Transpersonal Psychotherapy with Incarcerated Adolescents

By Himelstein, Sam | Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Transpersonal Psychotherapy with Incarcerated Adolescents


Himelstein, Sam, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology


ABSTRACT: Approaches to individual psychotherapy with incarcerated adolescents often discuss cognitive-behavioral therapy and solution-focused methods. The intention of this article is to promote a transpersonal approach to working with this population and to equip mental health professionals and interns with diverse psychotherapeutic methods that inform sound clinical practice. A transpersonal approach primarily informed by existential and spiritual theories is presented and two case illustrations exemplify the method. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

There is a strong need for diverse approaches for working with incarcerated adolescents in the psychotherapeutic setting. Psychotherapeutic literature on the subject is limited to primarily manualized cognitive-based group interventions (Guerra, Kim, & Boxer, 2008), solution-focused psychotherapy (Corcoran, 1997), motivational interviewing (Ginsburg, Mann, Rotgers, & Weekes, 2002), and multiple system approaches (Schaeffer & Borduin, 2005), most of which maintain empirical support. Despite such literature, interns and new therapists working with incarcerated adolescents are often left without specific instruction in how to properly engage this population in psychotherapy sessions.

This article presents an approach to psychotherapy with juvenile offenders in which the existential issues of life and death, spirituality, and authenticity can be directly explored. First, the transpersonal approach presented is defined given that writings on what principles constitute transpersonal psychology are numerous. Second, a discussion of the primary foundations of this transpersonal approach is presented with the rationale for using it with incarcerated youth.

Third, two case illustrations are presented to exemplify this approach with two different types of clients, one dealing with constant death and the other with identity issues. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

THE CURRENT TRANSPERSONAL APPROACH: AN EXISTENTIAL AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY

The principles of transpersonal psychotherapy are numerous and thus difficult to define. Some authors suggest that the use of spiritual interventions such as meditation and prayer constitute a major foundation of transpersonal psychotherapy (Boorstein, 1996), and others suggest a much more elaborate spiritual framework from which divine inspiration influences therapists' choice of interventions (O'Grady & Richards, 2010). Because of transpersonal psychology's ambiguous and unclear consensus on what foundations actually constitute transpersonal psychotherapy, it is often defined in research and literature by its practitioners' subjective and professional experience of transpersonal theory in action, with this paper being no exception. The approach described herein reflects my personal experience of existential and spiritual psychotherapy, and how they combine for a transpersonal approach to psychotherapy.

The roots of existential psychotherapy can be traced back to the existential philosophy pioneers and thinkers of Soren Kierkegaard, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger. These pioneers established the foundations of existential philosophy and all defined different variations of the existential givens or truths of existence. These givens influence human pathology, suffering, and growth. Such conditions of human nature and paradigms for psychological and spiritual growth are what ultimately informed existential psychotherapy.

Existential psychotherapy was pioneered by a number of extremely influential psychotherapists. Viktor Frankl, the Viennese psychotherapist who survived the concentration camps of the Holocaust, wrote about his quest for meaning through unavoidable suffering and developed Logotherapy (Frankl, 1959). This is a theoretical orientation based in the given that psychological and spiritual well-being are associated with finding meaning in suffering. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Transpersonal Psychotherapy with Incarcerated Adolescents
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.