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Cross-Cultural Considerations

It is perhaps safe to say that transpersonal theory is one of the most multiculturally mindful and aware of all the major counseling theories. Transpersonal theory has been influenced at least as much by Asian and indigenous spiritual systems as by Western and European psychological and philosophical traditions (Davis, 2000; Tirado, 2008). Furthermore, it has strong connections to the meditative traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, shamanic traditions, esoteric and Gnostic European systems such as alchemy and Celtic mysticism, indigenous African wisdom, and Native American spirituality (Davis, 2000). From its very origins, as well as its growth through the work of such theorists as Wilber (2000), Grof and Grof (1989), and Lukoff (1996), transpersonal psychology has been strongly multicultural and can only continue to be so.

Perhaps the most multicultural aspect of transpersonal theory is that it values the deepening and connectedness of all human experience through the veins of many cultural traditions. It actively seeks out and integrates insights on human nature and healing from a wide variety of cultures and recognizes the role of the cultural context in the experience of individuals and groups (Davis, 2000; Tirado, 2008). Wilber's (1997) transpersonal work across myriad cultures has further served to bring many of these cultures into the fold by describing the same transpersonal experiences through the lens of different cultural tenets (i.e., shamanistic power animals and Christian angelic figures both describe visions in the subtle state). Transpersonal counseling can only broaden the perspective of its followers by requiring them to challenge one's culturally defined views of mental health and psychotherapy and to draw cross-cultural insights into counseling (Davis, 2000).

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