What is Integral Psychology?
Integral Psychology—and Integral Psychotherapy, being interrelated fields of inquiry and practice—aim at integrating, healing and deepening our connection with body, emotions, mind, spirit as they present themselves in self, culture, and nature, utilizing a diverse yet profoundly unified set of methods, tools, and practices. The term “Integral” here means “comprehensive,” “holistic,” “wholeness-based.”
The most known version of both Integral Psychology and Integral Psychotherapy nowadays is outlined in the works of Ken Wilber, the founder of Integral Metatheory (such as in his book Integral Psychology as well as various chapters and articles), and his colleagues (see, e.g., Elliott Ingersoll and David Zeitler’s book Integral Psychotherapy: Inside Out/Outside In and Andre Marquis’ book Integral Psychotherapy: A Unifying Approach). This modality is based on what Wilber introduced as the “all quadrants, all levels” approach—or AQAL Integral framework.
Such a comprehensive perspective (AQAL Integral framework) allows activating the full spectrum of human experience and conditions. It offers a panoramic and comprehensive vision of human consciousness, psyche, mind-body connection, and individual as well as collective evolutionary processes.
Thus, the Integral framework (as applied to psychological disciplines, but it can be applied to any other human discipline, from business to ecology, from spirituality to politics) is an overall meta-approach to theoretical and practical psychology and psychotherapy that aspires to integrate within a seamless synthesis Western and Eastern, Northern and Southern psychologies/therapies, including the best of premodern, modern, postmodern, and metamodern approaches—while overcoming their limitations (i.e. it is transcultural and global in its essentially integrative meta-perspective).
Integral Psychology, in this vision, is a metaparadigm of psychology which necessarily takes into account the full spectrum of consciousness, being and activities in their multiple forms as they are present in our life considered in its uttermost fullness. In terms of Wilber’s Integral Metatheory, the complete fullness of our life manifests as the “all quadrants, all levels” (AQAL) matrix, where any given element of this matrix cannot be reduced to another (i.e., the Integral approach operates without reducing everything to just brain chemistry or only consciousness or just social construction and environmental influences and so on).
A striking feature of any genuinely Integral psychology or psychotherapy is its acceptance and profound understanding of the spiritual (or transpersonal) dimensions of human consciousness and reality while being very serious about understanding more common, material and economic aspects of life.
This entry was written for awarenow wiki
Author: Eugene Pustoshkin
Clinical psychologist, Integral scholar-practitioner and consultant, group work facilitator, Integral Awareness Meditation teacher