AWAKENING TO THE TRANSPERSONAL PARADIGM: DISCERNING TRANSCENDENT EXPERIENCES FROM PATHOLOGY

Raisuyah Bhagwan

Abstract


Historically social work has shared a tenuous relationship with religion and spirituality. In an
effort to hold onto its scientific roots, which began with the quest for professionalisation, it
became suspicious of knowledge and experience that could not be fully quantified or rationally
derived. It began to “distrust the language of higher transcendence, mystical connection, intuitive
grasp” (Besthorn, 2001:38). More recently, however, the profession has become more accepting
of spirituality, in the light of evidence that spiritual growth and experiences foster physical and
psychological well-being (Pargament, 1997). Parallel to the acceptance of the spiritual paradigm
is the growing interest in transpersonal social work, which focuses on empowering the client as
well as on spiritual experiences, personal transformation and health (Canda & Furman, 1999;
Cowley, 2001; Cowley & Derezotes, 1994).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15270/43-4-265

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