What is an Integral approach to personal growth and relationships?
An integral approach to personal growth (consciousness) and relationships suggests that there are three essential elements of consideration:” states, stages, and shadow. States of personal growth (consciousness) include the normal states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, and also span the spectrum of spiritual experiences, from gross, to subtle, to causal, to nondual. What all states share is that they are temporary, and for the most part can be accessed, through, meditation, contemplative prayer, mind machines, binaural brainwave entrainment, (or simply by chance), in just about any order. Stages of personal growth (consciousness) range from egocentric, to ethnocentric, to worldcentric, to kosmocentric, and will affect how one interprets and understands various states. Stages are permanent acquisitions of the psyche, they unfold in a developmental order, and the sequence cannot be bypasses. Our shadow elements are those first-person impulses that, for whatever reason, have been dis-owned, and therefore appear as “not self” (“I’m not angry, but my boss sure is,” or “I’m not angry, but I sure am depressed.”). It is healthy to identify these split-off parts and begin to integrate them back into personality.
The great spiritual traditions of the world have developed incredibly skillful tools for eliciting profound states of consciousness (and their corresponding state-stages), but have generally remained ignorant of developmental structure-stages, and have few tools for explicitly dealing with the shadow. A more integral approach in the modern and postmodern world would be certain to include all three of these essential parts of the human experience. Having the right tool for the right situation is essential in the use of skillful means, and Richard Pfeiffer is unique in that he is highly experienced in both psychotherapy and spirituality, so he can make an informed opinion when consulting with patients: i.e.. yes, psychotherapeutic tools might help you in this situation, or no, you’re just getting lost in self-concern—let it go!
Dr. Pfeiffer guides and supports the integration of your mind paying close attention to primitive and evolved brain structure functioning as well as synchronization of the left and right brain hemispheres. He understands the importance of unconditional love and acceptance on both the spiritual and psychotherapy paths. Without that larger perspective, without that love of the whole person just as they are, you can get stuck doing “endless psychotherapy.” But once placed in that context of unconditional acceptance, you can use the same old human “stuff” (guilt, anger, shame, etc) that we all bring to the path as grist for the mill, and fuel for real integral growth and consciousness.
Read a recent published article by Dr. Pfeiffer on
Relationships and the Integral Approach (PDF)
Types of Psychotherapy (PDF)
Relationship Information (PDF)
For more information about the Integral Approach: Integral Institute
Ken Wilber discusses the Integral Approach in New York City
Richard Pfeiffer, M.Div., Ph.D.- Director/Founder of GrowthCentral
Richard Pfeiffer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Psychotherapist, and a nationally Certified Anger Management Specialist-V. His psychological / spiritual training is the foundation for his expertise in helping people work through their core conflicts. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), and a Distinguished Diplomate of the National Anger Management Association (NAMA). An innovator in the development of Issue Focused Individual Psychotherapy and Integral Relationship Therapy, Pfeiffer has provided psychotherapeutic services to individuals and couples for over twenty years. He is the author of eight Real Solution Workbooks and the bestselling Creating Real Relationships. Richard Pfeiffer can be reached at mailto:email@example.com