April 4 by The Running Son
“Unofficial” Intellectual History
by Dr. Paul F. Cunningham
Source: Chapter 1 – Introduction to Transpersonal Psychology by Paul Cunningham
1882 The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is founded in England “to examine without prejudice or prepossession and in a scientific spirit those faculties of man, real or supposed, which appear to be inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothes is” (i.e., thought-transference, mesmerism, haunted houses and apparitions, physical mediumship).
1885 The American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) is co-founded by William James (president of the SPR in 1894-1895 and vice-president from 1890-1910) for the systematic and organized study of paranormal phenomena in the United States whose open espousal of the cause of psychical research greatly benefited the reputation and early experimental forms of this nascent science.
1900 Sigmund Freud publishes what he considered to be his most important work, The Interpretation of Dreams, and one of the first attempts to analyze the psychological purpose of dreams.
1901 Psychiatrist Richard M. Bucke publishes Cosmic Consciousness, the classic case study investigation of the development of humanity’s mystic relation to the infinite.
1902 American psychologist William James publishes Varieties of Religious Experience, a collection of anecdotal reports of religious and mystical experiences and a valuable contribution for the reconciliation of science with religion.
1903 Classicist and scholar W. H. F. Myers publishes Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, a two-volume 1,360 page classic in the field of psychic research that presents case studies of exceptional human experiences strongly suggestive of survival of bodily death and the existence of a subliminal “self” and a quasi-independent train of thought (called “subliminal consciousness”)
1926 Walter Franklin Prince, M.D. publishes his classic study of The Case of Patience Worth concerning a purported spirit-entity who claimed to have lived in seventeenth century England and who dictated through the Ouija board (via Mrs. Lenore Curran) novels that were published and given critical acclaim in American popular culture, concluding: “Either our concept of what we call the subconscious mind must be radically altered so as to include potencies of which we hitherto have had no knowledge, or else some cause operating through, but not originating in, the subconscious of Mrs. Curran must be acknowledge.”
1927 The Parapsychology Laboratory is founded at Duke University by J. B. Rhine and William MacDougal.
1934 J. B. Rhine publishes Extra-Sensory Perception, summarizing the experimental studies of ESP conducted at Duke University that provided scientific evidence for ESP and Psychokinesis (PK).
1935 Psychiatrist Carl G. Jung introduces the concept of the collective unconscious into psychiatry referring to that portion of the psyche that transcends the personal unconscious of the individual.
1937 The Journal of Parapsychology is founded.
1940 J. B. Rhine with John Pratt publish Extrasensory Perception After Sixty Years (referring to the six decades of research on ESP since the SPR’s founding in 1882) that summarize the 145 experimental studies of ESP that had been carried out at Duke University strongly supportive of the reality of psi.
1943 Swiss pharmacologist Albert Hoffman discovers lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) in the course of studying the properties of the ergot fungus of rye while seeking a drug to improve blood circulation.
1951 Gestalt Psychology is published by Paul Goodman, Ralph Hefferline, and Fritz Perls that outlined Gestalt psychotherapy and its new approach to the recovery of emotions, the re-enlivening of sensory awareness, and an approach to the patient as a whole person.
1945 Author of intellectual and utopian novels and nonfiction works concerning mysticism, transcendental philosophy, futurism, and the evolution of intelligence, Aldous Huxley, publishes Perennial Philosophy, his classic anthology of Eastern and Western mysticism that expresses the monistic system of thought called “Philosophia Perennis” with an emphasis on higher consciousness, that popularizes the idea that a single Truth can be found at the core of the mystical teachings of the world religious traditions.
1951 Carl Rogers, who was to receive APA’s first Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Award in 1956, publishes his pioneering book, Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications, and Theory, that defined a new direction in clinical psychology and psychiatry.
1951 The Parapsychology Foundation is established to encourage and financially support the scientific study of psi phenomena, including telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis.
1954 Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World (1932), publishes Doors of Perception, referring to William Blake’s quote, “When the doors of perception are cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite,” in which he described his mescaline experience and its philosophic, religious, and aesthetic implications, that helps launch the psychedelic drug revolution in the 1960’s (and that served as inspiration for the rock group, The Doors , which took its name from its title).
1957 The Parapsychological Association is founded “to advance parapsychology as a science, to disseminate knowledge of the field, and to investigate the findings with those of other branches of Science.”
1956 Alan Watts establishes the California Institute for Asian Studies, the first formal organization to offer graduate study in Eastern religion, philosophy, and psychology.
1957 Philosopher, teacher, and counterculture leader Alan Watts publishes The Way of Zen that interprets Zen Buddhism to Western audiences.
1958 The Journal of Humanistic Psychology is founded by Abraham Maslow and Anthony Sutich.
1958 The Psychosynthesis Research Foundation is established in New York City at the request of Roberto Assagioli.
1958 Rollo May, in collaboration with Swiss existential psychiatrist Henri Ellenberger, publishes his pioneering book Existence: A New Dimension in Psychology and Psychiatry, that introduced existential psychotherapy to American psychology.
1959 Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s remarkable book, Man’s Search for Meaning (first published in Austria in 1946), introduces to an American audience his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps that led to his discovery of logotherapy (“meaning therapy”) and his philosophy of existential analysis.
1961 The Association for Humanistic Psychology is founded by Joseph Adams, James Fadiman, Harriet Francisco, Sidney Jouard, Abraham Maslow, Michael Murphy, Miles Vich, and Anthony Sutich.
1962 Marghanita Laski writes a classic treatise about the nature of ecstatic rapture.
1962 Walter Pahnke administers small capsules of psilocybin to twenty Protestant divinity students at Boston University’s March Chapel on Good Friday to begin one of the first scientific experiments designed to investigate the potential of psychedelic drugs to facilitate mystical experience.
1962 Esalen Institute is founded by Michael Murphy and Richard Price, an important growth center of humanistic psychology that sponsored seminars and residential training programs, which promoted the American counterculture movement and spiritual visionary tradition in the modern period.
1962 Counterculture guru Alan Watts publishes The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness that had a profound impact on the emerging psychedelic drug culture.
1963 Alan Watts publishes Psychotherapy East and West, that describes parallels between Western psychotherapy and Eastern schools of thought, including Buddhism, yoga, Taoism, and Vedanta.
1964 The historic Old Saybrook Conference is conducted that brings humanistic-oriented thinkers and psychotherapists together for the first time to discuss the future of the humanistic movement in America.
1965 Psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli publishes Psychosynthesis that describes his psychological system for bridging spiritual concepts and psycho-therapeutic principles of health.
1966 Psychologists Robert Masters and Jean Houston publish the results of their LSD experiments in Varieties of Psychedelic Experiences in which they identified four levels of the unconscious during LSD experiences, including self-transformation, religious enlightenment, and mystical union.
1967 Abraham Maslow gives the first public presentation of transpersonal psychology in a lecture at the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco (under the auspices of the Esalen Institute), just two years prior to his election as president of the American Psychological Association in 1969.
1968 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology that catalyzed the emergence of the transpersonal movement is founded by Anthony Sutich and its first edition is published in 1969. Board of Editors included: Roberto Assagioli, Menard Boss, Charlotte Buhler, James Fadiman, Viktor Frankl, Stanislav Grof, Sidney Jourard, Arthur Kostler, Clark Moustakas, Michael Murphy, Ira Progroff, Huston Smith, and Alan Watts.
1969 The Transpersonal Institute (parent corporation of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and the Association for Transpersonal Psychology) is organized by Anthony Sutich to investigate unitive
consciousness, peak experiences, mystical awakenings, self-actualization and transcendence.
1969 The first Voluntary Control of Internal States Conference sponsored by the American Association for Humanistic Psychology and the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas initiated a science of altered states of consciousness.
1969 Biopsychologist Elmer Green and researcher Alyce Green publish Beyond Biofeedback that helped to launch the study of the voluntary control of internal states.
1969 The Parapsychological Association, an international organization of professionals engaged in the study and research of parapsychological phenomena, becomes an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ‘
1969 Transpersonal psychologist Charles T. Tart publishes his pioneering textbook, Altered States of Consciousness , the first book to deal with topics ignored or overlooked in psychoanalytic and behaviorist psychology and that led to the development of “state-specific” sciences and the wide-spread introduction of transpersonal themes to American popular culture.
1969 Abraham Maslow is elected president of the American Psychological Association, a 70,000-member organization of professional psychologists, that represents the pinnacle of recognition of humanistic and transpersonal psychology ideas by mainstream psychology.
1970 The Humanistic Psychology Institute is established (later to be called the Saybrook Institute in 1981 that gathers luminaries such as Rollo May, Stanley Krippner, Amedeo Giorgi to its faculty to grants master’s and doctoral degrees in humanistic-transpersonal psychology).
1970 R. K. Wallace publishes “Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation” in Science magazine demonstrating that meditation practice had physiological correlates, giving legitimization to the phenomenon, subsequently initiating decades of research on the physiological and psychological aspects of meditation.
1970 Abraham Maslow, co-founder of (“Third Force”) humanistic psychology and (“Fourth Force”) transpersonal psychology dies suddenly of a heart attack.
1971 The American Association for Transpersonal Psychology is organized by Anthony Sutich.
1972 Neurophysiologist John C. Lilly, inventor of the sensory deprivation flotation tank and who conducted ground-breaking experiments in dolphin-human communication, publishes Center of the Cyclone, an account of his mystical experiences while ingesting LSD in a flotation tank, demonstrates the vast range of the states of being of the human mind not limited by the biophysical structure of the brain
1972 The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is founded in Rhinebeck, New York to become part of an informal learning network through which transpersonal thinkers, healers, and educators could disseminate their ideas and train individuals and professionals in new healing approaches.
1972 The first explicitly International Conference on Psychobiology and Transpersonal Psychology took place at Bifrost, Iceland sponsored by the Institute for Consciousness Research (Reykjavik, Iceland) and the Transpersonal Institute (Palo Alto, California) on the topics of transcendental growth, psychic and spiritual healing, the psychobiology of transcendental states, research methods and future developments in transpersonal psychology.
1973 The first Conference on Applications of Transpersonal Psychology is conducted by the Association for Transpersonal Psychology at Vallombrosa (Menlo Park, California) on the topics of the nature of transpersonal psychology, the transpersonal attitude in psychotherapy, transpersonal education, psychic healing, transpersonal work in public institutions, and the popularization of transpersonal practices.
1973 New Dimensions Radio (produced by Michael and Justine Toms) is founded which extends the impact of transpersonal psychology beyond the back bay area of San Francisco to world-wide distribution of transpersonal concepts and ideas through its programs and audiotapes of Esalen seminars (recorded, edited, and marketed by Paul Herbert).
1973 Transpersonal psychiatrist Stanislav Grof launches the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) which holds its first meeting in Iceland. Later conferences have been held in other exotic place, such as Finland, Brazil, Australia, and India for programs that would not otherwise be possible in the United States.
1973 Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and sixth person to walk on the moon, organizes The Institute of Noetic Sciences, an organization devoted to the support of research and education on human consciousness whose purposes are “to broaden knowledge of the nature and potentials of mind and consciousness, and to apply that knowledge to the enhancement of the quality of life on the planet.”
1973 Neuropsychologist Robert Ornstein publishes The Nature of Human Consciousness: A Book of Readings that summarizes current insights into human consciousness drawn from the fields of anthropology, psychology, philosophy, mystical religion, and physiology.
1973 Naropa Institute, the college modeled after the great Buddhist center of learning, Nalanda University in India, is founded in Boulder, Colorado by Tibetan monk, Chogyam Trungpa to spread Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and culture in the United States.
1975 Parapsychologist Charles T. Tart publishes Transpersonal Psychologies, the first major work to systematically examine from a transpersonal perspective the world’s major religions as “spiritual
psychologies” with teachings on sensation, perception, learning, memory, cognitive processes, emotions, motivation, personality, psychopathology, mind-body relationship, social relationships, altered states of
consciousness, death, and potential new faculties.
1975 Psychiatrist Stanley Dean publishes Psychiatry and Mysticism, a collection of papers from three historic panel-symposia on psychic phenomena held at the 1972-1974 annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association that initiates the field of “metapsychiatry” – a developing branch of psychiatry that concerns itself with psychic phenomena in the context of psychiatry and mysticism.
1976 Psychologist and Japan scholar Robert Frager organizes the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, the first institution to develop an experiential distance-learning global program dedicated to education of the whole person: mind, body, intellect, and soul.
1976 Transpersonal psychologists James Fadiman and Robert Frager publish Personality and Personal Growth, the first college-level personality theory textbook in the English language to include a transpersonal viewpoint and major Eastern theories of personality, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism.
1976 Anthony Sutich, pioneer in psychology and co-founder of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, dies of rheumatoid heart disease at the age of 68.
1977 Transpersonal psychologist Ken Wilber publishes Spectrum of Consciousness that synthesizes Western developmental psychologies and Eastern religious systems of thought into an integrated philosophy of consciousness.
1978 The International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS) is founded to promote scientific research on near-death experiences by Kenneth Ring, Bruce Greyson, and John Audette to become the principle organization in the world for distributing information about near-death experiences (NDEs), supporting and publishing research into the scientific study of NDEs.
1979 Robert G. Jahn, aerospace scientist and dean emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, establishes the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab at Princeton University to investigate the reality of psychokinesis and the role of consciousness in the physical world.
1980 Psychiatrist Seymour Boorstein publishes Transpersonal Psychotherapy, an anthology of theories and techniques in the transpersonal orientation in psychotherapy.
1980 Psychiatrist and Zen practitioner Roger Walsh and psychotherapist Frances Vaughn publish Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology, a collection of essays by 16 different authors providing the first comprehensive overview of the field of transpersonal psychology (and updated in 1993).
1981 The Australian Journal of Transpersonal Psychology is founded by transpersonalist Don Diespecker.
1983 Common Boundary magazine is founded to promote exploration of the interface between psychotherapy and spirituality by psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, pastoral counselors, and others in the healing and helping professions.
1985 Czechoslovakian-born psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof, publishes Beyond the Brain that presents the transpersonal research findings following his development of LSD-assisted psychotherapy.
1987 The European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) is established that starts the formal transpersonal movement in Europe.
1988 Michael Washburn publishes The Ego and the Dynamic Ground, a psychoanalytic theory on transpersonal human development.
1989 Phenomenologists Ronald Valle and Steen Halling publish Existential-Phenomenological Perspectives in Psychology: Exploring the Breadth of Human Experience with a Special Section on Transpersonal Psychology that attempts for the first time to integrate transpersonal psychology with existential-phenomenological topics, issues, and methods of investigation.
1990 Hilgard and Atkinson’s Introduction to Psychology, one of the most widely-used and respected American college textbooks, includes for the first time a section entitled “Psi Phenomena” featuring a discussion of current ESP research and a statement calling the Gansfeld procedure “worthy of careful consideration.”
1991 Arthur Hastings, former President of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and Dean of Faculty and President at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, publishes With the Tongues of Men and Angels: A Study of Channeling that identifies the topic of channeling activities and channeled information as a legitimate topic of transpersonal research.
1993 Transpersonal psychiatrist Roger Walsh and psychotherapist France Walsh published Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision (an updated version of their 1980 landmark book, Beyond Ego), a thoroughly revised review of all the major transpersonal areas by 37 authors reflecting the dramatic growth of transpersonal psychology into a multidisciplinary transpersonal movement.
1994 Inclusion of “psychoreligious” and “psychospiritual problems” as diagnostic categories in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) signaled increasing professional acceptance of transpersonal issues.
1998 William Braud, Research Director of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (Palo Alto, California) and Rosemarie Anderson, Associate Professor at the institute, publish Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences intended to help researchers develop new research strategies to study extraordinary human experiences and transformative capacities.
1999 The European Transpersonal Psychology Association (ETPA) is established for the study, teaching, and research of transpersonal psychiatry and integral psychology.
2000 Transpersonal theorist Ken Wilber publishes the revised edition of his magnum opus Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution that attempts to establish an overarching framework for an integral and integrative psychology.
2002 The Russian Transpersonal Psychology and Psychotherapy Association (RTPPA) was officially founded at its first conference in Moscow, representing the formal professionalization of transpersonal psychology in Russia.
2002 Jorge Ferrer writes a postmodernist critique of prevailing transpersonal scholarship in his landmark book Revisioning Transpersonal Theory: A Participatory Vision of Human Spirituality.