "Fence," the "Black Warrior Review" and the "Denver Quarterly." Trent received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Ohio State University and has attended the Macdowell Colony. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in counseling.