Integral Transpersonal Psychiatry
Integral Transpersonal Psychiatry allows for a humanistic, transcendent and holistic view of people.
The basis of the theory is seeing patients not just in terms of their symptoms or dysfunctional aspects, but instead in terms of their potential and internal resources that they do not even are aware that they possess.
I firmly believe that within a human being there is nothing wrong "per se". There are just un-evolved, small aspects of dysfunction or misinformation within each person. If one can accept them compassionately, these aspects can be modified and functionally integrated.
I invite the patient to expand their self-awareness, using self-observation in the here and now, to realize their own behavior patterns thus connecting with their true core structure.
In order to do this, one must first become aware of the mandates and conditionings that govern one´s being from the moment of birth.
What is this conditioning?
When you see a newborn baby she feels as close to perfection as a human being can ever be.
All potentialities are within the child. Yet when environment and parents take the baby in their arms for the first time, they do so not only with all their love but also with all of their values, beliefs, and unsatisfied desires. The baby absorbs it all but especially the unresolved conflicts with which the parents identify. This begins to shape the baby in a “personal” way. The parent’s teach the baby with their "shoulds" and "oughts" and when they say, "This is you", of course, the baby believes it.
As the baby grows, becoming a child, an adult and finally an elder the person believes everything his parents, teachers, family and society said was his true persona or his true self. This belief makes it impossible to change. The person still does not realize that what he knows is true about himself is only a biased point of view that was learned. Of course, the person acted according to that belief and confirmed every day, in every act, every thought the false personality. Suffering emerges, as the person continuously stumbles on the same stones, not wanting to make a mistake and at the same time, never learning to act differently. From this interplay, what we call symptomatology arises.
As we are all born with a great need for love and acceptance from our parents, we incorporate these mandates as our own (we identify with them) coming to believe that we really are what we were told.
In this process we exile the essential aspects that do belong to us, covering up in the shadows of our consciousness the immense potential with which we were born.
Over the years, we no longer need outside punishment if we respond differently than expected because we become our own self-censors and self-punishing automatic machines.
We quarrel with those parts of ourselves that do not conform to the ideal of what we want to be (or what we think others want us to be) and end up self-mutilating, sometimes physically or most of the time psychologically. This produces symptoms and pain that accompanies our lives, creating signs that show us that there are things in our life that we can not handle. Symptoms of the most diverse order: fear, anguish, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, eating disorders, psychosomatic symptoms, stress, etc.
How can we break this sickening circle?
Transpersonal Psychology shows us that the only way is to develop what is called the Witness Consciousness Of the Essential Self.
We progress by expanding our consciousness through self-observation in the here and now.
Understanding the past that created us but acting in the present to modify the automatic responses which were acquired.
We need to become able to restrict without criticizing, without judging, and learn something we were never taught: to accept ourselves compassionately for who we are and what we truly are.
This does not mean being self-patronizing, or having self-pity.
It means accepting gently and lovingly, even those things we do not like about ourselves.
With new ways of seeing things, we can achieve true self-acceptance, thus taking the first essential step to change.
Quantum physics has amply demonstrated how the observer changes the observed reality.
Therefore, facts we least want to observe in ourselves when consciously accepted, become transformed.
When this occurs, we have in our hands a basic tool to build our life: the power of choice.
We can choose - at any time - to return and repeat the past that hurts us, or conversely, shift by looking within for more creative outlets of expression and behavior. A new strength emerges when we realize that we can respond differently and discover that disease is to choose what is not good for us.
So the ultimate meaning of the therapist is to accompany the person on this wonderful journey of self-discovery. To provide the necessary tools to have better links with one´s self and with the environment. To use wisely the power of choice so as to initiate contact with one´s true spirituality which then translates into a meaningful life, existentially helpful, always tending towards self-realization.
Carlos Warter, M.D., PhD