Over the summer, we connected with colleagues active in research for social change in the Social Field Research Summer School hosted by the Presencing Institute which facilitates research platforms at the intersection of science, consciousness, and social change. During the event the need to evolve and advocate for sophisticated research methods which can illuminate the deeper dynamics at play in social change became strongly apparent. As colleagues from the Presencing Institute highlight:
“While a considerable body of knowledge has emerged around group, organizational and system change, little of that work addresses the deepest dimension of social change – our collective awareness. Likewise, while we have developed a great deal of understanding about individual change, there remains a relative void in the research methodology for understanding collective experience at its deepest level. We aim to make visible the invisible by developing the methodologies needed to see, articulate and shift the deep structure of social fields. Our explicit emphasis is on research that has immediate, practical application for those working to effect social change.” (Social Field Research Summer School, Berlin)
At Alef Trust we believe that transpersonal research methods can make a valuable contribution to illuminating social field dynamics. Transpersonal methods largely sit within the corpus of qualitative research and thus complement the prevailing reductionist research mind set which is characterised by an objective, outer-oriented, and reductionist stance. In contrast, transpersonal methods invite an inner and participatory orientation, bringing multiple ways of knowing to the fore. Intuition, contemplative practice, creative group processes, embodied and aesthetic engagement expand the researcher’s tool box, providing new pathways to inquiry and enabling a deeper appreciation of collective field phenomena.
Our online distance-learning MSc in ‘Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology’ provides an intellectually-stimulating programme of study which focuses on diverse topics around the nature of consciousness, the dynamics between psyche and soma, the psychology of self and higher states of being, and the psychological basis of spiritual and mystical practices. Our MSc programme is distinctive in valuing experiential approaches to learning and in encouraging students to incorporate insights from the programme into their own life journeys. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, modules exploring integral life practice, transpersonal approaches to research, and a research dissertation focus on the practical application of learning. The MSc programme consists of 180 course credits and most students complete the programme over 3 years, studying part-time. The programme is run entirely online, and it is validated by Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.
Jessica Bockler is an Applied Theatre practitioner and Transpersonal Psychologist with a passionate interest in expressive & ritual arts as a way to soulful living. She has a PhD in Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University. In her research she explored “Theatre as a Transformative Practice”, examining the actor’s craft as a vehicle for (trans)personal growth and development. Jessica is also a Sesame Practitioner, trained in the use of story, drama and movement as a vehicle to work with Soul.
Jessica has extensive experience of creative programme management and multi-modal arts facilitation in community, education and health contexts and she specialises in transpersonal and somatic approaches to creative practice, combining expressive arts work with practices enhancing mindfulness and body awareness. She is the Director of Creative Alternatives, an arts and mental health service which operates in the boroughs of Sefton and St.Helens, Merseyside, UK.
Her research interests include: mental health, mind-body dynamics & somatic psychology, creative conflict resolution, psychology of ritual, Jungian psychology and alchemy.
Jessica’s life and work are further nurtured by her study of the Japanese martial arts Aikido and Iaido with Ezra Shihan at Komyokan Aikido Association.