Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Over 100 years ago, the pioneering psychologist William James encouraged the scientific study of self-transcending experiences. James believed that these experiences held the potential to yield knowledge about human nature and the mystery of our relation to the cosmos. James described these experiences as follows: “… states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance ... no account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.” Fifty years later Abraham Maslow, who subsequently became president of the American Psychological Association, added that these and other similar experiences were not only possible and worth researching, but moreover reflected “something more” about the potential of human nature, a potential that should be accounted for in the study of psychology: “Human life will never be understood unless its highest aspirations are taken into account. Growth, self-actualization, the striving toward health, the quest for identity and autonomy, the yearning for excellence (and other ways of phrasing the striving ‘upward’) must by now be accepted beyond question as a widespread and perhaps universal human tendency.” Today, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology continues this tradition of affirming the value of transformative and selftranscendent experiences and their relevance to the study of psychology. ITP trains its graduate students not only to recognize and cultivate a deeper connection with their own potential for growth and change, but to incorporate transpersonal values into their professional lives as clinicians, counselors, educators, consultants, writers, spiritual guides and researchers. Transpersonal Psychology has matured into a distinguished field of research and training offering a wealth of resources for clinical, academic, and business interests in areas such as psychotherapy, wellness, health and healing, community and organizational development, and environmental studies. Management consultants now speak of “organizational development”; psychiatrists and therapists are beginning to understand and research the difference between psychological breakdown and “spiritual emergence”; sports psychologists use “creative visualization” to help athletes achieve “peak performances”; and research psychologists are beginning to explore “optimal functioning” and “positive psychology.” With these and a host of other examples, we see clear evidence that the research interests and applications of transpersonal psychology have profoundly influenced mainstream culture and society. The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology continues this commitment to the research and application of transpersonal
â€œThere is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the
friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution
of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
A Letter from the President
Mission and History
Welcome to the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, soon to be Sofia University, a distinctive and remarkable school. We are the world’s only university dedicated wholly to transformative, transpersonal education and a pioneer in the field since 1975.
The Institute was founded in 1975 by Drs. Robert Frager and James Fadiman in response to the growing need for a shift in the pedagogy of higher learning, and it has remained at the cutting edge of psychological research and education.
Sofia’s etymology—ancient wisdom—is synonymous with its core values and mission. At Sofia we educate the whole person— mind, body, spirit, heart—and believe in personal transformation as a natural outcome of the educational process. We welcome and embrace all spiritual paths and traditions equally. We are a disparate, diverse and passionate learning community where the empowered voice of the individual matters deeply.
As Ph.D. recipients of two of the nation’s finest academies (Frager from Harvard; Fadiman from Stanford) ITP’s founders had experienced firsthand the conventional approach to the study of psychology, and found it lacking and often fragmented. In particular, Dr. Frager’s educational ideal hearkened back to the ancient Greek system which held the belief that education should take into account all aspects of the human experience. With this ideal in mind, he set out to create a school of psychology that would fully prepare psychologists to understand human nature from an approach that transcends the pathological and encompasses the whole human being in the context of culture, physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.
We are practitioners, researchers and scholars. We integrate ritual, creativity, curiosity and play into our daily lives as we learn from and with one another. We feel deeply that our common spirituality connects and energizes each one of us – and all of us together. Sofia’s archetypal roots of wisdom across time and cultures inspire and energize us. Our community includes an increasingly more culturally and geographically diverse population, boasting members from all across the USA and more and more from around the world. Sofia is a private, non-profit graduate school founded in 1975 as a California Corporation. Sofia is WASC accredited and offers Masters and Doctoral Programs in the field of transpersonal psychology and related areas. The residential facility is located in Palo Alto, California. In addition we provide low residency distance learning (global) programs to permit students the opportunity to study at home and online as well as to meet on campus for brief intensive seminars with their cohort and faculty. Beginning in Fall 2013, Sofia will offer undergraduate degree-completion programs in the transpersonal psychology and liberal arts fields. Quality is a core value. We don’t aspire to become a large school, rather one where we continue to be the best at what we do well. We invite your interest in us and would love the privilege to welcome you into our dynamic community. You’ll be glad you did. All best wishes,
The unique curriculum developed by Frager, Fadiman, faculty and students together focuses on six core areas of inquiry: the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and creative aspects of life. This educational model incorporates the tenets of transpersonal psychology and offers the student of psychology not only a solid intellectual foundation but an extraordinary opportunity for deep growth and personal experience of the subject matter as well. The founding principle was to develop an educational and research model that took seriously all aspects of human experience, including the spiritual dimension of our lives. Our Purpose: Through disciplined scholarly inquiry into the frontiers of spirituality and psychology, ITP seeks to foster the development of individuals, organizations, and societies toward their fullest potential for wisdom, health and wholeness. Our Business: We strive to achieve our purpose via three deeply interrelated activities: A distinctive educational model, groundbreaking research, and robust professional training programs Our Values: We value the qualities of mindfulness, discernment, compassion, and appreciation of differences, and we embrace whole-person education that supports personal and community transformation. * We value diversity and seek to impart knowledge and skills that empower people to live together in peace within multicultural communities. * We value the inherent unity of our world and seek to foster a sense of the interconnectedness of all beings. We encourage and promote service to local, national and international communities. * We value all of life and educate students in a way that treats all beings with respect and encourages living in harmony with all of nature.
Neal King Neal King, Ph. D.
* We value consciousness and its evolution and engage in rigorous research that includes multiple ways of knowing. In the spirit of transpersonal education, the ITP community supports a broad range of ideas, spiritual traditions, cultural perspectives, and professional backgrounds. This setting provides the foundation for professional training in the field, personal
The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology is located in Palo Alto, California, just south of San Francisco, northeast of Santa Cruz, and across the Bay from Berkeley. ITP is nestled in a quiet neighborhood of tree-lined streets, adjacent to the Baylands Natural Wildlife Preserves. With Stanford University just minutes away, students at the Institute enjoy the benefits of living in a dynamic intellectual community, replete with award-winning restaurants and multicultural social activities.
The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Counsel of Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.
Palo Alto is noted for its proximity to a diverse mix of cultural, educational, and recreational resources. The area offers easy access to the Santa Cruz Mountains and Foothills (including a protected state park habitat for coastal redwood forests), miles of public beaches, Napa Valley wine country, Yosemite National Park, and Big Sur. The sunny and temperate climate permits a variety of outdoor activities year-round, ranging from deep-sea diving in Monterey to skiing near Lake Tahoe. The City of Palo Alto is recognized worldwide as a leader in cutting-edge technological development. Complementing its exciting and innovative business community, the area’s residents are highly educated, politically aware, and culturally sophisticated. An abundance of local pride and numerous neighborhood organizations contribute to Palo Alto’s charming historic and dynamic commercial and residential areas. Characteristic of Palo Alto is the care taken to protect open space and parkland, with a remarkable number of city-owned parks for its size (34 at last count) and nearly one-third of its 26 square miles reserved as open space. The Bay Area is also home to some of the most creative and innovative psychologists and psychotherapists in the world. With experts in Jungian, existential, humanistic, psychoanalytic, and systemic therapies, as well as a vibrant community of accomplished practitioners bridging eastern and western approaches to psychological and spiritual growth, many regard the Bay Area as the best place in the world to be trained as a psychologist, therapist, counselor, spiritual guide, or any other type of health and wellness practitioner.
Affiliations The Institute maintains the following associations and affiliations: American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers American Library Association Association for Transpersonal Psychology Association of Fundraising Professionals Association of Governing Boards Association of Institutional Research Association of Psychology Post Doctorate and Internship Centers Bay Area Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals Bay Area Practicum Information Council C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators California Psychology Internship Council Consortium for Diversified Psychology Programs Council for the Advancement & Support of Education Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology European Transpersonal Association Foundation for Mind-Being Research Global
Women’s Leadership Network Institute of Noetic Sciences International Transpersonal Association National Association of Graduate Admissions Professional National Council of Schools in Professional Psychology Northern Association of College & University Business Officers Northern Association of Foreign Student Advisors Northern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Northern California & Nevada Medical Library Group Northern California Consortium of Psychology Libraries Private College Disability & Resource Center of Northern California Stillheart Institute Strategic Enrollment Management Network Western Association of Schools and Colleges Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
The Legacy of Transpersonal Psychology The history of psychology has witnessed the emergence of four distinct approaches to the study of human experience. The first is psychoanalysis, which uses clinical case studies to research mental pathology and the unconscious dimension of experience. The second is behaviorism, which researches learning, conditioning, and observable behavior, with an emphasis on experimental methods. The third is humanistic psychology, which emphasizes human selfhood, the role of value and meaning in psychological health, and person-centered approaches to therapy. A fourth approach, transpersonal psychology, distinguishes itself by both including and going beyond the theoretical and philosophical commitments of the other three approaches. This approach introduces a new topic to the study of human psychology: the experience of spirituality and self-transcendence. In addition to research focused on conventional areas of normal or abnormal human functioning, transpersonal psychology also examines the supra-normal: those states of consciousness and stages of development in which people are drawn beyond their normal level of functioning into a higher mode of being and relating. By including the scientific study of these “higher” dimensions of humanity into its scope of research and theory, the transpersonal approach to psychology achieves a more comprehensive understanding of human nature and human experience. The transpersonal approach of “including and going beyond” does not position transpersonal psychology in opposition to the other psychological approaches but instead complements them. Like psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology examines the dynamic relationship between conscious and unconscious processes; however, it also focuses on the role of the unconscious in spiritual development. Like behaviorism, it researches human action as well as measurable and observable behavior; however, transpersonal psychology also emphasizes the centrality of consciousness and the mysteries of our inner world. Like humanistic psychology, transpersonal psychology affirms the potential for self-growth and change; however, it also investigates how people transcend the ego and “normal” psychological health to understand our connection with wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche, and cosmos. The term transpersonal originated in the work of Carl Jung. Jung first coined the term “transpersonal unconscious” as a synonym for the collective unconscious, which he identified as the source of all of humanity’s psychic life and vitality. However, a key stimulus in the history of transpersonal psychology was Abraham Maslow’s research in the 1950s on “self-actualizing persons”: individuals who had made full use of their creative capacities and potential to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. Maslow insisted that the highest possibilities of human nature have almost always been underestimated. He argued that psychology should research not only mental illness and pathology but also the growth-oriented nature of the human psyche, what he called the “farther reaches” of human nature. These include peak experiences, inspired creativity, altruism, and other experiences where one’s sense of self or identity is transcended.
The legacy of transpersonal psychology is evident in the widespread cultural interest in the teachings and practices that evoke a deeper connection with a greater sense of self. We are living in a time when there is a resurgence of interest in various spiritual traditions, teachings, meditative and contemplative practices. For the first time in human history, the esoteric teachings and practices of the world’s major religious traditions are being published and taught to the public at large. Eastern spiritual practices like meditation are now widely practiced in the West, not just by individuals and spiritual communities but also within more traditional social settings, such as hospitals, churches, and even business meetings. For over 35 years ITP’s faculty and students have been at the forefront in researching these teachings and practices from a psychological point of view, while maintaining respected standards of critical thinking and scholarship.
A Transpersonal Approach to Learning
Transpersonal psychology posits an integrative rather than a reductionist view of human life. This position claims that in order to develop a full understanding of human beings, one must study all aspects of their existence: intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, creative, and relational. This integrative view of human life demands an equally integrative and holistic view of education. The transpersonal paradigm asserts that “real knowledge” is learning that has been absorbed by—and has changed—the learner. The approach to education that informs all of ITP’s degree and certificate programs emphasizes the integration and harmony of body, mind and spirit, and gives students the opportunity to actualize their own unique potential. This integrative approach combines theory, research,professional practice, and personal integration in order to broaden conventional notions of health. The personal relevance of the work is essential to the core curriculum of each program. Collaborative learning is emphasized in order to understand, firsthand, the experiences of others and the value of diversity. Graduates of ITP are well prepared to pursue their professional goals with skill, expertise, and confidence, while contributing an innovative transpersonal approach to their respective fields. Our alumni are teaching in colleges and universities, practicing as counselors and clinical psychologists, offering spiritual guidance, coaching, and career counseling, maintaining careers in corporate and management areas, working with agencies and non-profit organizations, and practicing in health professions.
Admissions Requirements A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for most programs. Emotional maturity and experience in self-exploration are essential factors for success in all ITP programs. We encourage life and work experience as well as interest in and exposure to the six areas of study: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and creative expression. A list of all application requirements is included in ITP’s Admissions Application (see back pocket of this viewbook or download it at www.itp.edu).
A variety of financial aid opportunities is available to students seeking assistance for graduate school. Aid is available through a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized government loans, student employment, federal work study, and a limited number of scholarships. Veterans who qualify may receive VA benefits for study in the Institute’s residential programs. The Human Resources Department maintains updated information on student employment opportunities.
Prerequisites for the Global and Residential Programs
Entrance into our Master’s and Doctoral programs may require specific coursework beyond a Bachelor’s degree. Students who do not have a background in psychology should be aware that graduate level preparation requires a working knowledge of introductory psychology as adequate preparation at the graduate level. Therefore, at the recommendation of the program chair, some students may be asked to do specific coursework to prepare for entrance into and success in our graduate programs.
Timeframe to Complete Prerequisites
Due to the academic rigor of our programs, students are strongly encouraged to complete.
ITP Prerequisite Fulfillment Sessions
ITP offers a 6-week intensive online prerequisite course called “Foundation in Psychology.” This not-for-credit course is designed to give incoming ITP students who have not studied psychology a foundation in theory and terminology. This course covers topics in Abnormal Psychology, History & Systems of Psychology, and Lifespan Development. It is offered several times each year. The prerequisite course registration form can be found at www.itp.edu under Admissions. Additionally, you may fulfill any needed prerequisites by taking undergraduate classes at an accredited university, community college, or distance learning program. Contact Admissions for more information. Please note: Prospective students may apply to any program prior to completing their prerequisites. Students may also be admitted into a degree program without having completed their Bachelor’s degree. However, their admission will be conditional, and all coursework must be completed within the timeframe specified in the admissions letter.
The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant aliens as international students. Final authority to grant entry into the United States rests solely with the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
Transcripts from schools outside the United States must be evaluated by World Education Services (WES), www.wes.org.
Students must have sufficient English language proficiency in both written and oral communication to complete graduate studies in English, including the writing of a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. All applicants for whom English is a second language must have completed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) within the past year. On the older TOEFLexams, a score of 600 or above on the written exam or 250 on the computerized exam is required for admission. On the new TOEFL exam, a minimum score of 20 is required for each of the four areas tested.
Proof of Financial Support
Immigration regulations require incoming Residential students to provide proof of financial support for one academic year prior to issuance of the paperwork for entry into the United States. For details about the dollar amount required, refer to Form A701, Request for 1-20, or contact an Admissions Counselor. Proof of financial support must be a bank record or some other certified document showing access to funds. This documentation may represent personal funds; family funds, with a statement from the holder of the funds that the student may use them for educational expenses; or funds from other sources (specify type and source). The Registrar, who serves as the Primary Designated School Official, will send a properly executed document upon receipt of a complete Form A701.
Spouses and Dependents
A student’s spouse and dependent children are allowed to enter the United States under an F-2 visa while the student is enrolled as a full-time student. Please notify the Institute in writing if you will bring dependents into the United States with you.
Students from other countries should contact the nearest United States Consulate or the Institute’s Registrar to determine if a visa stamp in their passport will be required. Canadian citizens may enter the United States without a visa stamp; however, a signed I-20 and a valid passport are required.
Students may enter the United States not more than 30 days prior to the start of the school session. Warning: If you visit the school and do not have your entry documents, be sure to indicate that you are a potential student at the point of entry. Failure to do so may result in your being admitted under a status that is not eligible for change at a later time. If you are admitted to the United States under a visa waiver, you will be required to return to your country of origin within 90 days. No exception is possible.
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ...who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. “ -C. G. Jung
A quick introduction to the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology/Sofia University