Posts Tagged ‘History of Psychology’

Before Freud…

At the Association Transpersonal Psychology conference last weekend I heard a wonderful presentation by Mark Ryan on the work of F.W.H. Meyers, an little known and under appreciated figure in the history of psychology. Meyers was a major influence on both William James and Pierre Janet and laid, according to Ryan, the foundation for what is now known as Transpersonal Psychology.

Ryan proposed the following five seminal contributions of Meyers’ work:

  1. The application of rigorous empirical methods to the study of subjective experience.
  2. The assertion of the reality of spiritual experience and the inadequacy of materialism to address it.
  3. An extensive map of the psyche as a spectrum of consciousness.
  4. A view of the unconscious as an avenue to transcendent experience and higher human potential.
  5. Belief in the evolution of consciousness.

In recent years there has been a rediscovery of Meyers’ work and a deepening appreciation of his contribution to psychology in general, and Transpersonal Psychology specifically. A comprehensive review of his work and integration with current developments in the field can be found in the encyclopedic Irreducible Mind (Kelly et al, 2007). Thanks go to Mark Ryan for presenting this voluminous topic in a clear and accessible manner.

Kelly, E. F., Kelly, E. W., Crabtree, A., Gauld, A., Grosso, M., & Greyson, B. (2007). Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.