Research at ITP Foundation and Sofia University

In the 1980s, well-known transpersonal psychologist and researcher of consciousness Charles Tart, together with social scientist and psychedelic researcher Arthur Hastings, created a vision for the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology(ITP) as a hub of novel research approaches which would combine scientific rigor, pioneering vision, personal transformation and spirituality. Joined by William Braud and Rosemarie Anderson in 1990s, the research faculty at ITP created a new research training sequence which encouraged graduate students to address complicated relationships between the psychological, spiritual and non-ordinary aspects of human experience.

Not long after arriving at ITP, Braud and Anderson wrote their now famous book Transpersonal Research Methods for Social Sciences which connected transpersonal vision with qualitative research. Following the establishment of Arthur Hastings’s William James Center and the Psychomanteum Project (funded by Fetzer Foundation), ITP Professor Olga Louchakova-Schwartz established the Transpersonal Education and Research Specialization (2004) and the NeuroPhenomenology Lab (2007). In 2011, ITP Professor Ryan Rominger joined the Board of Directors of ACISTE, an organization focused on the study of spiritual experiences.

Continuing the tradition of transpersonal research on the cusp of psychology and human science, Sofia University has expanded into the fields of computer science and engineering, and is moving transpersonal research and practices into industry (TransTechlab).

Our working model of transpersonal research includes the following principles

  • Methodological rigor
  • Innovative qualitative research methods and practices for social sciences and humanities
  • Broad range of Inter-disciplinary subjects
  • Focus on human experience
  • Research process as a trigger for personal transformation of researcher
  • Interest in spiritual, religious, transpersonal, non-ordinary and exceptional forms of human experience
  • Creativity and individual innovations
  • Dissertation students at Sofia university receive individual mentoring with the leading researchers in the field of transpersonal psychology and transpersonal studies, and can have research internships in any of the Centers and Labs at Sofia.