Transformative Transpersonal Education Since 1975
Sofia University, home of 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.
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.
What is transpersonal?
Sofia University has long explored the frontiers of psychology and spirituality for the betterment of humanity and the sustainability of the planet. In our 40+ years as an institution of higher learning, we have found the transpersonal to be that which transforms lives through the liberation of one's potential as a whole being. This is accomplished by incorporating transpersonal principles and practices that awaken mind, body and spirit to wholeness such as mindful meditations, discernment, compassion, recognition of the universality and the sacred that is inherent in every living thing, and movement-based mindfulness practices such as Aikido.
How is transpersonal psychology the model of what traditional psychology should be today?
What's right about you! Typical psychology programs focus on illness, disease and the diagnosis of these challenging mental and emotional issues. We believe at Sofia University that this type of focus limits one's ability to heal and provide comfort, peace and transformation. The idea of moving beyond diagnosis and exploring the full range of what it means to be human from a positive psychology approach, allows transpersonal psychologists to expand their search for wellness by inquiring into multiple areas of being human such as the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and creative aspects.
Does this mean that transpersonal psychology does not study illness and disease from a traditional standpoint? Not at all. 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 have made several contributions to the academic fields of human development, consciousness and spirituality. Many 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.
What makes Sofia University stand out from other universities?
At Sofia University we believe wisdom lies within each individual. In fact, wisdom is a core meaning of “sofia”, and our approach to education facilitates access to our own wisdom, and to our own health, joy, insight and spiritual experience. Through the integration of transpersonal and psychological work into the core requirements of all degree programs, this puts Sofia in the forefront of radical thinking about the very nature of science and business education and the necessity for transpersonal and psychological skills to both. We are part of a rapidly evolving and innovative conversation that is transforming the traditional disciplines of computer science and business management.
Transpersonal Pioneers - Thought Leaders in the Field
Click on the links below to view complete biographies and learn more about these transpersonal innovators.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.