Transpersonal Research Colloquium (TRC) 2016

 September 15-16, 2016, Highgate House, Northampton, UK



Co-organized and Co-Facilitated by the Transpersonal Research Network (TRN)


Rosemarie Anderson of Transpersonal Consultancy

( and Professor Emerita at Sofia University, USA

Giovanna Calabrese (Italy) and Regina U. Hess (Germany) representing the EUROTAS Division of Transpersonal Research (,

and Pier Luigi Lattuada of the Integral Transpersonal Institute, Italy (;

         in conjunction with this year’s TRC host

Les Lancaster, Professor Emeritus of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, representing the British Psychological Society Transpersonal Section (



Transpersonal Research Colloquium (TRC) 2016 UK



 Presenters/Activities                                                        Research Methods

 Wednesday, Dinner 7:00 pm (Optional Table Discussions)

 Thursday, September 15

BREAKFAST 7:00-8:30 am

 Check-In at 8:30 am

Opening and Introductions 9:00 am

Les Lancaster, UK                                                     Hermeneutics and Transformative Practice

Rosemarie Anderson, USA                                       Classical Hermeneutics and Transformation

Meili Pinto, USA/China                                            Confucian Hermeneutics

**10 minute Q & A

Pier-Luigi Lattuada, Italy                                           Second Attention Epistemology

Giovanna Calabrese, Italy                                         Essence of Second Attention Epistemology

Djailton Perereia da Cunha, Brazil/France                Integral Inquiry and Theoretical Analysis

**10 Minute Q & A

Discussion Groups on Hermeneutics and Theory


BREAK (Tea & Coffee)

Christine Simmonds-Moore, USA                              Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

Fulvio D’Acquisto, UK                                                  IPA and Focus Groups

Cathy Geils, South Africa/UK                                      Organic Inquiry and Phenomenology

**10 Minute Q and A


LUNCH 1:00 pm (Buffet)


Thursday 3:00 pm

Magali Ollagnier-Beldame, France                            ‘Explicitation Method’

Anne Cazemajou, France                                           ‘Explicitation Method’

**10 Minute Q & A


Regina U. Hess, Germany                                         Embodied Phenomenology/Transcultural Charmaine Jacqui Linder, Canada                                                                      Thinking in Movement

Paul Freinkel, South Africa                                       Developmental Analyses

**10 Minute Q & A

Discussion Groups on Phenomenology and Embodiment


BREAK (Tea & Coffee)

Ho Law & Natalie Basil, UK (co-presenters)            Meta-Narrative Dialogue

Louise King, UK                                                        Autoethnography

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson /UK                               Generalizing Findings in Qualitative Research

**10 Minute Q and A

Open Large Group Discussion


DINNER 7:00 pm


EVENING: 9:00 pm                                                           TRC 2015 Documentary Film Premiere (Mike Linder)

Discussion Groups on Narrative and Film (Optional) and Social Hour


Friday, September 16

BREAKFAST 7:00-8:30 am


Friday 9:00 am

Discussion Groups, Topics to be determined by the group


Chris Roe, UK                                                           Mixed Methods

Kimberley Sheffield, UK                                           Mixed Methods

Donadrian Rice, USA                                                Mixed Methods

Charmaine Marie Sonnex, UK                                  Mixed Methods

**10 Minute Q & A


BREAK (Tea & Coffee)

Nigel Hamilton, UK                                                  Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Dreams

Alice Herron, UK                                                      Grounded Theory

Carol Hallyn, USA                                                     Four Levels of Inquiry (Intuition)

Lindy-Lydia McMullin, Greece                                 Interpretive Interactionalism

**10 Minute Q & A

Discussion Groups on Qualitative, Quantitative, and “Mixed” Approaches to Research


LUNCH 1:00 pm (Buffet)


Friday 3:00 pm

Marlene Botha, UK                                                   Narrative Inquiry and Intuitive Inquiry

Unjyn Park, South Korea/UK                                    Intuition in Multi-Cultural Research

Deborah Kelly, UK                                                    Intuitive Inquiry

**10 minutes Q & A


Marleen de Villiers, South Africa                              Intuitive, Art-based, and Narrative Inquires

Coby Lyons, USA                                                        Arts-based Research and Thematic Analysis

Paul Maiteny, UK                                                      Scientific and Literary/Artistic Research

Jessica Bockler, UK                                                   Theatre as Transformative Inquiry

**10 Minute Q & A

Discussion of Intuitive Inquiry and Art-based Approaches


BREAK (Tea & Coffee)

Melanie Oliver, UK/Switzerland                               Research as Ritual

Gabriela Mihalache, USA/Romania                         Heuristic Research

Kelly Kilrea, Canada                                                 Heuristic Research/Deep Heuristics

David Lipschitz, South Africa                                   Supervising Transpersonal Research

**10 Minute Q & A



CLOSING Discussions on “What’s Next?” and Social Hour


DINNER 7:00 pm


Transpersonal Research Colloquium 2016 UK

 Overview¾List of Presenters and Research Methods


Presenters (37)                                         Research Method

Rosemarie Anderson, USA                        Classical Hermeneutics and Transformation

Natalie Basil, UK                                        Meta-Narrative Dialogue (co-presenter)

Jessica Bockler, UK                                    Applied Arts Evaluation & Its Challenges

Marlene Botha, UK                                    Working with Dreams and Colors

Giovanna Calabrese, Italy                          Essence of 2nd Attention Epistemology

Anne Cazemajou, France                            ‘Explicitation Method’

Fulvio D’Acquisto, UK                               Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Djailton Perereia da Cunha, Brazil/France   Theoretical Analysis/Integral Inquiry

Paul Freinkel, South Africa                          Developmental Analyses

Cathy Geils, South Africa/UK                    Organic Inquiry and Phenomenology

Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson, UK              Generalizing Findings in Qualitative Research

Carol Hallyn, USA                                     Four Levels of Inquiry

Nigel Hamilton, UK                                   Dreams as Method

Alice Herron, UK                                       Grounded Theory

Regina U. Hess, Germany                         Embodied Phenomenology/Transcultural

Deborah Kelly, UK                                    Intuitive Inquiry

Kelly Kilrea, Canada                                 Heuristic Research/Deep Heuristics

Louise King, UK                                        Autoethnography

Les Lancaster, UK                                     Hermeneutics and Transformative Practice

Pier-Luigi Lattuada, Italy                          Second Attention Epistemology

Ho Law, UK                                                Meta-Narrative Dialogue

Jacqui Linder, Canada                              Thinking in Movement

David Lipschitz, South Africa                   Supervising Transpersonal Research

Coby Lyons, USA                                       Arts-based Research and Thematic Analyses

Paul Maiteny, UK                                       Scientific or Literary/Artistic Research

Lindy Lydia McMullin, Greece                   Interpretative Interactionism

Gabriela Mihalache, USA/Romania           Heuristic Research

Melanie Oliver, UK                                     Research as Ritual

Magali Ollagnier-Beldame, France           ‘Explicitation Method’

Unjyn Park, UK/South Korea                      Intuition in Multi-Cultural Research

Meili Pinto, USA/China                              Confucian Hermeneutics

Donadrian Rice, USA                                Mixed Methods

Chris Roe, UK                                           Case Collection and Content Analysis

Kimberley Sheffield, UK                           Outcome Practice as Method

Christine Simmonds-Moore, USA            Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Charmaine Marie Sonnex, UK                  Mixed Methods

Marleen de Villiers, South Africa              Intuitive/Arts-Based/Narrative



Transpersonal Research Colloquium 2016 UK

 List of Presenters’ Abstracts and Bios


 Rosemarie Anderson, PhD, USA

 Origins of Qualitative Research in European Hermeneutics

Professor Emerita, Sofia University, Palo Alto, USA



While pioneers in psychology, including Wilhelm Wundt, William James, Alfred Binet, Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung, used qualitative approaches to develop theoretical insights, the hegemony imposed by the standard of quantification of human behavior stymied the development of qualitative methods until the 1960s. Since then, qualitative methods have secured a strong place in the research traditions in the United Kingdom and the United States. All these methods are rooted in hermeneutic perspectives developed in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The philosophic precursors of qualitative approaches to research in European philosophy are various. However, this presentation focuses on the intuitive textual exegesis of Friedrich Schleiermacher, the dialogical imperative of Hans-Georg Gadamer, and the participatory impetus “to see world as a web of interrelated processes” as articulated by Alfred North Whitehead. In progressive and unique ways, Schleiermacher, Gadamer, and Whitehead prefigured the development of both qualitative and the newly-emergent transpersonal approaches to research. This presentation focuses on the ways that Schleiermacher, Gadamer, and Whitehead signal an openness to human science research as an art of transformation in both the topic under investigation and researchers’ personal self-development.



Rosemarie Anderson is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Sofia University, USA, author and poet, and “elder” in the field of transpersonal psychology. In 1998, she authored Celtic Oracles (Random House) and co-authored, with William Braud, Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences (SAGE Publications), the book that established the field of transpersonal research methods. In 2011, she co-authored Transforming Self and Others Through Research (SUNY Press) with William Braud and co-authored Five Ways of Doing Qualitative Research: Phenomenological Psychology, Grounded Theory, Discourse Analysis, Narrative Research, and Intuitive Inquiry (Guilford Press) with Frederick Wertz, Kathy Charmaz, Linda McMullen, Ruthellen Josselson, and Emalina McSpadden. In recent years, she has co-founded the Transpersonal Research Network

( and been a board member for the International Transpersonal Association (ITA).




Natalie Basil; BSc (Hons) Psychology; MBPsS, UK

Multi-reflexivity: Meta-Narrative Dialogue for Transpersonal Research

Ho Law and Natalie Basil


Aim: to explore the possibility of understanding the meaning of ‘transpersonal’ through the reflexivity in a research process that involves peer researchers completing the work of a late researcher’s project.  The project, called Tree of Life (ToL), applied a narrative approach (outsider witness re-telling/definitional ceremony) using the tree as a metaphor to support refugee children and young people in schools, which added the multiplicity in the interpretation of the meaning.

Methods: a mixed method: a survey interpretive phenomenological orientated thematic analysis and multi-reflexivit


Results: ToL groups had a significant positive impact on the psychological and social well being of the participants. For the context of transpersonal, the insight gained from the multi-layered reflexivity will be shared.

Discussions:  The untimely death of the key researcher had a profound impact upon the research process and the team. It created a special (transpersonal?) layer on the co-researchers’ reflexivity when analyzing the transcripts of the participants, as one had to reflect from multiple perspectives of: the participants, self and the late researcher. Furthermore the shared bereavement evoked an urge for the transpersonal quest. This formed a meta-narrative dialogue in the multi-reflexivity as a point of entry to the transpersonal realm.



Natalie Basil is currently working in psychological research. Natalie has graduated with a BPS accredited Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015 from Royal Holloway, University of London. Since graduating, she has worked as an assistant psychologist in systemic psychotherapeutic counseling with child refugees and as an assistant psychologist in a Drug and Alcohol clinic. She is also a member of the BPS Psychotherapy Section Committee and is a co-facilitator for BPS Mindfulness Reading Group. She is also a member of British Association of Christians in Psychology (BACP). In her most recent project involvement she has written about a narrative therapy approach whereby children would reflect on their life to draw Hope and Dreams for their future. Natalie is of Christian faith and has therefore great interest in understanding more and being involved in research on spirituality and on the link between science and faith.

LinkedIn: Natalie Basil 



Jessica Bockler, PhD, UK

 Applied Arts Evaluation & Its Challenges



Jessica’s research pursuits focus on the intersections of transpersonal psychology with mental health, performance studies, martial arts and ritual arts. Jessica has a PhD in Psychology; in her research she explored “Theatre as a Transformative Practice,” examining the actor’s craft as a vehicle for ‘work on the self,’ focusing on contemporary theatre practitioners in Europe and the USA who combine esoteric practices (e.g. in the Gurdjieffian tradition) with physical theatre and traditional song work. Alongside immersion in such practices, Jessica has for the last decade been working in the arena of mental health, leading an ‘arts on prescription’ service in the UK – Creative Alternatives – catering for adults with depression, stress and anxiety. This dual exposure to ritual arts and therapeutic arts has afforded her the opportunity to pursue intensive practice-as-research, exploring the transformative potential of creative self-expression in those contexts and examining the boundaries between participatory arts, the arts therapies, and ritual arts, considering the skills and training needed to facilitate such work, as well as what support and working conditions need to be in place to ensure safe practice.

Jessica’s contribution to the TRC will revolve around the pursuit of applied arts practice as research, highlighting the creative principles which inform transpersonal research methods, and addressing the ineffectiveness of popular quantitative evaluation methods in capturing the transformative impact of applied arts interventions in wellbeing and mental health, as well as shining a light on the fraught enterprise of so-called Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses of arts projects, which attempt to place a financial value on the benefits generated by those projects to demonstrate the socio-economic value of the arts.



Jessica Bockler is an Applied Theatre practitioner and Transpersonal Psychologist with a passionate interest in expressive and ritual arts as a way to meaningful living. Jessica is a co-founding director of the Alef Trust ( The Alef Trust provides postgraduate education programs and community programs, promoting holistic psychological frameworks and perspectives, nurturing the development of human consciousness and culture. Jessica is also director of Creative Alternatives (, an arts and mental health service which operates in Merseyside, UK.





Marlene Botha, MA, UK


Research Methods Used in the Study of the Transformative Effect of Colours in Transpersonal Dream Work


Marlene Botha

CCPE Trust, Centre for Counselling & Psychotherapy Education


The presentation is based on research methods used in a study on the transformative effect of working with dream colours in transpersonal psychotherapy. The research adopted a transpersonal phenomenological research strategy, exploring human experience by investigating the descriptions of recalled dreams and dream work; thereby revealing the meanings rooted in these experiences.  The study made use of two qualitative methods of research, that of Narrative Oriented Inquiry and Intuitive Inquiry.  These complemented each other throughout the data collection, incubation, analysis and synthesis of the findings stages of the study. The presentation will particularly illustrate the richness and value of using Intuitive Inquiry alongside Narrative Oriented Inquiry to research a topic concerned with a transformational process within a transpersonal paradigm.



Marlene Botha, M.A., Dipl. Psych., Couples Counseling, Spvn. & Adv. Psych. Cert. Transpersonal Dreamwork
Marlene is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and supervisor. In addition to private practice she works as a lecturer, group facilitator, and supervisor. She has a special interest in the transpersonal approach, which she has shared through leading and facilitating transpersonal group-work and presenting on dream guidance through colors. Marlene has extensive experience of the psycho-spiritual transformation process as dreamer, dream guide, group facilitator and spiritual retreat guide. She holds a research MA in psychotherapy, which focused on the spiritual transformation of colors in dreams.



Giovanna Calabrese, MD, PhD, PsyD, Italy

What is Peculiar of Transpersonal Research Methodology?




In these meetings, speaking about transpersonal research, we focus on methods. Many different methods for many different human experiences will be presented. If research is a journey, the method is the vehicle we use to run the road from the question to the answer. I would like to shift the attention from the color and the brand of the vehicle to the engine.

In transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy the foci are on states of consciousness, integration and holistic approach. How can qualitative research methods be used to address these fields? How might a particular method favor the process of knowledge about a specific aspect of that human experience we are interested in?

Following the metaphor of the vehicle I will address how all the different methods can be reduced to a very essential structure from an epistemology perspective based on Second Attention.



Giovanna Calabrese. I graduated in medicine (Milan, Italy). My interest in research brought me to attain a PhD in psychiatry, for which I studied brain metabolism in major psychiatric diseases using Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (Milan, Italy and San Francisco, USA). When the biomedical approach to psychiatry was not satisfying me anymore, leaving too many questions un-answered, I moved toward transpersonal psychotherapy, so I got a diploma at the Om Centre for Transpersonal Psychotherapy (Milan, Italy). My research attitude brought me to the Metanoia Institute in London, where I completed a Doctorate in Psychotherapy by Professional Studies, using qualitative research methodology to explore the use of non-ordinary states of consciousness in transpersonal psychotherapy.


I work as a neuroradiologist and as a transpersonal psychotherapist. I am Chief of the Research Department at the Integral transpersonal Institute in Milan (Italy), where I teach Science Methodology and Neuroscience, tutoring students for their dissertation.

I am co-founder and core team member of the EUROTAS Division of Transpersonal Research.

I am editor and reviewer of the Integral Transpersonal Journal.





Anne Cazemajou, PhD, France

Understanding Intersubjectivity From Inside Through Introspective Interviews:

The Case of First Encounters Between Therapists and Patients

¾Explicitation Method¾



In the Theses research project (Theories and explorations of subjectivity and lived experience), we are conducting explicitation interviews (Vermersch 1994/2011, Varela and Shear 1999, Petitmengin 2006) with therapists and patients about their first encounter (first look, first words, first handshake, first information taken…). The explicitation interview allows the interviewee to be guided to become aware of his or her subjective experience, and describe it with great precision. It enables an understanding “from inside” of how the situation of interaction is lived (in terms of senses, emotions and micro-cognitive actions) by each participant and of how the intersubjective relation is co-constructed. From interview excerpts, we will show how elusive interpersonal boundaries are and how therapists and patients get information from themselves, from the other and from the intersubjective space they co-construct, in order to act, react and make sense of the situation. From interview excerpts, we will show how we conducted our interviews so as to obtain descriptions of the diachronic as well as the synchronic dimension of experience. We will then explain how we managed, through analysis, to gain generic descriptive categories of the intersubjective encountering experience, in order to elaborate a generic model of this experience.



Anne Cazemajou gained a PhD (2010) in Anthropology of bodily practice entitled “The work of yoga in contemporary dance teaching. Anthropological analysis of the bodily experience” (Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, France). She is now a post-doctoral researcher at the CNRS / ICAR UMR 5191 – ENS of Lyon.  She is engaged in a project called Theses (Theories and explorations of subjectivity and lived experience). She studies situations of first encounters between therapists and patients. The aim of this project is to study intersubjectivity, to establish generic descriptive models and to help transform these situations towards more humanity. Anne Cazemajou is also a certified trainer in explicitation techniques, under the direction of Pierre Vermersch / GREX (Research group in explicitation).



Fulvio D’Acquisto, PhD, UK

Dreaming Autoimmunity: Exploring Dreams in Patients Suffering Autoimmune Diseases

Prof Fulvio D’Acquisto1, Dr Nigel Hamilton2,3, Melinda Ziemer3

1 William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK;

2Centre for Counseling and Psychotherapy Education Trust, London, UK;

3The Dream Research Institute, London, UK.




Patients suffering from autoimmune diseases have long been known to go through significant emotional and psychological distress during the development of their illness. Although not properly documented, evidence suggests that autoimmune patients often experience vivid dreams but seldom share this highly charged emotional material with others.


The aim of this study is to test the waking dream technique (e.g. a re­visitation of the dream in a waking state) as an effective protocol to provide emotional and psychological support to these patients. The study consists of two phases. During the first phase, consisting of six one-to-one sessions, patients will be subjected to the waking dream technique. During the second phase, patients will have the option to continue their dream exploration work in a group of six for another four sessions. This part of the project aims at assessing the patient’s experience of sharing their dream-exploration journey with other patients. The content of the first and second phase sessions will be transcribed and analyzed through Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) or a combination of IPA and the focus group methods (for the group sessions). The emotional and psychological benefits of the project will be measured using the Mental Health Recovery-Star form.



Fulvio D’Acquisto is Professor of Immunopharmacology at the William Harvey Research Institute, which he joined in 2003. He graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1993 and during his MSc and PhD in experimental pharmacology he investigated how to control acute and chronic inflammation. During his post-doctoral training at Yale University he investigated novel approaches to treat autoimmune disorders. Fulvio is passionate about understanding the cross talk between body and mind and is currently investigating how emotions can influence the function and development of the immune system and vice versa. The long-term aim of his research is to exploit both the emotional and immunological systems as gateways for the discovery and identification of novel therapeutic approaches for modern diseases.



Djailton Pereira da Cunha, PhD Cand., Brazil/France

 Transpersonal Psychology: An Integral Approach to Being Human



This study is a part of our doctoral thesis in progress about Transpersonal Psychology and Education in Brazil and in France. We seek to map aspects of transpersonal psychology, building a brief historical and conceptual analysis, showing a support that spiritual dimension brings to transpersonality. We also present the first results of the interviews with the teachers of higher education with development in transpersonal psychology in Brazil and France. Supported by the transformative paradigm (Mertens, 2009), we adopted the Integral Inquiry method (Braud, 2011). We work this transformative approach and multi-method research, using a qualitative approach with a hermeneutics-phenomenological understanding of semi-structured interviews and the IRAMUTEQ program for textual analysis of these interviews. We expect from these interviews to identify the contribution of intercultural dimension to the integral human formation, in which transpersonal content and experiences are contemplated. Initially, we can indicate three outcomes. The first is the personal and professional transformation of the researcher due to the intercultural experience during this research in France. The second was observed with one of the participants of this research, who has taken over an old project of academic qualifications, after contact with this research. The last has been seen by the interest of people about the theme of this research, especially in France, where the transpersonal is nonexistent in the Academia.



Djailton Pereira da Cunha is an engineer, psychologist and university professor in Brazil. Currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Sciences jointly supervised by Université Lumière Lyon 2 (France) – ED485 EPIC [Education, Psychology, Information and Communication] and Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) – Brazil. Funding for this work is from CAPES – Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior).


This research is on the thematic: TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY, INTERCULTURALITY and EDUCATION: a comparative study of the contributions of spirituality to the human formation in Brazil and France. Researcher and student of Education and Spirituality Center of Postgraduate Education Programme of UFPE, I have experience in the area of Education and Psychology.





Paul Freinkel, PhD, South Africa

 Stage Specific Sciences: Is There a Developmental Nature to Research?



Two inter-related subjects of research stirring major interest in Transpersonal Psychology are states of consciousness and stage models of transpersonal development. As regards states of consciousness and scientific method, Charles Tart in 1972 proposed state specific sciences where “observations made and theorizing done by a scientist in a specific altered state of consciousness would illustrate the nature of a proposed state-specific science (Tart, 1972).” Regarding stages of transpersonal development, Susan Cook-Greuter (2005), amongst others, pointed out that each of the developmental stages, or in her model action logics, has its own particular perspective, cognition, and approach to truth. It stands then to reason that the types of questions of the researcher and the preferred methods of research chosen may change depending on the developmental stage and developmental needs of the researcher, and the developmental imperatives of the research itself. It is helpful too for researchers to have a realistic understanding of their own level of psycho-spiritual development (Anderson, 2015), in order to understand the paradigms from which they approach, undertake, and interpret their research. Of course, transpersonal development and developmental theory is messy and complex (Ruumet, 2006) and contains multiple nested holarchies (Wilber 2000). Nevertheless, in the context of its intrinsic messiness, complexity, and nested holarchies, I propose that there may be a developmental stratification of research methodologies, with certain methods and approaches more relevant to certain developmental stages. In dialogue with the Colloquium, this presentation seeks to explore this question in greater depth.



Anderson, R. (2015). Transpersonal research and scholarship: Reflections on the last twenty years           and             forward. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 47 (2), 163-167.

Cook-Greuter, S. (2005). Ego development: Nine levels of increasing embrace. Retrieved April 15,          2010, from   

Ruumet, H. (2006). Pathways of the soul. Exploring the human journey. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford.

Tart, C. (1972). States of consciousness and state specific sciences. The extension of scientific method to the             essential phenomena of altered states of consciousness is proposed. Science , 176, 1203-1210.

Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology. Consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. Boston, MA:  Shambhala



Paul Freinkel, BSc (Hons), MBCh, PhD, is a medical doctor, researcher and entrepreneur. He is a lecturer with the Alef Trust, and adjunct faculty on the doctoral program of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, South Africa. His research includes mainstreaming transpersonal values and research methodologies, transpersonal development theory, and its multiple applications, as well as spirituality and classical singing.

He is a trained singer and exhibiting fine art photographer. Wearing his entrepreneur’s hat, Paul is a co-founder of the StarTraq Group – a global leader in traffic offence processing systems – and an executive director of, a worldwide wildlife loving social media community.




Cathy Geils, PhD Cand., South Africa/UK

Bert Hellinger’s Family Constellations: An Embodied Phenomenological Research Method of Organic Inquiry



This paper proposes that Bert Hellinger’s Family Constellations method integrates phenomenology and shamanic practices in transpersonal research. ‘Embodied reflexive empathy’ and ‘embodied indwelling’ are facilitated by the process of ‘representing’ elements of a system. This is consistent with the symbiotic states of consciousness common in shamanic practices. The constellation method also externalizes the elements of the research system.

This facilitates observation of the interconnectedness of all elements of a system that form its ‘field’ or ‘soul’. In terms of organic inquiry, that research is a sacred process involving partnership with Spirit, setting up a research constellation facilitates entering the ‘knowing field’, a liminal space that transcends linear time-space. According to Hellinger, this ‘field’ or ‘soul’ actively seeks and finds resolution. Thus, hidden and obstructive dynamics in the research ‘field’ or ‘soul’ are witnessed and missing elements included. Insight and information not accessible through logical analysis and individual ego is gained. Harmony and wholeness is restored allowing an experience of the ‘holiness’ of the research. This is illustrated with an example from the researcher’s own research process.



Cathy Geils. Although I am of British ancestry, my maternal line settled mostly in the British Midlands, I live and work in my country of birth, South Africa. I have worked in the South African public health system for the duration of my professional career as a clinical psychologist. My experiences working with immense suffering in this environment, in addition to my own personal consciousness journey, have led me to develop my interest in the field of transpersonal psychology. In addition to clinical work, I teach and supervise intern clinical psychologists. I am currently enrolled as a doctoral student in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kwa-zulu Natal, South Africa. The title of my PhD is: Towards an integral training model for South African professional psychology: An investigation of the effectiveness of Family Constellations in developing psychological and therapeutic consciousness in South African psychologists.



Rev Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson, PhD, UK

 Handling claims of exceptional experience in qualitative research



When conducting qualitative research into areas of transpersonal interest, one’s participants or co-researchers are likely to make some startling claims. How is the qualitative analyst to handle these? There are a range of options, some certainly more appropriate than others. I will examine this question using examples from my work with Western practitioners of Buddhism in the UK.



Rev Dr Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson is a Senior Lecturer in Transpersonal Psychology at the University of Northampton and an ordained Zen Buddhist monk. His interests include the transpersonal generally, transcendence, mindfulness, Buddhist psychology and critical social psychology.



Carol Hallyn, PhD, USA

 Four Levels of Inquiry




To bring unconscious knowing to consciousness.


Following an extensive literature review, a four-level building process of inquiry is developed to address the research question. Each level provides increased specificity.

  1. Qualifying conversation. A phone interview clarifies demographics and psychographics of the prospective research participant. The scope of research and participant responsibilities are included.
  2. Basic-inquiry questionnaire. A one-page questionnaire is emailed to the participant to be completed and returned prior to an in-person interview.
  3. In-person interview. In-depth inquiry evolves in conversation based on the research question, highlights of the literature review, and participant responses.
  4. Reflective interview. Following the in-person interview, a telephone conversation addresses:

The Objective Level: The “what” – facts of their experience.

The Reflective Level: The “gut” – reactions, emotions, feelings, associations.

The Interpretive Level: The “so what” – values, meaning, purpose, insights.

The Decisional Level: The “now what” – next steps.


The four levels of inquiry create structure for participant attention to flow from known awareness, through awakening, into an emerging new consciousness. This method allows for transpersonal investigation into unconscious holdings. It is applicable for everyday activities within ordinary states of consciousness to further the advancement of existing knowledge.



Carol Hallyn, PhD, MBA, USA.

As a humanistic and transpersonal psychologist, my activities are focused on research, writing, and education. There exists a consistent thread between my previous functions as a college educator, corporate consultant, career counselor, and entrepreneur mentor in support of professional development through personal growth. My contributions are anchored in human consciousness and spiritual development. My research includes Intuitive Consciousness in Business, which was my dissertation (2014). Emerging from this investigation is Four Practice Areas for Managerial Innovation, to be published by the American Management Association before the end of 2016. The same research methodology is now being used for Self-Care of Heath Care Professionals, to be published by the American Psychological Association in early 2017. The Four Levels of Inquiry has successfully been drawn upon for corporate and non-profit development. This natural flow of inquiry can be utilized in a non-threatening manner for research participants to give voice to their inner thought process to enhance empirical learning. It is my intent to continue with the learning of how people use their cognitive and intuitive functions for the betterment of their life process.




Nigel Hamilton, PhD, UK

A Research Study Using Dreams as an Investigative Tool to Study Human Transformation

Dr. Nigel Hamilton, CCPE Trust, Centre for Counseling & Psychotherapy Education & DRI, Dreams Research Institute



An analyses of fifteen hundred dreams of fourteen people on retreat using quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyze the dreams, is presented.

The aim of this study is to see whether dreams can be an effective tool for monitoring the phenomenon of human transformation. The quantitative analyses involved a new method of estimating the amount of light and color in the dreams as a measure of psycho-spiritual transformation in the dreamer. An extensive thematic analysis of the dreams served as the qualitative tool for assessing changes in the dreamers’ consciousness and as a cross check of the quantitative analysis. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses, which were used independently of each other, arrived at the same conclusions. The results of the retreat dreams study were then compared, using the same research methods, with over a thousand dreams of a subject who did not undergo a spiritual retreat and yet they also experienced a profound psycho-spiritual transformation over a period of several years. The model of psycho-spiritual transformation derived from the retreat dreams study, showed a very similar pattern to that found in the long-term single case study.



Nigel Hamilton, PhD, is Director and founder of the Centre for Counseling and Psychotherapy Education (CCPE), the largest Transpersonal Training and Psychotherapy Centre in the UK. He is also the Director of the Dream Research Institute, London. As the UK Representative for the Sufi Order International, he has an extensive background in Sufism and guiding spiritual retreats.

Dr Hamilton has run numerous dream workshops and trainings in the UK and abroad. He has translated his spiritual knowledge about dreams into scientific research for which he has been awarded a PhD. Dr Hamilton originally trained as a Physicist, working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the use of light in Energy Storage Research.



Alice Herron, PhD, UK

 Using Grounded Theory to Research Godless Mystics



There are several potential difficulties with transpersonal research. Studying accounts of subjective experiences that individuals claim were spiritual or mystical, relies on the individual’s retrospective description and interpretation of the event. There is no certainty regarding how accurate these accounts are, what has influenced them, or how they correlate with neurological processes. Secondly, much of the vocabulary used in this field is ambiguous. Words such as ‘mystical’, ‘spiritual’, ‘religion’ and ‘atheist’, do not have universally agreed definitions, and may be conceptualized differently by the various participants.   Because of these difficulties, in this study of twenty-nine atheists who claimed to have had a mystical-type experience, a grounded theory methodology was chosen to analyze both written and interview accounts. Grounded theory is an inductive, qualitative methodology where emphasis is given to the process of the experience and the meanings given to the experience by the individual. It allows for unexpected results to be identified and emergent issues to be explored. This methodology proved to be useful in providing novel insights into how atheists construct meaning and interpretations of the unusual experiences they reported.



Alice Herron. I am currently a psychology PhD candidate at the University of Surrey.  My research interests are atheism, mystical and spiritual experiences, and new religious movements. I am currently researching atheists who claim to have had a mystical-type experience. Do atheists have similar experiences to religious believers and, if so, what effect, if any, do such experiences have on their beliefs and their sense of identity?

My PhD supervisor is Professor Adrian Coyle, Kingston University. I completed an MA in Psychology of Religion from Heythrop College, University of London, in 2007. My Master’s dissertation was on’ Psychological Factors in the Emergence of New Religious Movements.’





Regina U. Hess, PhD, Germany

An Embodied Phenomenological Approach to Transpersonal Transcultural Research



Based on Gendlin’s experiential philosophy and psychology of bodily knowing, and Heidegger’s work on poetry, language and being, Embodied Enquiry (Todres, 2007) is a method rooted in phenomenology of psychology. Its central and innovative focus is on our primordial bodily connection with the world we live in. Our lived bodily experiences contain more than words can say although there is a longing in us to carry meaning and understanding forward through language. Acknowledging a nondual embodied vision of existence and pluralistic epistemology and ontology, ‘embodied enquiry’ offers a research method that fits well with a philosophical stance of transpersonal psychology, one that advocates the whole person – body, emotions, mind, and spirit – in a transcultural context.

The goal of an embodied transpersonal transcultural research approach is to address all aspects of human experience – including the most sensitive, exceptional, and sacred – across a wealth of diverse cultures, thereby expanding the conventional framework of scientific research. Such an embodied transpersonal transcultural conceptualization of research includes complementary, non-experimental methods that acknowledge alternative ways of knowing and of expressing research findings.



Regina U. Hess, PhD holds a joint doctorate in transpersonal psychology and embodied phenomenology, obtained in the USA and UK respectively. She is a clinical psychologist (Germany), transpersonal psychotherapist and researcher, and works with shamanic expeditions, arts and film. She is faculty at international educational institutes, and is a member of the editorial board at the Integral Transpersonal Journal and the journal ‘Forum Qualitative Social Research.’

Regina is on the Board of Directors of the European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS) and of the International Transpersonal Association. She is co-founder of the international Transpersonal Research Network (TRN), of the EUROTAS Division of Transpersonal Research (EDTR), and of the EUROTAS Disaster/Trauma Task Force (EDTTF).





Deborah Kelly, PsyD Cand., UK

An Intuitive Inquiry Into the Nature of Therapeutic Space



‘The most we can do is prepare and hold the space

where the miraculous can occur.’


16 years ago, inspired by Kearney’s (2000) challenge to provide an integrated model for Palliative Care that can address suffering as well as pain, I developed two projects working with palliative care groups in nature.  Kearney’s model, and these groups, draws from the Asclepian healing temples of ancient Greece, where nature, ritual and dream incubation were part of the healing paradigm.

Captured by Findlay’s quote above (cited by Kearney 2000), I used Intuitive Inquiry (II) (Anderson 2011) to explore the nature of therapeutic space created within these palliative care groups, as part of doctoral research. II enables the researcher to incorporate creative, heuristic, intuitive and hermeneutic elements, which resonated with the therapeutic approach being studied.   The proposed presentation will incorporate an embodied form of   ‘Memory Theatre’ (Angelo, 2013, Yates, 2014) as part of the exploration of data.

In addition I will consider how transpersonal research methodology holds the potential and challenge for the work being studied to weave its way through the research process itself; in this case, encountering many endings and symbolic deaths along the way.



Anderson, R (2011) ‘Intuitive Inquiry’ in Anderson & Braud. Transforming Self and Others through Research. Albany SUNY.

Angelo, M.  (2013) ‘Imaginal Inquiry: Meetings with the Imaginative Intelligence’.  In Voss, A  & Rowlandson,             W. (Eds.). Daimonic Imagination, Uncanny Intelligence. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars             Publishing.

Kearney, M. (2000) A Place of Healing. OUP.

Yates, F. (2014) The Art of Memory. London: the Bodley Head.



Deborah Kelly MA. IAP UKCP Reg., PsyD Cand.

Deborah is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, group facilitator and teacher.  She has run groups with a variety of foci, such as the wheel of the year, women’s groups, survivors of suicide, five elements and palliative care.  Her particular interest lies in working with nature and imagination. She has worked in palliative care for 18 years, and this work is the subject of her current research. Deborah is completing her Doctorate in Psychotherapy by Professional Studies at the Metanoia Institute and Middlesex University in London UK. Alongside this she studied with Dr Marie Angelo at Chichester University, in Imaginal Studies. This led to further exploration of transpersonal research methodology, including the work of Anderson, Braud and Romanyshyn.

During the doctoral research journey, she completed a yearlong pilot study exploring the experience of practitioners working in nature with palliative care groups. Using a heuristic methodology, the creative synthesis took the form of a series of photographs and poetry, which were presented at an exhibition for palliative care practitioners. The current research continues to use creative and imaginal methods that resonate with her therapeutic approach.



Kelly Kilrea, PhD., Canada

 Deep Heuristics: A Methodological Approach for the Investigation of Transformative and Potentiating Human Relationships



The simplest and most elegant definition for deep heuristics is to name it a useful methodological tool for inquiring into the natures of significant and compelling potentiating relationships. These relationships are often found to be potentiating relationships in that they inspire the actualization of our potential. Grounded in transformative philosophy, deep heuristics is an emergent research methodology designed to probe the depths of compelling and significant transformational relationships. This pairing allows for the generation of a useful method for revealing and obtaining a deep understanding of rich, nuanced, and complex aspects of human experience. The central purpose of transformative inquiry is to understand the transformational process–in particular as it relates to the actualization of human potential–generated by these significant and compelling transformational relationships.

Heuristic Research follows six phases: (1) initial engagement; (2) immersion; (3) incubation; (4) illumination; (5) explication; and, (6) creative synthesis (Moustakas, 1990). While deep heuristics follows a similar intuitive path of exploration, it also purposes itself at probing deeper towards understanding the compelling and significant relationships that lead to personal and transpersonal transformations or to transformative learning. As a result, deep heuristics seeks a deeper understanding of our compelling and significant potentiating relationships in order to both foster and fertilize their transformative potentials.



Therefore in deep heuristics, initial engagement of heuristic research becomes deep ecological engagement; immersion becomes deep immersion; incubation becomes creative or personal transcendence; illumination becomes enlightenment; explication becomes revelation; and creative synthesis becomes cultivating creative synergy in the investigation of compelling and significant potentiating relationships.



Kelly Kilrea, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Human Sciences at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. Kelly teaches graduate interns and undergraduate students in the university’s School of Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Spirituality. Her research focuses primarily on spiritual and secular experiences of awakening (i.e. nondual realization or enlightenment), and she is particularly interested in the impacts of spiritual/secular awakening on identity, relating, emotional regulation, motivation, leadership, parenting, and human potential. In addition to her research and teaching activities, Kelly works as a transpersonally-oriented counsellor in private practice with individuals, couples, and families, and also as a mental performance consultant with top performers and elite athletes.



Louise King, PhD Cand., UK

Autoethnography¾Using Dreams as a Transpersonal Research Method



I am using my own dreams, process and creative output for qualitative research. The waking dream technique is a means of re-entering a dream via a trance-like state, accessing aspects that were hitherto unavailable. The waking dream technique works by focusing on the felt senses of the body to create an embodied experience and deeper insight.

I was trained to use this waking dream technique in my professional training as a Transpersonal psychotherapist and use it, both with my psychotherapy clients and in my personal therapy. My research uses dreams as autoethnographic data, enabling a reflexive exploration of my experiences with epilepsy.

This dreamwork constitutes part of the reflexive materials contributing to the autoethnographic narrative of my PhD research. Autoethnography is a qualitative approach where personal epiphany is often key making it a highly suitable research method for Transpersonal experiences and research.

Linking the personal with the cultural, autoethnography offers a research methodology that invites the reader to empathically enter the lived world of the researcher. I will explain my experience of dreamwork as a Transpersonal research methodology, demonstrating how the resulting rich, qualitative data can be used to bring transformation.



Louise King. As a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, dreamwork and creative expression form a large part of my professional practice and also my own therapy. I have been collecting and working with dreams for almost ten years and I often paint the resulting work to engage more fully with the meaning and symbolism that emerges. I am also a Lecturer in Psychology and Counselling at the University of Northampton, where I bring Transpersonal approaches and methods into the counselling context. As a Doctoral candidate, I am conducting research into transpersonal understandings of spiritual experiences in epilepsy at the University of Northampton. My research focuses on the meaning that individuals give to these highly personal events. As I have epilepsy myself, one of the research methods I am employing is autoethnography, a qualitative approach, to explore my own epileptiform experiences (EFEs).




Les Lancaster, PhD, UK


Hermeneutics and Transformation: A Model for a Research Paradigm in Transpersonal Psychology



The criterion of the detached observer is largely a myth in most branches of psychology, and more often than not counter-productive in transpersonal psychology. Further to my research presented at TRC 2015 on hermeneutic neurophenomenology, I will explore in this paper the relationship between hermeneutics and the experience of transformation. The term ‘method’ in transpersonal psychology research has a dual connotation: On the one hand, it connotes a method for obtaining data concerning some phenomenon of interest, and, on the other hand, a method (cf. ‘spiritual practice’) for aspiring to some form of ‘higher’ state. In the wisdom traditions that have proved influential for the development of transpersonal psychology, these two aspects often go hand-in-hand: Knowledge of the nature of mind is a prerequisite for transformation, as the transformed state is critical for the refinement of observation necessary to specify detail of the nature of mind.

Drawing on the ways in which this double aspect has been applied in religious and mystical contexts where hermeneutical systems flourished, I develop a model of transpersonal research that integrates the hermeneutical approach with transformative experience.



Les Lancaster is Professor Emeritus of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK, an Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University, UK, and Associated Distinguished Professor, Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is past Chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, and currently President of the Board of the International Transpersonal Association. Les is a founding director of the Alef Trust, a Community Interest Company promoting transpersonal perspectives in education, research, and community projects. Les’ research interests focus on the cognitive neuroscience of consciousness and the psychology of mysticism, with a specific focus on Kabbalistic Psychology. His initial research training was in neuroscience and psychology, and over some forty years he has developed expertise in the hermeneutic methods employed in the rabbinic and mystical traditions in Judaism. His ongoing challenge is to find ways to integrate these two methodological strands to the benefit of transpersonal psychology.

In addition to many journal articles, Les’ published works include Mind Brain and Human Potential, winner of a Science and Medical Network Best Book Award, Approaches to Consciousness: the Marriage of Science and Mysticism, and The Essence of Kabbalah. Websites:;



Pier-Luigi Lattuada, PhD, Italy


Integral Transpersonal Inquiry¾Second Attention Epistemology

Integral Transpersonal Institute, Milan, Italy



The mainstream Science of Reality sets forth a methodology for enquiring into Reality that seeks to state, through experimentation and with a fair degree of certainty, what is true and what is false.

Integral Transpersonal Inquiry through the Second Attention Epistemology of the Further Mode does not claim to say what Truth is, nor is it about what is true or false. It is concerned with presenting a methodology that stands a good chance of accurately pointing to how Truth may be attained. In First Attention Reality is Real. In Second Attention Reality reveals the Truth.  Both must be fulfilled while being mindful of one another.

Tool of Integral Transpersonal Inquiry is the Integral Transpersonal Thinking that leads with:

  • Data 1: ECE, Explicit Clinical Evidences, the Data of the outer world
  • Data 2: IEI, Implicit Clinical Inherences, the data of the inner world
  • States of Consciousness
  • The Field: Essence.


Pier Luigi Lattuada of the Integral Transpersonal Institute, Milan, Italy and Sofia University Palo Alto, CA, USA, is a Medical Doctor. He has a PhD in Behavioral Studies and a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. He is also a Psychotherapist. Founder of Biotransenergetics, Pier Luigi is the Director of the Transpersonal Psychotherapy School in Milan, which has been fully recognized by the Ministry of Education University and Research since 2002. He is also director of the Training in Transpersonal Counseling accredited by AssoCounseling. He is Faculty at Sofia University, Palo Alto, CA and Faculty and chair of BA on Integral Transpersonal Psychology at Ubiquity University. Past medical director of Lifegate Holistic Medicine Clinic of Milan, Scientific Director of Integral Transpersonal Journal. He serves as co-Vice-President of EUROTAS. Pier Luigi has published sixteen books since 1985, more than 30 articles since 1980 and presented Biotransenergetics in more than 50 International Conferences in several countries: Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Moldova, Latvia, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, USA, Brazil, Greece since 1988.


web site:;

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Ho Law, PhD, UK


Multi-reflexivity: Meta-Narrative Dialogue for Transpersonal Research

Ho Law and Natalie Basil (Co-Presenter)



Aim: to explore the possibility of understanding the meaning of ‘transpersonal’ through the reflexivity in a research process that involves peer researchers completing the work of a late researcher’s project.  The project, called Tree of Life (ToL), applied a narrative approach (outsider witness re-telling/definitional ceremony) using the tree as a metaphor to support refugee children and young people in schools, which added the multiplicity in the interpretation of the meaning.

Methods: a mixed method: a survey interpretive phenomenological orientated thematic analysis and multi-reflexivity

Results: ToL groups had a significant positive impact on the psychological and social well being of the participants. For the context of transpersonal, the insight gained from the multi-layered reflexivity will be shared.

DiscussionsThe untimely death of the key researcher had a profound impact upon the research process and the team. It created a special (transpersonal?) layer on the co-researchers’ reflexivity when analyzing the transcripts of the participants, as one had to reflect from multiple perspectives of: the participants, self and the late researcher. Furthermore the shared bereavement evoked an urge for the transpersonal quest. This formed a meta-narrative dialogue in the multi-reflexivity as a point of entry to the transpersonal realm.



Ho Law is the Editor of Transpersonal Psychology Review, a Registered Psychologist, Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Chartered Scientist, and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has more than 30 years experience in psychology: research and development  (published over 50 papers) – was one of the first equality advisors to the Assistant Permanent Under Secretary of State in the Home Office, a Senior Lecturer at University of East London (UEL) and Programmed Advisor for Coaching at the University of Cambridge. Ho is a founder of Cambridge Coaching Psychology Group and Empowerment Psychology (Empsy) social enterprise. Ho’s interest in transpersonal and psychotherapy is rooted in his commitment to empowerment and longstanding engagement in the areas of implementing the government diversity agenda, the community arts, inter-cultural therapy, personal, professional and spiritual development. He received numerous outstanding achievement awards including: Local Promoters for Cultural Diversity Project (2003); Positive Image (2004); the first Student Led Teaching Award – Best Supervisor (UEL 2013); and was a nominee for the Division of Occupational Psychology’s Academic Contribution to Practice Award in 2014. Research interest: Coaching and transpersonal psychology; compassion and mindfulness in healthcare practice; narrative practice across cultures and impact evaluation.



Jacqui Linder, PhD, Canada


The Hermeneutics of the Body¾Thinking in Movement



Mainstream research methods traditionally view data analysis as a cognitive activity. However, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone (2009) presents “thinking in movement” as an alternative approach that allows researchers to explore topics through the lens of their physical bodies. In my doctoral dissertation on the psychospiritual impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), I used the hermeneutics of the body as a way to gain deeper insight into the lasting effects of sexual abuse. This presentation will explore the method of spontaneous movement I used during my somatic data analysis along with my results and conclusions.




Jacqui Linder is a Canadian psychologist specializing in the treatment of complex posttraumatic stress disorder. She is the CEO of a trauma institute in Edmonton, Alberta as well as Clinical Director of a residential treatment facility for sexually abused children.

She is also a Professor and Program Director at City University in Edmonton, Alberta. Jacqui’s research interests include the psycho-spiritual impact of trauma and profiling survivors of human trafficking.



David Lipschitz, PhD, South Africa


Supervising Transpersonal Research: A View From a Novice



Paul Cunningham (2006) outlined two challenges facing transpersonal psychology education: acceptance from mainstream psychology, and a lack of clarity from within the field itself. We still face these challenges a decade later. Herein lies the impetus for this proposed presentation. One specific aspect emerging from these challenges is the supervision of transpersonal research.

Not only has little been written about the role of the transpersonal research supervisor, in practice, a number of post-graduate students at the EUROTAS conference in Crete (2014) noted their struggle in finding supervisors who were willing to take on transpersonal research. As a graduate of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and currently a student within a post-doctoral transpersonal psychology program, I have received the benefits of supervision from those who have had many years of experience in both mainstream and transpersonal psychology research. That generation of supervisors is reaching retirement age. It is up to us – the next generation of scholars – to take up this role, thereby managing the challenges posed by Cunningham. In an attempt to address this omission, this proposed presentation offers some experiences of a novice supervisor with the intention of developing a tentative model of transpersonal research supervision.



David Lipschitz. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, I am a clinical psychologist, with a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.  I participated in the first TRC in Italy. I am currently engaged in transpersonal post-doctoral research with Rosemarie Anderson. I teach on a number of academic programs, including Qualitative Research Methodology at the Gordon Institute for Business Studies (GIBS), University of Pretoria; and two courses on the Masters in Consciousness, Spirituality, Transpersonal Psychology (CSTP) a Middlesex University accredited Masters Program through the Alef Trust.  In addition, I supervise various MBA and PhD research students. I sometimes engage in organizational consulting as a mindset and behavior specialist, primarily with McKinsey and Company, a global consulting firm. I have had the opportunity to work around the world, in multiple industries. I participate in two community-based programs – forgiveness, which was the focus of my PhD research, and a fathers and daughters program, which I have initiated at a few schools in Johannesburg.



Coby Lyons, PhD Cand., USA


Art, Madness, and Transformation: Encountering the Shadow through Clay:

Arts-Based Research and Thematic Analyses

Coby J. Lyons, Doctoral Student in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology,

California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California, USA



This presentation reports on an innovative research project that uses Thematic Analysis and Art-Based Research to explore the impact of Creative Expressive use of Clay in a workshop setting designed to support participants with engaging their Shadow. Very little empirical research has been done on demonstrating the clinical efficacy of Jungian concepts. This study opens a potential way forward for such inquiry. The use of the Arts and Creative Expression in therapy has grown into burgeoning fields of research within Psychology. One challenge in the research of Art-based therapies has been the limitations of methodologies themselves. McNiff (1998) notes that current scientific methods are limited in scope to understanding the human experience and proposes Art-Based Research as an approach that expands upon this understanding. One aspect of human experience difficult to research is the Shadow: that feature of the human psyche, which according to Jung, holds split-off parts of ourselves that have been repressed, ignored, and denied. Unchecked, the Shadow prevents the individual from realizing their full potential. Through art-based therapies, techniques, activities, and research, the Shadow can be brought to consciousness in order to facilitate healing and reintegration ultimately leading to transformation from a limited sense of self to that of a fuller richer self. This presentation will place the topic within the context of Transpersonal Research.



Coby J. Lyons holds Masters of Arts degrees in Pastoral Ministry (Oblate School of Theology, U.S.A.) and in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology (Naropa University, U.S.A.). He has completed coursework in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute (U.S.A.), studied Creative Expressive Arts and Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University (U.S.A., formerly Institute of Transpersonal Psychology).

Coby is now a doctoral candidate in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies (U.S.A.). His research interests include working with clay and other creative expressive arts modalities as a means to access the Shadow/Unconscious. His work incorporates transformative aspects of Creative Expressive Arts, Ritual, and Spiritual Practices, as well as Mindfulness and Dream work. Informed by Jungian and Transpersonal Psychologies, Coby seeks to understand the deeper workings of the Psyche, Shadow, and Transformation. He is also a Ceramic Sculptor based in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. and a Stay-At-Home Father of a precocious nine year-old daughter.



Paul Maiteny, PhD, UK


When and why is transpersonal research of a scientific or literary, artistic type? Or, dispelling the scientistic myth of ‘valid science’




In transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy circles, a distinction is frequently made between ‘scientific’ and ‘humanistic’ approaches to research. This is reminiscent of debates in other human sciences, such as anthropology, in the 1980s and 90s. The paper argues that this is, more often than not, an erroneous, illogical and unscientific distinction that adopts the same, equally erroneous, assumptions of scientistic culture and ideology – ie that ‘truly’ scientific data is physical, and research experimental, as conventionally understood. This plays into reinforcing the belief that transpersonal research, and qualitative research in general, into human processes of experience, meaning and purposefulness, relationship and the behaviour these generate, is less valid than research in the physical sciences.

The errors of logical typing on which the false distinction is based will be explained, as will the extent to which the distinction is more ideological and cultural than scientific. As such, the explanation given will, itself, be an illustration of how understanding the human processes require scientific-type analysis. One consequence of the analysis offered is to point to the importance of transpersonal and qualitative research to be focused on accurate description, explanation with a view to enhancing understanding, and to exercise rigor in the methods used to further this. Another consequence is to become more rigorous in distinguishing between transpersonal research that is of a scientific type and work that is of an expressive, literary or artistic type.



Paul Maiteny ( My work integrates ecology, anthropology and transpersonal psychotherapy informed by, and in the spirit of Abrahamic and other non-dualistic traditions, to shed light on a lifelong desire to understand humans’ cruelty to ourselves and other species, and what our contributory part is within the ecosystemic web. My formal research and publication has focused on what generates learning and meaningfulness that is both ecologically and psycho-spiritually sustaining including, from 1990-2007, in research fellowships at London, Open and Oxford Universities, and as research consultant for the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies. I tutor on qualitative research, transpersonal psychotherapy and ecopsychology at CCPE, Alef Trust, London South Bank University and the Bridge Pastoral Foundation. My work increasingly focuses on understanding how traditional religious language might be telling us about the current human predicament, and our possible evolving role within the ecosystem as persons and species.



Lindy Lydia McMullin, PhD Cand., Greece


Research Models and Methods for Transpersonal Research

Denzin’s Interpretive Internationalism



Currently completing my PhD in Ancient Greek Myth and Music as a tool to developing self, I have been involved in qualitative research and specifically Denzin’s Interpretive Interactionism. I will be presenting an overview of the research method and how it influenced my personal path. Using this particular method, the epiphany is highlighted, and emphasis is given to the interaction between what is being studied and society in general. Denzin’s methodology is primarily concerned with the voice of minority groups, and is an approach that I deemed important to use for my study, which focuses on recreating a sacred space of consciousness that emulates the approach of the ancients (reading a hymn, accompanied by the integrated use of lyre music, preceded by preparatory work), to invite participants into experience and to witness the results that emerge. Limitations of the method will be presented, as well as insights gleaned over the process of analysis.



Lindy Lydia McMullin is core member of the EUROTAS Division for Transpersonal Research, a lifelong learner, educator and researcher. In private practice as a holistic consultant in Athens, Greece, she runs seminars, lectures and is author of A Soul’s Journey, The Essence of a Spiritual Path towards the Transpersonal, published by Archive Publishing. A EUROTAS Certified Transpersonal Psychotherapist and supervisor, she directed the XVI EUROTAS Transpersonal conference in Crete in 2014, and is editor of the EUROTAS newsletter and co-editor of an upcoming publication of articles drawn together from the EUROTAS conference.




Gabriela Mihalache, PhD, USA/Romania


Heuristics as a Transpersonal Research Method



Moustakas (1990), the author of the qualitative heuristic method, does not mention the word “transpersonal” in its description. However, the heuristic methodology, which is primarily a phenomenological method, is particularly suited to explore transpersonal topics.

The heuristic inquiry starts with the attempt to understand an intense personal experience, as lived experience is not usually well understood. The experiential intensity and “the mystery summons me,” Moustakas wrote (p. 13). So a deep search ensues within oneself, in dialogue with others, and by employing transpersonal research skills, to reach deeper and deeper meanings. Often in applied heuristics, the subject and object of inquiry become one. Thus, intrapsychic, interpersonal, and transpersonal processes are all employed in an effort to discover essences of the phenomenon. The researcher becomes participant and participants, co-researchers. Together they co-create not only knowledge but self-discovery and self-development. The presentation will consist of highlighting the following heuristic steps: (a) heuristic processes, such as intuition, focusing, indwelling; ( b) heuristic phases of immersion, incubation, and illumination; (c) differences between heuristics and phenomenology; (d) similarities between heuristics and other transpersonal research methods; and (d) a brief account of a heuristic application in my research on forgiveness (Mihalache, 2012).



Mihalache, G. (2012). The transformational dynamics of becoming forgiving of the seemingly

unforgivable: A qualitative heuristic study. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 14(2), 111-128, DOI:10.1080/19349637.2012.671049

Moustakas, C. (1990).  Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and applications. Newbury         Park, CA: Sage             Publications.



Gabi Mihalache is a former student and former faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. She is currently only advising dissertations at Sofia University, and in addition she is faculty and dissertation advisor in the psychology department at Capella University. Her research interests center on forgiveness research and therapy, transpersonal processes such as spiritual narcissism, spiritual bypass, spiritual materialism, and the state labeled by Buddhists “idiot compassion.” She has also held a long interest in humanistic and positive psychology topics such as post-traumatic growth, wisdom, love, and meaning.




Melanie Oliver, PhD Cand., UK/Switzerland


Research as Ritual



Ritual, known to all human societies, involves a system of activities performed according to set sequences, all of which are synonymous with traditionalism, sacral symbolism, purification, and rites of passage. Research, and its inherent process include ritual-type experiences, where the researcher enters into a sacred space. This sacred space contains the surrender to mystery, to the blurry edges of the known, yet unknown, to the unfolding of the search that exists within. Yielding to subtler levels of being within this space, brings to consciousness aspects of the complex unconscious; the ego in service to the Heart in order to serve those for whom the work is being done. The sacred space of ritual re-envisions and sustains the researcher during periods of inspiration, apparent standstill, incubation, frustration, tension and release. In addition, ritual further contains the experience of grounding the ineffable, the use of language to express something of the transcendent realities encountered, and ultimately the birth of the research itself.

Central questions include: How does the clearing and setting of a sacred space involved in ritual apply in the case of research? How do we engage in ways that access the unconscious? What do we mean by the Heart, and how do we open to these subtler levels?



Melanie Oliver, MA (Dist), Dip Psych. (Switzerland), PhD Cand. (UK)

Psychotherapist and Specialist in Eating Disorders and Body Image

Melanie has worked within the field of eating disorders for over 13 years as an educator and therapist at the Priory Hospital, Roehampton; the Küsnacht Practice in Switzerland, and private practice. She believes in dispelling the myth that there is a ‘miracle cure’ to recovery from eating disorders, as well as the equally inaccurate belief that recovery is impossible.

Melanie’s recent Masters research study into treatment of eating disorders under the recovery model examined The Role of The Heart in recovery, which was accepted to present at the International Eating Disorders Conference in London this year.  Melanie is now furthering her research through a PhD, with a particular area of interest in mutual recognition between existing psychoanalytic theories on eating disorders and the transpersonal.




Magali Ollagnier-Beldame, PhD, France


Integrating the Lived Experience of Subjects: Towards a More Comprehensive Psychology

¾Explicitation Method¾


Psychology mostly studies observable and declarative processes. Yet which roles play pre-reflective experiential processes, whether cognitive, emotional or sensorial? How to access them and study them? We argue for the need of “first-person” epistemology to study subjectivity and inter-subjectivity, following Vermersch (1994/2011), Varela and Shear (1999), and Petitmengin (2006).

Such an approach draws on the experience of the subject and not on what can be observed concerning the subject’s actions (“third-person epistemology”). The explicitation interview is a “second-person” methodology, anchored in a first person epistemology. Explicitation interviews consist in an “assisted introspection” which offers rigorous descriptions of lived experience, allowing us to access the micro-dynamic dimensions of the participants’ experience from inside. It is namely based on Husserlian phenomenology, Piaget’s theory of becoming aware and Gusdorf ‘s “affective memory” theories. It also draws on Rogers, Erickson, Gendlin and the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) contributions.

This contribution will present this approach and its richness for the whole field of psychology. A second TRC contribution will concretely illustrate the explicitation method with interview excerpts.


Magali Ollagnier-Beldame was born in 1976. She holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Lyon in France (2006) and joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research in 2012. As a researcher in the field of human interaction, she is leading a scientific program on intersubjectivity with a psycho-phenomenological approach, using first person interview epistemology and methodology. The main goals of her program are better understanding intersubjectivity “from inside” and exploring the conditions under which an experience can be shared by two persons. She investigates the ways these processes unfold and are co-constructed through interaction, in their affective, cognitive and sensory dimensions. In particular, she is interested in first-time encounters situations (especially between therapists and patients).






Unjyn Park, PhD Cand., UK/South Korea


Intuition in Multi-Cultural, Transpersonal Research


One of the pressing questions faced by intuitive inquiry as it has been developed by Rosemarie Anderson is whether the accentuated level of subjectivity involved in this research method is sufficiently rigorous to warrant the generation of academic knowledge. This paper explores the role of intuition when researching the transpersonal in other cultures. It draws on my experience of employing a combination of intuitive inquiry and narrative analysis while carrying out research on how diverse concepts of spiritual crisis are constructed in the life stories of Tibetan Buddhist refugees. I will clarify differences between the two approaches; describe what elements of research context necessitate combining the two; and illustrate where and when each is applied in analyzing participants’ narratives in order to generate a contextually informed understanding of profound human experience. By so doing, I hope to demonstrate the way in which intuition enables the researcher to penetrate the layers of socially constructed meanings of which narratives are comprised, but which may mask deeper, more highly individualized voices.  Intuition then can enable the researcher to escape the vicious circle of being limited by the dominant cultural framework and imposing it uncritically on participants’ narratives.



Unjyn Park is a PhD candidate at Leeds Beckett University, UK. Previously she lived in Dharamsala, a Tibetan settlement in India where she studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation techniques, and translated literature by a contemporary Christian mystic. Her PhD research centres on giving voice to lived experience of indigenous Buddhists and their individual interaction with Buddhism. Her research draws on Buddhist history and doctrinal studies, contemporary qualitative research methods, and transpersonal theories.





Meili Pinto, PhD, USA/China

Confucius: Self–Observation as Research Method and Means for Transcendence



Recognizing that a lifetime is as though bestowed as a gift for a human to craft the being, Confucius uses himself as “specimen” and self-observation as method to document the experience of ingraining spirit into material existence. In a terse autobiography of 38 characters, he records the progressive stages of symbiosis, and marks the completion of each stage as a milestone in the spirit’s penetration into the personality, the sensation of which he reports as palpable satisfaction.  The observation consciousness tracks the relationship between the self and spirit and serves as discriminating witness to the changing states of the being as it accepts (age 30), accommodates (age 40) and surrenders to (age 50) the transpersonal ground.  Anchoring therein, Confucius’ being now transcends previous filters of reality and of spirit (age 60).  At home at last and at peace with “having no gap between his own desires and those of the universe,” the observer, self and spirit integrated exudes as existential satisfaction (age 70).

Keenly aware of the inner works of psyche, Confucius articulates the function of observation consciousness to illuminate the saturation of spirit in his psyche.  His map of psyche was recorded by his disciple Zengzi in The Great Learning.




Meili Pinto. Born in China of Chinese parents, I have continuously lived abroad and received an exclusively Western education. My ethnicity belied a psyche that was cast in the Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman mold. With this foundation, I was driven by my embarrassing ignorance to apprehend the memes of culture ingrained in me, particularly the Confucian.

I supplemented my undergraduate work in English and Western humanities with graduate studies in the foundations of Eastern wisdom. My post-graduate program in psychology led to a five-year analysis and training by an analyst from the Jung Institute of New York. His guidance, in turn, prepared me for my doctoral dissertation, titled, The Great Learning: Confucius’ Implicit Integral Psychology of Individuation Amplified through Jung and Aurobindo (1998, California Institute of Integral Studies).

This synthesis of my personal dichotomy has turned into a vocation today as I am continually inspired by fresh insights, through hermeneutical reading of the Four Books of the Confucian Canon, into a Confucius that is trans-cultural, whose understanding of psychology can add another world perspective in the field.



Donadrian Rice, PhD, USA


Mixed Methods Exploration of Experiences With a Placebo “God” Helmet



This presentation explores the value of mixed methods for research on exceptional experiences by discussion of a recent research project. The contributing roles of wearing a sham “God helmet”, paranormal belief, prior anomalous experiences, hyperaesthesia, synesthesia, locus of control and time of day on exceptional experiences and state of consciousness were explored. Thirty-two extreme skeptics and 35 believers (30 males and 38 females) completed 3 experimental conditions, a baseline, a morning session (with sham helmet) and a late afternoon session (with sham helmet). Participants relaxed in a shielded chamber for 30 minutes and were encouraged to observe thoughts, feelings, experiences and imagery. Exceptional experiences were explored via the assessment of state of consciousness using the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory and an inductive thematic analysis of transcribed interviews.

Differences between PCI identified states of consciousness within study conditions and between believers and disbelievers and correlations between individual difference measures and PCI variables were calculated.

Sessions were blind coded for the exceptional experiences and chi square used to compare frequencies of experiences. Participants reported a range of exceptional experiences in the absence of neural stimulation.



Donadrian L. Rice is professor and chair of psychology at the University of West Georgia. He is co-editor with (Peter Columbus) of Psychology of the Martial Arts, Alan Watts Here and Now: Contributions to psychology, philosophy, and religion, and forthcoming book in 2017: Alan Watts in the Academy: The academic writings of Alan Watts. He is a former editor of the newsletter of the Transpersonal Psychology Interest Group of the American Psychological Association and has published/presented more than fifty papers on martial arts, dreams, hypnosis, organization development, psychotherapy, and mind-body studies. His writings and reviews appear in numerous journals and edited volumes including Contemporary Psychology; Somatics; The Humanistic Psychologist; Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology: Historical and Biographical Sourcebook (D. Moss, Ed.); and Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy: Guideposts to the Core of Practice (K. J Schneider, Ed.). Holds a PhD from Saybrook Graduate School, received training from R.D Laing at the Philadelphia Association Clinic in London, and is a Licensed Psychotherapist.



Chris Roe, PhD, UK


Making Sense of Spontaneous Experience: The Value of Case Collection and Content Analysis



Although transpersonal experiences (TEs) may result from spiritual practice or other inducements such as fasting or use of psychedelics, for most people they are likely to occur spontaneously and unbidden. Any attempt to make sense of TEs and the effects they have upon the experient therefore needs to be able to take into account such spontaneous experiences.

In this session I will describe some of the analysis methods that can be used with spontaneous case collections that allow them to be interrogated in a way that treats them as more evidential than ‘mere anecdote’, including possibilities for covariate analysis to identify features that co-occur in ways that could inform theory. I will illustrate this with case collection analyses from transpersonal psychology (the Alister Hardy  Religious Experience Research Centre database) and parapsychology (published collection analyses from Louisa Rhine and Sybo Schouten) to show how valuable such approaches can be in providing an empirical foundation for theory.



Chris Roe is Professor of psychology at the University of Northampton. He is the Perrott-Warrick Senior Researcher and Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes at the University of Northampton. He is a President of the Parapsychological Association and Chair of the British Psychological Society Transpersonal Psychology Section. He edits the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. His research interests are around understanding the nature of anomalous experiences and includes research on the phenomenology of paranormal experience, the psychology of paranormal belief and of deception, as well as experimental approaches to test claims for extrasensory perception and psychokinesis, particularly where they involve psychological factors. Recent research has been concerned with unconscious measures of psi and predicting performance using a composite personality measure called ‘lability’.



Kimberley Sheffield, PhD Cand., UK


Outcome Practice as Method



An increase in interest into meditation in a multitude of contexts, has led to numerous programs and interventions being developed. Meditation programs are being seen in different formats including online, through apps, and via email, as well as face-to-face. We know the effects of some more standardized programs, and those which have been developed for research projects, but there are also many existing programs and resources which reflect how individuals choose to engage with meditation outside of research studies, which we know less about.

As such, exploring the outcomes of existing programs as a research method can help gain additional insight into the effects of meditation. This presentation will present some of the benefits and practicalities of this form of research, using an example of an evaluation of an online email based program to support the points raised.



Kimberley Sheffield is a PhD student and Academic Practice Tutor at the University of Northampton. Her research interests are focused around Transpersonal Psychology, specifically contemplative practices and wellbeing. Her PhD is a mixed methods approach to understanding Loving Kindness Meditation, which she is due to submit towards the end of 2016.



Christine Simmonds-Moore, PhD, USA


IPA, Case Studies and Transpersonal Experiences¾An Illustration From a Recent Example Exploring Synesthesia and Exceptional Experiences



Case study designs and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis are considered to be valuable for a deeper understanding of transpersonal experiences. Belz and Fach (2012) have presented a useful organizing framework for exceptional experiences (ExE). Transpersonal forms of ExE currently fall outside of this model.

A 3 dimensional expansion of the model would honor the full spectrum of ExE and enable the development of a family tree of related experiences. A case study is an excellent way to deeply understand ExE and how they inter-relate, by focusing on the rich experiences of an individual. IPA is a valuable method for understanding transpersonal experiences as it explores subjective models of reality, and the meanings and implied meanings associated with experiences. The subjective and contextual worldview of the interpreter herself is also invited. This allows for the contribution of experiential knowledge of the interpreter. IPA also allows for the inclusion of non-verbal in addition to verbal data, which may be more valid for understanding transpersonal ExE. A case study IPA on a participant who experiences strong synesthesia and exceptional experiences is explored.



Christine Simmonds-Moore earned her PhD in psychology from University of Northampton in the UK.  In 2010, she left her native UK for the USA. Christine worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina for a year before moving to Carrollton to join the psychology department at UWG in 2011. At UWG, her classes include the psychology of mind and body, parapsychology, transpersonal psychology and research methods. Her research interests include the study of personality types who are prone to subjective anomalous and paranormal experiences and beliefs; transpersonal experiences; the overlaps between parapsychology and clinical psychology/mental health; cognitive and neurobiological correlates of paranormal experiences (e.g., attention); synesthesia and exceptional experiences and how sleep-related and other altered states of consciousness relate to exceptional experiences.

Christine has worked on a variety of Bial (and other) funded research projects, including anomalous healing, ganzfeld research, virtual reality and ESP, gender role and anomalous experiences and beliefs, mental health, paranormal experiences and cognitive disinhibition, the similarity between subliminal processing and ESP, paranormal belief and disbelief and the perception of signals amid random visual and auditory noise, synesthesia and exceptional experiences and experiences with a placebo God Helmet. She is the editor of “Exceptional Experience and Health: Essays on Mind, body and human potential”, and a co-author of a textbook on Anomalistic Psychology.



Charmaine Marie Sonnex, PhD Cand., UK

RCTs at the TRC?! Randomized Controlled Trials as a Viable Research Method in Transpersonal Psychology



This paper presents research investigating the effects of Neo-Pagan healing spells as a form of distant spiritual healing. A double-blind randomized controlled study was conducted to ascertain if there is evidence of healing effects as a consequence of being treated by experienced Pagan practitioners as they conduct distant healing rituals for specified persons. Various aspects of the design of the study were informed by previously conducted interviews with Neo-Pagan Practitioners. The trial utilized delayed intervention in which participants attend sessions at the University weekly for four weeks.

Participants are randomly assigned to either group A or group B, with group A receiving healing in week one, after the initial session to capture baseline measures and group B receiving healing in week two after the second session. The WHO Quality of Life Scale (WHOQOL) was used as the outcome measure in an attempt to capture the reportedly holistic effect of this intervention.

It is hoped that this research will demonstrate that conventional quantitative methods can be used to effectively research transpersonal topics.



Charmaine Marie Sonnex is a PhD candidate and associate lecturer at the University of Northampton. Her PhD thesis investigates pagan healing spells as a form of distance healing. Her research interests include distance healing, paganism, spirituality, transpersonal psychology, and the psychology of religion.




Marleen de Villiers, PhD, South Africa


The Process of Making Art as a Heuristic for the Practice of Being a Psychotherapist



The study that is being presented: Surrealism In The Story Hour: The Practice Of Being A Psychotherapist Experiencing Art In Therapy, explores how the inner symbolic life of the therapist creates a container which serves the process of psychotherapy.

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate the research methods employed to explore the research question of whether the psychotherapist is a surrealist artist. The Research design employs a confluence of three Qualitative Research Methods. These are Intuitive Inquiry, Arts-Based Research and Narrative Inquiry. The primary data is art and the process of making art, along with the impact of this process on the therapist/researcher and client/participant. The choice of methods is informed by an epistemological congruence which enable an investigation of the ineffable experience of a symbolic life captured in artwork, visual images, transpersonal experiences, and related embodied experiences. In the application of these methods, an interactive dynamic occurs. The research practices begin to inform each other and take on a fractal-identity resembling one another.

These methods are contained within the consciousness of research methods which are meaningful and which provides opportunities for transformation of the researcher/ therapist, as well as the participant/client in the study.



Marleen De Villiers, PhD, is a Psychotherapist in Private Practice in Cape Town, South Africa, where she works with Transpersonal Psychotherapy and arts-based therapy methods. She is an Independent Researcher, with her current research interest being the process of Psychotherapy and the continuous development of the inner life of the Psychotherapist. She also pursues exploration of mindfulness practices for psychotherapists.

Marleen is an artist, making and exhibiting jewelry and creating mandalas for healing and rituals.

Marleen has presented papers at EUROTAS conferences (2014) and at the European Congress of Psychology (Milan 2015) and took part in the first Transpersonal Research Colloquium in Milan (2015). She also exhibited her jewelry at the Transpersonal Festival in Milan (2015).

She is a member of EUROTAS and one of the co-founding members of EDTTF.


Academic, Research and Practice Interests and Specialization:

  • Qualitative Research Methodology.
  • Narrative Inquiry and Arts-based Research Methodology.
  • Transpersonal Research in Psychology.
  • Trauma and dissociation and how to work with these in the 
Psychotherapeutic context.
  • Using visual imagery in therapy as a diagnostic tool, as well as 
to assist in facilitating the psychotherapeutic process.
  • The therapeutic relationship as a tool to facilitate the 
psychotherapeutic process.