Sofia University has built itself on a foundation of transformative, transpersonal education since 1975. Sofia has changed and grown in its own time as a university and encourages its students to do the same. We invite you to take a deeper look into our distinguished past to learn more about our first footprints as a school.
Transformative Transpersonal Education Since 1975
Sofia University, formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, was founded in 1975 by Dr. Robert Frager in response to the growing need for a shift in the pedagogy of higher learning. As a graduate from Harvard, Frager had experienced first-hand the conventional approach to the study of psychology and found it to be 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. Today, Sofia University continues to add new programs to broaden its focus by applying transpersonal values to research, education, technology, and engineering.
What is transpersonal?
Transpersonal Psychology studies “Humanity’s potential,” and “unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness.” (Lajoie & Shapiro, 1991, p.91).
Sofia University has long explored the frontiers of psychology and spirituality for the betterment of humanity and the sustainability of the planet.
Transpersonal psychology is a full-spectrum psychology that studies a continuum of human experience and behavior ranging from severe dysfunction, mental and emotional illness at one end, to what is generally considered “normal”, healthy behavior at the other end and various degrees of normal and maladjustment in between – and then goes beyond it by adding a serious scholarly interest in the imminent and transcendent dimensions of human experience: exceptional human functioning, experiences, performances and achievements, true genius, the nature and meaning of deep religious and mystical experiences, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and how we might foster the fulfillment of our highest potentials as human beings.
Transpersonal psychologists work across disciplines and draw on insights from not only the various areas of psychology, but also the sciences of cognition, consciousness, and the paranormal; philosophy; social and cultural theory; integral health theories and practices; poetry, literature, and the arts; and, the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions.
Click on the links below to view complete biographies and learn more about these transpersonal innovators.
Mary Calkins was the first woman president of the American Psychological Association and was denied her doctorate from Harvard University because of her gender. These two events helped pave a way for future women psychologists and shake the gender barriers in psychology.
Aldous Huxley, one of the great modern thinkers, philosophers and social commentators of the 20th century, is often hailed as an inspirational figure of the Human Potential Movement and the subsequent development of transpersonal psychology.
Abraham Maslow is one of the founders of humanistic psychology and transpersonal psychology. He believed that an accurate and viable theory of personality must include not only the depths but also the heights that each individual is capable of attaining.
For William James, psychology was bounded by biology on one side and philosophy on the other; it addressed all areas of human experience. James helped introduce psychology to the United States, teaching the first course and establishing the first laboratory.
Carl Jung is one of the most important, most complex and most controversial psychological theorists. Jungian psychology focuses on establishing and fostering the relationship between conscious and unconscious processes.
Carl Rogers was a founder of humanistic psychology whose contributions continue to resonate throughout the field. His theory and practice shifted the authoritarian paradigm of therapist-led psychotherapy toward a client-centered practice.