AQAL [pronunciation: ah-qwal] is a term coined by Ken Wilber, and it stands for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types.” It is a basis of Wilber’s current version of Integral Metatheory and Practice. Wilber’s work has attracted a lot of interest internationally, and practitioners and researchers of this AQAL-based Integral approach can be found on awarenow platform, from different countries of the world.
The basic idea of the AQAL approach can be summarized as follows: Any given modality, if it aims at being truly holistic or comprehensive, must enact or at least take into account all these elements and factors (i.e., the four quadrants, all developmental levels, all developmental lines, all states, all types). Usually, less-than-integral approaches focus only on one or two elements.
All these parameters taken as a whole are also known as “the AQAL matrix.” Simultaneous awareness and enactment of the full AQAL matrix is the essence of Wilber’s Integral vision and is known as Integral Methodological Pluralism.
This Integral—that is, comprehensive, non-reductionistic and wholeness-based—approach can be applied to any human discipline—not just psychology and psychotherapy but also business, economy, politics, ecology, spirituality, etc.
The AQAL matrix (mainly applied to Integral Psychology and Integral Psychotherapy) includes:
• all quadrants (four fundamental dimensions of reality: interior subjective self/consciousness; internal intersubjective culture/relationships; exterior objective brain/organism; exterior inter-objective social systems/environment);
• all levels—or “waves”—of development (pre-rational to rational to trans-rational; pre-conventional to conventional to post-conventional; body to mind to spirit, etc.—see the psychology of Adult Development);
• all developmental lines—or “streams” (multiple intelligences which include cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, spiritual intelligence, somatic intelligence, etc.);
• all states of consciousness and being (the varieties of ordinary and non-ordinary mental states, from gross to subtle to causal to witnessing to non-dual; in terms of brain and physiology it is the dynamism of mind and physiological states);
• all types of personality and events (in terms of human beings it is various typological differences, such as sex, gender, personality type, etc.);
• and self (that is which navigates, grows through and makes sense of all these various factors).
In other words, any truly holistic—or “Integral”—psychology, and any genuinely Integral psychologist or psychotherapist for that matter, must take into account all these quadrants, levels, lines, states, types, and self in their dynamics.
Thus, AQAL-based psychologies and therapies may utilize—and expand—knowledge of classical theories of psychological functioning (such as shadow formation and treatment), vertical adult development, spiritual models of consciousness evolution, embodiment theories and practices (often including subtle/bioenergetic approaches), use of mindfulness meditation and altered states of consciousness as methods of awareness cultivation as well as therapeutic intervention, application of both alternative and biomedical methods of healing (especially when in the context of Integral Medicine), neuroscientific discoveries, and so on.
See also: Integral Psychology, Integral Psychotherapy, Integral Meditation.
This entry was written initially for the awarenow wiki.
Eugene Pustoshkin https://awarenow.io/eugene