I’m excited to be offering a workshop and a presentation at the 50th anniversary transpersonal conference this weekend, April 12-14th at the beautiful Asilomar conference grounds in California. The presentation highlights a facet of my dissertation research, entitled “Addressing Persistent Challenges in Transpersonal Psychology: Cooperative Inquiry as an Innovative Response.” And the workshop will apply holistic meditations to integrate the visions of the conference into attendees personal and professional lives. See the descriptions below.
Addressing Persistent Challenges in Transpersonal Psychology: Cooperative Inquiry as an Innovative Response
After half a century of theory-building, research, and practice, transpersonal psychology is poised for a reflective pause in which the advances and challenges of the field can be contemplated in light of our present context. Important efforts have been made in this regard to invigorate and redefine the field from contemporary vantage points (e.g., Friedman & Hartelius, 2013; Kaklauskas, Clements, Hacoy & Hoffman, 2016). While nurturing a renewed vision of transpersonal psychology as a discipline committed to cultivating the frontiers of human potential, intimately entwined with the greater web of life, systematic reviews and theoretical critiques have illuminated persistent challenges and opportunities for growth. This presentation will juxtapose a synthesis of prominent critiques arising within contemporary transpersonal psychology with an exploration of Cooperative Inquiry (CI; Heron 1996)—a participatory approach to human research and learning—as one avenue to address them. Specifically, repeated calls have been made for more diversity, inclusivity, social engagement, and research from general as well as participatory, feminist, and multicultural perspectives. With a constructive spirit, this presentation will balance each critique with concrete examples of contemporary CIs that have addressed related concerns and offer suggestions for future applications. Strengths of CI, such as its intrinsically collaborative and transformative dimensions, will be discussed along with its limitations in the context of transpersonal validity standards. Through a creative combination of contemporary discourse in transpersonal psychology and a review of relevant CIs in practice, this presentation aims to inspire both innovative thinking and practical responses to some of the most enduring challenges facing the field today.
Holistic Integration Workshop: Bringing Our Conference Visions to Life
In this experiential workshop, we will root the budding seeds of insight and inspiration that we have germinated throughout this conference to ensure their growth beyond our gathering. The heart of the workshop will be a guided holistic meditation inspired by Embodied Spiritual Inquiry—a transpersonal approach to learning and research (Ferrer & Sohmer, 2017; Sohmer, 2018). This practice will evoke multiple ways of knowing as we integrate conference highlights and cultivate tangible ways of bringing our renewed visions of transpersonal psychology to life. Reflection on inquiry prompts, creative expression, and sharing will also be facilitated. Through meditation and reflection in community, we will deepen our experience of the conference from conceptual to embodied and practical levels. Participants will have an opportunity to clarify action steps to apply salient insights into personal and professional life. This workshop aims to leave participants nourished individually and in greater connection with each other.