Transpersonal Psychology: Transformative and Healing Dimsensions

 Course Syllabus: Sofia University

Course Code: MATP 5224, Transpersonal Psychology: Transformative, Healing Dimensions (Spring Term 3.0 Units)

Meeting Time: Sundays 10:00 AM to 5 PM, 4/17/16, 5/1, 5/15,5/29, 6/12

Instructor: Michael Mayer, Ph.D.

Instructor’s Office hours: By appointment by phone or Skype, Contact Dr. Michael Mayer at, 510-849-2878.

Course Description: Transpersonal psychology, contains an integrative psychotherapy that includes all forms of psychotherapy as well as methods that focus specifically on connecting us with the wider whole of which we’re a part. This experience of the wider whole can be accessed through energetic pathways (which can be activated through various altered states of consciousness practices: breathing, acu-point touch techniques, methods of postural initiation such as Qigong, etc.), spiritual practices from East/West/indigenous traditions and symbolic process modes of healing. In this course, you’ll learn transformative, healing methods to apply to your life and your work in a wide variety of contexts.

Instructor’s Bio: Dr. Michael Mayer was a co-founding faculty member of the first accredited Transpersonal Psychology Program in the United States at JFK University, where he trained therapists for twelve years. He pioneered the integration of Qigong and Psychotherapy, being the first person to train doctoral psychology students in these methods at an accredited university. Dr. Mayer is a Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine. His approach to Transpersonal Psychotherapy can be found in two of his books: Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health (Bodymind Healing Publications, 2007); and Energy Psychology: Self-Healing Practices for Bodymind Health, (North Atlantic/Random House 2009). His latest Ben Franklin award-winning book, The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician: Stories and Practices for Troubled Times, traces his journey through the transpersonal psychology movement over three decades, and his quest to create an “all vector approach” to transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy.

Required Reading:


  • Mayer, M. (2009). Energy Psychology: Self-Healing Practices for Bodymind Health, North Atlantic/Random House.
  • Zinn, J.K. (1994.) Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion. Or, Zinn, J.K. (1990) Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, Delta Publications.

Class Reader: Selected articles and handouts, for example,

  • Friedman, H and Hartelius,G. (2013). The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Transpersonal Psychology, John Wiley & Sons. (Chapters 1-4).

Additional Recommended Readings and Viewing:

  • Kaufman, S, & Gregoire, C. (2015). Meditation Literally Alters your Brain Matter, excerpt from the book, Wired to Change, Perigee Publications. (Click Link from Alternet article)
  • Mayer, M. (2004.) Secrets to Living Younger Longer: The Self-Healing Path of Qigong Standing Meditation and Tai Chi (2004); Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy: Ancient Pathways to Modern Health (2007).
  • Rinpoche, S. (2007). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Penguin Classics.

Wayne, P. & Fuesrst, M. (2013). The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, Boston: Shamballah.

(See Bibliography for further recommended readings.)

Course Goals and Objectives: After taking this course students will be able to:

  • Develop knowledge about, and experience of, selected transformative practices in the field of Transpersonal Psychology: i.e. somatic transpersonal practices (from traditions of postural initiation), symbolic process methods of healing, cross-cultural meditation practices, etc.
  • Develop an overview perspective on transpersonal psychology and how various practices fit into that perspective.
  • Focus on, articulate, and research the importance of one Transpersonal Practice.
  • Be able to compare and contrast your chosen practice with another transpersonal psychology (or other) practice.


 Grading for Class:

  1. Paper 25%

Oral Presentation on your paper 25%

  1. Class participation and attendance 25%%
  2. Four Experiential Journal entries on Class Practices 25 %: (See Specifics)

Class Written Assignments:

  • Final Paper (25% of grade): Report on one transpersonal practice/tradition: (A.) From the Wiley text (B.) Or, you can choose to report on one of the traditions the instructor has focused on in class/readings: Standing Meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, Symbolic Process traditions, Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy, astrological symbols. (C.) Or, with instructor’s permission, choose your own transpersonal psychology tradition. {See the Final Paper Handout for specific questions to be addressed in your paper. 7 pages maximum, be concise.}


Late assignments will not be accepted unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor in the case of unexpected illness (with doctors letter) or unanticipated documented misfortune.

  1. Oral Presentation (25% of grade): Derived from your paper. Present to the class an overview of your paper.
  2. Journal entries (25% of grade):*

• River of Life Journal Entry

• Standing Meditation Journal entry: What is your experience of Standing Meditation? How does it differ from your Mindfulness Meditation practice?

What was beneficial, or not, about this practice?

• The symbols of your astrological chart: How do the symbols of your chart help you with the description and experience of your identity?

• Mythic Journey Process Journal entry: Written MJP exercise. How did it help or not help with transforming a life issue of yours? What other transpersonal tradition would add to your transformational process to make it more complete.

• BMHP Approach to Healing a Psychological Issue: Pick one of your issues that you want to work on from the EP book (or elsewhere). Answer questions about your experience using one or more of the Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy methods.

*See Handout on Class Assignments for questions to address. Your grade is based on how well and how succinctly you address these questions. Three pages (double-spaced, 12 point type) maximum length for each assignment.

  • Class Participation 25% of grade. The student is expected to participate in all class discussions and exercises/practices during the 10 week course.


Schedule: 10 am to 5 pm on: , 4/17/16, 5/1, 5/15, 5/29, 6/12

1.) Sunday 4/17/15: Introduction to Transpersonal Psychology, Transformative Dimensions

Morning: Overview of Course

Afternoon: Overview of Practices: Microcosmic Orbit Breathing

Readings and viewings for first class:

Wiley-Blackwell Handbook Chap 1-4, pp. 1-87; from reader

The Story of Transpersonal Psychology-Science of the Soul, You Tube,

Energy Psychology book, Chapter 3 &4 pp. 59-102

Assignment: Journal Entry- My experience of the River of Life

2.) 5/1 Transpersonal Psychology, Healing, and Traditions of Postural Initiation: Standing Meditation

Morning: Traditions of Postural Initiation

Afternoon: Bodymind Healing Qigong

Reading for this week:

  • Energy Psychology book Chapters 15-19, pp. 249-304,
  • Bodymind Healing Qigong short set from back of EP book pp.329-346
  • Reader: What is Bodymind Healing Qigong? P. 1.
  • Zinn, J.K. Wherever you go there you are? Skim it over
  • Reader: From Secrets…book, Chapters 1 &2 pp.1-33.
  • Reader: Standing Meditation Qigong: What do you Stand for? NQA `Journal (2004), pp.1-2
  • Reader: Tai Chi Chuan: A Postmodern-Metaphysical Point of View, Tai Chi & Oriental Arts (2012), pp. 1-2.
  • Kaufman, S. Meditation Literally Alters your Brain Matter,, p.1

Assignment: Journal entry- My experience with Standing Meditation Qigong.

3.) 5/15 Symbolic Process Approaches to Healing

Morning: Selected Symbolic Processes in Transpersonal Psychology


            Practices: The Mythic Journey Process in class

Dyad work: Share your MJ process with another student

 Reading for this week:

  • EP book, Chapter 5 The Psychology of Shape Shifting and Finding a New Origin Myth for Psychology, pp. 103-133,
  • EP book, Chapter 20, book, The Mythic Journey Process pp. 305-325,
  • Reader: The Mystery of Personal Identity, pp. 1-39 (note that these are double pages)

Two Assignments:

1.) Get your astrological chart done (for free) at, or another source. Journal entry: Answer questions from Class Assignment handout on your experience of your astrological chart.

2.) Journal Entry on The Mythic Journey Process: Write up your experience using the Class Assignment Handout questions.

4.) 5/29/ Bodymind Healing Approaches to Specific Issues/symptoms

Morning and Afternoon: Focus on bodymind healing transpersonal approaches to: Anxiety, chronic pain, trauma, addictions, insomnia, hypertension


Assignment:  Journal Entry: BMHP Approach to Healing a Psychological Issue: Pick one of your issues that you want to work on from the EP book (or elsewhere). Answer questions about your experience using one or more of the Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy methods.

The Final paper is due on June 6th by email, or earlier. *Please note that this date is a non-class meeting date, and please note that this is the week before your final Oral Presentation on June 12th.

5.) 6/12 Student Oral Presentations

Student Presentations on your favorite Transpersonal Psychology method.

Reading: Focus on preparation for your oral report.


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