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Transpersonal Psychology: Career Options, Job Duties and Training

Jun 12, 2021

A career in transpersonal psychology can involve working as a recreational therapist, a mental health counselor, or a life coach. The emphasis of transpersonal psychology is on personal, spiritual and emotional development.

Essential Information

Transpersonal psychology is a branch of psychology focused on expanding human consciousness and integrating traditional psychology with spiritual and holistic living. Individuals who complete a master's or doctoral degree program in transpersonal psychology can apply their skills and knowledge in a number of careers.

Career Titles Recreational Therapist Mental Health Counselor Life Coach
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree or higher in recreational therapy or a related discipline Master's degree and state licensure Accredited coach training program
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 8% 25% 13% (for counselors, all other)
Median Annual Salary $47,710 (May 2020)* $47,660 (May 2020)* $49,898 (May 2021)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Career Options

Transpersonal psychology focuses on combining research obtained through multiple disciplines to better understand human consciousness and experience, as well as to help individuals develop spiritually, emotionally and personally. This knowledge can provide a foundation for careers in teaching, counseling, public service, healthcare and business. Specifically, graduates of transpersonal psychology programs might pursue careers as business consultants, entrepreneurs, recreational therapists, licensed mental health counselors or life coaches.

Recreational Therapist

These individuals create and develop treatment programs for the ill, injured and disabled. While recreational therapists use several therapeutic modalities, they often utilize arts and crafts projects and programs as a way of improving the emotional wellbeing of their patients.

In May 2020, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $79,250 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $31,450 or less per year. Employment was expected to expand much faster than average between 2019 and 2029, per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors treat emotional and mental conditions and disorders. They form diagnoses and guide their clients in making life decisions. Most states require that mental health counselors be licensed, which typically requires a minimum of a master's degree and supervised work as a clinician.

In May 2020, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $78,700 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $31,450 or less per year. The field was expected to grow much faster than national average between 2019 and 2029.

Life Coach

Life coaches help clients create plans to reach their life goals, while at the same time boosting clients' self-awareness and confidence. This involves guiding clients in practices that challenge their perspective and cause them to reflect on their current situation. Prospective life coaches often receive their training through a program accredited by the International Coach Federation.

The BLS doesn't have job outlook data specific to life coaches, but the related category of counselors, all other, was projected to see a rise in growth from 2019-2029. In 2021, PayScale.com reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $119,000 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $33,000 or less per year.

Job Duties

Although specific duties depend on the career, individuals who study transpersonal psychology often seek jobs that involve applying their knowledge and training to assist people in understanding their lives, perceptions and experiences. For example, a counselor with a background in transpersonal psychology might listen to patients discuss personal difficulties, then assist them with solving problems by incorporating meditation, dream work and spiritual development into sessions. Teachers and health care workers can employ analytic thinking abilities when evaluating statistical data and use research methods when performing psychological experiments and writing scholarly articles.

Training

Although uncommon, master's and doctoral programs in transpersonal psychology are available at select colleges and universities. Because the term 'transpersonal psychology' is loosely defined, required coursework can vary among educational institutions. Master's programs might include courses in human development, eco-psychology, Gestalt psychology, counseling, consciousness studies, meditation and research methods. Ph.D. programs generally require that students select a particular area of transpersonal psychology and conduct scholarly research that adds to the field.

The specific job requirements for a career in transpersonal psychology vary, depending on what field of work is pursued. Recreational therapists need a bachelor's degree, while mental health counselors need a master's degree and state license. Life coaches need to complete an accredited coach training program.

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