I developing of a specialized current of psychotherapy — transpersonal psychooncology.
First, what is psychooncology? It is a field of interdisciplinary study and practice at the intersection of psychology and oncology. This current is concerned with aspects of cancer, that go beyond medical treatment and include lifestyle, psychological and social aspects of illness. The famous international cancer center MD Anderson state: “The psycho-oncologist – a key figure at every stage of the adult cancer patient’s illness”.
What is transpersonal psychotherapy? This current is based on the idea that there is a possibility to use the deep spiritual potential of a person for the healing and recovery of the psyche, as well as for personal and spiritual growth to bring about positive changes in life. During the therapy process, the patient experiences the recognition of his or her anxieties associated with having unfulfilled and unactualised desires, the transformation of the negative consequences of periods of development and childhood, and the healing of psycho-traumatic events and intrapersonal conflicts. This is achieved mainly in altered states of consciousness. The task of the transpersonal approach is not only to help solve deep human problems, but also to release the colossal inner developing and self-healing potential, as well as to teach the patient how to use it.
How does transpersonal psychooncology differ from traditional psychooncology?
Traditional psychooncology concentrates mainly on correcting personal and psychopathological disorders, which arise as a result of disease. Transpersonal psycho-oncology, in contrast, is aimed at the psychotherapy of the true causes of the disease. Its task is to actively involve the mind, subconscious mind and soul of the patient in eliminating the tumor and activating the natural healing resources of the body.
Conventional “biomedicine” is focused only on the illness. Therefore, it overlooks that the body is just one of the components of a person, which depends entirely on the relationship with the surrounding world. Hence, in the origin and history of disease, psycho-spiritual and social components are as important as biological ones. Unfortunately, traditional medicine is currently reduced only to the latter.
Many patients are familiar with the wonderful books by Dr. O. Carl Simonton (with co-authors) – Getting Well Again and The Healing Journey. The approaches and methods outlined by these pioneers of psychooncology have helped thousands of patients improve their health and even become cured. However, few people know that Dr. Simonton can be considered the first transpersonal psychooncologist, because in his program he used a some of traditional shamanic practices. His experience and results has proved the validity and effectiveness of this approach. Finally, it is precisely with shamanic practices from which all modern medicine and psychology originated.
Modern transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy actively explore and use ancient spiritual practices and modern methods of altered state of consciousness. The aim is to reach those deep areas of the subconscious, where it is impossible to get to by traditional psychotherapy — for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy. But, it is in these areas of the psyche are hidden the deepest causes of our misfortunes, which lead to illness.