Visionary Deep Personal Growth

There must be more to life than this ...

The human potential movement

Not all work that may be referred to as 'therapy' is offered primarily as remedy for problems of a psychological nature. This chapter will explore the benefits of work that explicitly espouses the development of awareness as its main goal. Such work, which may specifically eschew the label 'therapy' and its variants on the grounds of inappropriateness, largely owes its existence to the advent of the human potential movement.

In the USA in the 1960s' a 'heady' mix of ingredients combined to form a new movement. The openness to experimentation that existed in California and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the USA at that time provided a conducive environment for the integration of influences from Asia, Britain and continental Europe along with those that were 'home grown'. These included imported eastern religions and mysticism, an interest in consciousness expansion (resulting in part from experimentation with psychedelic drugs), a throng of ideas and practices brought to the USA by people such as Moreno, Reich and Perls who had sought refuge from the attentions of the Nazis in the 1930s, the teachings of British 'mystical expatriates', notably Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts, and the work of American humanistic psychologists Maslow and Sutich and encounter group pioneers Rogers and Schutz. Huxley's 1960 lecture 'Human Potentialities' gave a name to the movement and inspired Richard Price and Michael Murphy to turn the latter's inherited spa property into the first 'growth centre' - Esalen (Lawson, 1988).
The broad range of experiences which may emerge is welcomed, including deeply taumatic ones. The setting is inclusive of such experiences, but not exclusively focused on them
Juliana Brown & Richard Mowbray