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PSY3051 : Transpersonal Psychology: Mindfulness and Psychological Well-Being. (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Michael Atkinson
  • Lecturer: Dr Jessica Komes, Dr Patrick Rosenkranz, Dr Tracy Donachie
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims at introducing students to emerging fields of Psychology and their enquiry related to psychological well-being. Furthermore, the course aspires to enhance students’ critical awareness of modern psychological perspectives and interventions that are aimed toward the maintenance and enhancement of psychological well-being, with a particular focus on transpersonal approaches and mindfulness in the form of the 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, which is an internationally recognised evidence-based programme. This is currently offered to all staff and students at the University.

The module will couple lecture materials with practical sessions which entail a strong applied focus. Thus, students will be provided with the opportunity to develop a personal practice of mindfulness (MBSR) for both their own personal development and to deepen an experiential understanding of alternative perspectives on psychological well-being, particularly those that stem from the fields of transpersonal psychology and contemplative traditions that incorporate meditative practices such as mindfulness and yoga-based movement.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       The tradition and intention of meditation and mindfulness: origins and trajectory to modern day
practices, metaphors of human development and where Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction and Yoga fit into

•       The evidence-base for mindfulness meditation and the MBSR programme as well its and application to a
range of contexts.

•       Emphasis on practice: what is a practice and why is practice necessary? Self-Practice versus therapy –
overlaps and distinctions.

•       Classic and transpersonal perspectives on the notion of self, human development and psychological
functions (e.g. perception/cognition).

•       Perspectives on Self/Other: Exploring the qualities of loving-kindness (maitri - Hinduism / metta -
Jainism), Compassion: tenderness and courage. Bodhisattva ideal, Self-Compassion and relationship,
Empathy-focussed therapeutic approaches, Yoga therapy, Social cognition and neuroscience of kindness and

•       Transpersonal psychology and models on growth, trauma and addiction: Psycho-synthetic perspectives on
the source of human spirit, its development and self-actualisation, including the role of psychological
wounding for self-realisation and for transpersonal counselling and psychotherapy.

•       Perspectives on suffering and crises: Psychological disturbances in transpersonal unfoldment.

•       Integration of spiritual practice with daily life: lesson from Zen Buddhism. Living joyfully - living
fully. Embracing all aspects of life.

•       Positive and Humanistic Psychology: theory and applied.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:00Present-in-Person: Formal lecture and interactive sessions
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion42:008:00Present in person: Summative assessment: Student presentations
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00Preparation and completion of assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical82:0016:00Synchronous Online: Structured experiential learning based on formal 8-week MBSR programme
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical14:004:00PIP: Structured experiential learning as a half day retreat based on formal 8-week MBSR programme
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading160:0060:00Self-practice - MBSR programme, reflective reading and writing, engaging with relevant literature
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Present-in-Person: 1 - introduction, 2&3 group work activities and preparation for final assessment
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study145:0045:00Self-directed practice and reflections, revising lecture notes and researching materials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module combines research with an experiential approach to learning. In addition to exploring the theoretical components of Eastern philosophical and spiritual traditions as encapsulated in the field of Transpersonal Psychology and modern secular mindfulness, students will also have the opportunity to partake in an 8-week course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This combination of theory and practice is intended to enhance students’ critical awareness of modern psychological interventions that are aimed toward the enhancement and maintenance of psychological well-being. The introduction of an alternative and emerging field of enquiry will provide a new lens through which modern psychological theory and practice can be critically evaluated.

Students will become acquainted with theory and learn practical skills through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. The workshops are particularly focussed on students developing a personal practice. Lectures, seminars and additional online learning opportunities will aid reflective and collaborative learning. Such interpersonal processes aim to facilitate the acquirement of theoretical and practical knowledge in order to achieve the learning outcomes.

A blended approach will be used to ensure that the course can flex to any changing circumstances. The MBSR programme will be entirely online, bar an optional retreat half or full-day which offers face-to-face contact (given lack of restrictions - otherwise will be run online). Lectures and seminars will be a mix of online (via Canvas) and face-to-face provision.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M80(max 1500 words)
Oral Examination1M20Individual, present in person, dialogue presentation (5 minutes)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There will be two forms of summative assessment for this 20 credit module.

Working towards the in-depth self-experiential and the skills-based module aim, 80% of the overall grade for this module will come from a reflective essay and 20% from an oral presentation . The reflective essay will be based on the analyses and synthesis of the student’s weekly reflections (log submitted as annex to final essay) and self-reported data from completed pre- and post-course scales in order to identify, discuss and evaluate key areas of personal development taking into account relevant literature.

The report will be written in APA style (1500 words, reflective journal as appendix). Two of the lectures/seminars will be held in workshop form for group work activities and preparation for final assessment. The first workshop will be dedicated to the analyses of the self-report measures, writing time, issues about the write up and the marking criteria. Students will work in small groups to exchange ideas and address issues. General issues will also be discussed in the larger group. In between workshops students will exchange reports with approx. 2-3 others to gain peer-reviewed feedback in the second workshop (part of formative assessment). Here, student will work in small groups to give and receive feedback and work on the final draft.

For the five- minute presentation the student will be asked to elaborate and appraise how his/her learning from the module is relevant for future studies and/or a professional practice within the field of psychology or other fields and present an example of a key aspect of learning and how it may apply. This will be in the form of a dialogue rather than a didactic presentation.

These assessment choices assess the students’ understanding of the learning content and evaluates the learning outcomes accordingly. The research report will cover relevant psychological models and their differing perspectives on mental health and psychological ill versus well-being (knowledge outcomes 1-3). The report and the presentation represent an appraisal of one’s capacity to reflect insightfully into psychological processes and the translation of theoretical models into meaningful self-development and other applied contexts (knowledge outcomes 4-6)

Both assessments will require the student to demonstrate an expanded awareness about how individual and group-based experiential learning is applied to and meaningfully recognised for both personal/self-related issues and professional life, including working relationships and/or clinical practice (skill outcomes 1-4). Both assessments will require communication about the understanding and management of complex psychological processes (skill outcomes 5-6).

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

Reading Lists