Portland transpersonal counseling and therapy
What is Transpersonal (Spiritual) Counseling?
Spiritual or "transpersonal" counseling aims to explore, develop, and integrate the deeper dimension of our human nature.
This counseling method concerns those issues related to the spiritual dimension of our lives. Ultimately, this work can awaken you to your own direct experience of the Mystery in which we live and move and have our Being.
Transpersonal therapy differs significantly from traditional counseling in its assumptions about human nature. Some of the assumptions of my this counseling approach include:
- The existence of a spiritual nature – Within each of us there is a spiritual nature.
- Our spiritual nature is knowable – We can know, verify, experience, and develop this nature in this very life.
- Human development includes spiritual development – Our development as persons is incomplete, until we integrate the deeper dimension of Being into our daily life.
- Conscious development is possible – As known to spiritual paths throughout time, techniques exist which enable you to consciously discover, develop, and integrate the dimension of Being.
These assumptions are not beliefs; rather they are conclusions derived from thousands of years of contemplative practices and also contemporary Western scientific research.
How does transpersonal counseling differ from a spiritual path or practice?
Too often, we misunderstand what a “spiritual path” is. We think a path is a practice, a doctrine, a spiritual school, order, religion - something "other" that must be found. But as ancient wisdom says, “before a man can tread the path he must become that Path himself.” That is, you, your unfolding psychol-spiritual process is the path. So, this counseling method is not a spiritual path. However, it is an aid to the unfoldiing of your own path to realization.
When working with clients, I guide them in the deepening understanding and experience of their own spiritual paths. Let me share with you some examples of the kinds of issues my clients present:
- A client struggles with the apparent meaningless and emptiness of life, and wonders whether there is anything more to life than consumerism.
- Another client senses there is something more to spiritual life than conventional religion, and he wants to explore different spiritual options in a safe place.
- Another disillusioned client leaves her spiritual school, and she experiences a crisis of faith for all things “spiritual.”
- A client experiences a new type of spiritual emergency. Alarmed and confused, she seeks guidance about how to make sense of and integrate it.
- Still another client has discovers the importance of mindfully being present in everyday life, and he seeks guidance and instruction in mindfulness techniques.
- Another client has misunderstood the spiritual path to be a practice of realizing and idealized self-image, and now he yearns to rediscover his humanity.
- A client wants to learn how to mediate, whether by private session or in a class I teach. (See the "Meditation Training" discussion).
- Another client struggles with her spiritual superego, and desperately seeks help with how to live free of her inner critic.
- Another seeks to learn to listen to, dialogue with, and experience the deeper spritual self, and so wants to be taught about Presence and Focusing (see "Focusing" discussion).
These are examples of just some of the many issues that my clients share with me in session. You’ll notice that each of these issues concern the spiritual dimension of life, and so they are appropriate to transpersonal counseling. (see also the "Spiritual Direction" discussion).
What happens in a counseling session?
A transpersonal counseling session does not differ in format from other types of counseling. We sit together, and discuss your concerns, benefited by the broader understanding of human nature this approach provides.
Still the scope of this type of counseling allows also for our sessions to also take on a very practical orientation. As needed, I may teach you techniques for state management, managing the spiritual superego, meditation, qigong, etc.
Typically we’ll begin a session with you checking-in. We continue with work appropriate to your needs and direction. Your inquiry is guided by the practices of presence and mindfulness. Finally, we’ll take time to close with some integrative work.
Often I will give you homework, so that you may continue your progress between sessions. Perhaps I’ll suggest a book from my client lending library for you to consider reading.
More about Michael's counseling practice
I have been a student of the transpersonal for more than 40 years. As a scholar, I have published papers in journals, and spoken at conferences. Some of my articles are listed in my Selected Bibliography (see "Selected Bibliography" on the "About Michael" menu selection above.).
I am a teacher of Focusing, a special way of learning to listen to and dialogue with the inner Self. To augment my counseling practice, I am certified to teach different qigong forms. I also teach meditation, having meditated for more than 40 years.
In addition to mentoring individuals in these practices, I also occasionally offers classes on presence, mindfulness, meditation, and qigong. I sometimes host a free ongoing evening group that teaches the practice of presence and meditation from a nondualistic perspective. See my "Workshops and Classes" for current classes, groups, and workshops that I may offer.
Also my blog, "The Personal Authenticity Project", integrates a spiritual / transpersonal perspective in its exploration of the path, practice, and significance of personal authenticity.
Consider a free consultation
Counseling is a transformative relationship shared by two persons. So, it is important that you take the time to check out any counselor with whom you might work. Is the chemistry between you and the counselor right? Does the counselor’s background and abilities meet your needs? Would a referral be appropriate? Because it is important that you explore such questions before beginning work, I offer prospective clients the opportunity to meet with me for a free 50-minute consultation.
How do I arrange a complimentary consultation or session?
The easiest way to arrange a consultation or sessionn is to use this "Online Appointment Booking". There you can book a consultation (or appointment) at a day and time of your convenience. Of course this can be done by phone (503.226.2771) or email, but given my busy practice, I may not reply to you in a timely manner.
Directions and maps to my near-downtown office may be found using this "office location" link.
Keep Informed of Michael's Classes and Workshops
Currently I offer an ongoing spiritual drop-in group, "Engaging Being" to which you are welcome, if the subject interests you. For further information about the group, click: group information .
Periodically I offer classes and workshops which address spiritual practices and the issues which sometimes interefere with deeper spiritual realization. If you are interested in subscribing to email notifications of my classes, click here: Subscribe to Michael's Notificatons of Classes and Workshops .
If you are interested in some recommendations for books to read about spiritual matters, see: Resources