Salutary Psychology

People with mental health problems also need spiritual tools to resolve their feelings relating to their fears of death and the future, weariness of everyday life, lack of joy and contentment, lack of strength, unfulfilled desires and doubts about the meaning of life.

Salutary Psychology

Christ is the best psychologist.

He has given man the highest ideal.


God is the greatest doctor.

Healing shall take place in the whole world.

Bruno Gröning

Great myths provide the soul with a space in which it can be reflected and develop. Percival, hero in the legend of the Holy Grail, was faced with the task of asking the right question in order to release the sanctifying power of the Grail. The question is: What do you suffer from, Fisher King, Divine Principle in Man? What do you lack? The deciding factor for the question was the purity of motive: deep compassion for the Other.[1] 

Scientific research is all about questioning and challenging the human mind. The original meaning of scientist (ādi-kavi, Vedic: creator through the word) was to be an enquiring creator in the mental world. Investigation of the soul should be concerned with how it comes into being, how it forms and transforms and unfolds. It was never about observing the isolated and completed. Transformations, transitions, developments,[2] trans-figurations analogous to art [3] provide clues to the “substance of the soul”.

The question of the causes of human suffering has not lost its topicality. But what about the science of psychology in this respect? Does it pose the question in the way modern man needs?

Spiritual theories of human nature

In 20th century Europe, several researchers conceived theories of human nature with a spiritual-philosophical orientation. They regarded the person as being determined by life and spirit, asked about the eternal in the human being [4], spoke of the person as a unity of spirit, soul and body, as an individuality that disposes of itself [5] and considered the situation of the human being as an image of God. Today, there are more efforts to address the spiritual in the human being again and to mobilise the inner spiritual forces.[6] 

Much depends on whether researchers in the 21st century can further deepen the spiritual aspects and include them in basic research. It comprises the view that material manifestations form from a subtle primordial substance and that a spiritual creative evolutionary intention is at work “in the big picture”. The influence of seven cosmic energy currents and the struggle of the soul to give shape to these in a threefold physical-etheric-astral structure has been known for a long time. According to esoteric psychology, the key to the overall psychological problem of the human being emerges from the synopsis of natural and spiritual laws. These two sides of the universe are reflected within the human being and must be taken into consideration to understand the essence of the human being. Psychology then becomes an aid in the development and transformation of consciousness.[7]  

Psychology – a purely natural science?

In 1879 Empirical psychology was established as a natural science, when the first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig, was founded by Wilhelm Wundt. What did we lose in the process? The price was to forget the question facing Percival. The new science concerns externally recognisable human behaviour and statistically recordable psychometric correlations. But is this way of thinking able to exhaust the specifically human, is it able to penetrate to the fundamentals of human existence? It has opted for the worldview of reductionist materialism, although psychology explores further.[8] The human being is not only part of a physically explainable, natural order. The existential dimensions of life, sense, meaningfulness, and spirituality play an essential role in the human psyche. Therefore, for psychology, these should also be epistemologically relevant to the science of the human psyche.[9] 

Various authors have chosen against the recurring (notorious) assertion that psychological phenomena can only be explained from within themselves, from the biological nature of human beings and that this makes philosophical considerations superfluous. In the 20th century, existential philosophy took an anthropological turn, which goes back to Kierkegaard. It addressed the existential question of the individual: Who am I? What is man’s ultimate, essential, irrevocable reality, which can neither be destroyed by death nor by suffering or guilt? [10]

Whoever invokes the Grail’s power – and this happens through inner work – must also be able to bear it.[11] The Parzival legend has not lost its meaning; it concerns the depth of the human soul. Before psychology oriented itself towards natural science, psychological questions included the substantiality, spirituality and possible immortality of the soul. With its rational and metaphysical questioning, psychology identified itself as a sub-field of philosophy.[12]

New psychological disciplines

There are many indications that spirituality and transcendence are becoming familiar topics in 21st century psychology. Current research results show that faith and hope have a definitive and positive influence on the healing perspective of addicts, cancer patients and traumatised people. Based on new psychological disciplines such as Ecopsychology and Artistic Dance Therapy, methods are being developed that enable people to find their lost place in the world again.[13] Integral Psychology explores human abilities such as transrational intuition, transpersonal love, transcendental compassion for all living beings and speaks of the transpersonal self. [14] The field of Psychology of possible Evolution deals with the classical question, the first demand of all ancient schools of psychology: “Know thyself” and the consequent inner growth of the human being.[15] Quantum Psychology is dedicated to the dissolution of an inner-soul system (“false core/false self”) and the realisation that every living being comprises the same substance.[16] Russian psychologists in the Psychology of Consciousness field, under the direction of L.V. Peretrutova in the Academy for Universal Synthesis, have been researching the effect of seven energy currents on the human being for about 40 years.[17] Transpersonal psychology with Psychosynthesis as a dynamic blueprint of the soul life includes methods for developing potentials and resources that are inherent in the human soul.[18]

The question is to what extent current efforts  influence the solutions of social problems. The predominant trend is towards the digital era, human-machine interaction, artificial intelligence, and generally speaking, trust in statements from natural scientists. It is still not acknowledged that the intellectual approach of the natural sciences is one-sided when applied to human beings. This bias can be witnessed in the current attempts of the sciences to cope with the pandemic in a strictly scientific manner.,  This despite the fact that all psychological associations explicitly recommended measures to protect mental health. These are urgently needed as mental health problems have escalated within the population.[19] One can speak of a poverty of soul, which is particularly prevalent in the rich countries, of a “progress”, a progression in a one-sided direction. It has long been known that the surrounding culture of a person plays an essential role in mental illness.[20] The established disregard for a more spiritual humanity, the attacks on spiritual movements and the increasing curtailment of self-responsibility, are a heavy burden to the soul.

New tools are needed

How can the human being escape the unbearable “lightness of being” (Milan Kundera) or the “eternal return of the same” (Friedrich Nietzsche)? It is a question  of “to be or not to be” (Shakespeare). They need tools and spiritual instruments, to work on fears of death and the future, weariness of everyday life, lack of joy and contentment, lack of strength, unfulfilled desires and doubts about the meaning of life. These tools include the memory of an original knowledge and the effort to reawaken it. Hope belongs to it, hope in the miracle of an inner healing power.

The 21st century psychologist and psychotherapist face great demands: Assides attentiveness, respect and professional knowledge, a spiritual-emotional capacity is required that establishes a connection to the metaphysical experiences of the patients. Questions to be answered are: From what divine-spiritual principle is Man suffering? What is lacking? What does the human being need? Psychologically, questions like these contain the salutary longing for the meaning of human life.[21] They arise as self-knowledge, gentleness and understanding in the transpersonal soul space of a patient seeking answers. The spiritual power released in response to the correctly posed question is needed to experience healing. It is inherent in the human being and wants to be recognised.

The salutary power of the spirit

Understanding a human being from a holistic perspective is a demanding, spiritual task – no image exists of man that fully represents the complexity of the human being. It is thus not surprising that different, even controversial, views of the structural make-up of the human being prove to be correct and incomplete. Each may be true, but there are many perspectives from which to view a human being.[22] 

The development of the mature and “true” human soul has a special significance in the hierarchy of things. Through the internal experience, one realises that the soul reaches beyond the realm of death and is thus able to work in new ways in this world. [23] The still undeveloped spiritual-soul “seed” hidden in the heart, crowns an image of man that reaches into this depth. Mention can also be made of the monadic principle (Leibniz), when awakened within the human being, the psychologically completed archetypal, primordial image forces itself into revelation, enabling not only the physical, psychological and soul dimensions, but also the spiritual (noetic) dimension.

Spiritual, soul-spiritual images of man liberate him from an attachment to the limitation of the temporal-spatial. This hinders development and opens access to the eternal, timeless, which encompasses and permeates the content and fullness of time.[24] In some people, something of the spiritual origin of being human suddenly emerges during critical life situations.

The power of the spirit enables man to return to his origin, to the immanent divine source from which he turned away. He experiences how the inner emptiness and meaninglessness evaporate, including all related consequences. The Swiss philosopher of life, Armin Risi, one of the most courageous forward thinkers of our time, gives weight to the existence of psychonoetic, spiritual forces in human beings. These are indispensable for the holistic healing of humanity because of the connectedness in morphogenetic fields. The divine-spiritual power is omnipresent, and holds unlimited healing power as a healing current. Those who open themselves to this power can receive help.[25] 

The science of psychology, which is not yet 150 years old, currently faces the necessity of overcoming the purely materialistic worldview. Original human knowledge is making itself felt again, spiritual insights are spreading, and we need them in the face of increasing psychological crises.

Extensive collaborations in research projects are a hallmark of our times. It is a necessary synergetic networking that can lead to a healing psycho-logic. As a counter-movement against sinking into the materialistic view, striving for the high spiritual ideal of being human and awakening its powers is inevitable. They can unite two scientific paths in psychology: natural science and spiritual science.




[1] Peter Huijs & Miriam Duivenvoorden, Wo der Geist weht, Birnbach 2021, p. 147

[2] Wilhelm Salber, Seelenrevolution, Bonn 1993, p. 112-115

[3] Wilhelm Salber, Kunstpsychologische Behandlung, Köln 1999, p. 21-27

[4] August Vetter, Mitte der Zeit. Die Geschichtlichkeit des Geistes im Licht der Menschwerdung Gottes, 2. Aufl. Freiburg i. Br. / München 1962

[5] Wilhelm Revers, Psyche und Zeit. Das Problem des Zeiterlebens in der Psychologie, Salzburg 1985, p. 147 – 151

[6] Einer der Vorreiter hierzu ist Viktor Frankl, s. zum Beispiel Otmar Wiesmeyr, Hrsg, Sinn und Person: Beiträge zur Logotherapie und Existenzanalyse von Viktor Frankl, Beltz Verlag 2005

[7] Alice Bailey, Esoterische Psychologie, Genf 1990, p.152

[8] Ludwig Binswanger, Einführung in die Probleme der allgemeinen Psychologie

[9] Hofmann & Heise, Spiritualität und spirituelle Krisen, Schattauer Verlag 2016, p.19

[10] Otto Zsok, Hrsg., Viktor Frankl und die Philosophie, Widmung und Würdigung, p. VIII

[11] Peter Huijs & Miriam Duivenvoorden, Wo der Geist weht, Birnbach 2021, p. 147

[12] Lexikon Psychologie, Herder Verlag Freiburg im Breisgau Band 2, p. 706, Band 3, p. 1972, 2017

[13] Yolanda Bertaloso, Ökopsychologie und Künstlerische Tanztherapie – Tanzend verlorene Wurzeln finden, in: Zeitschrift für Musik-, Tanz- und Kunsttherapie 18, Göttingen 2007, p. 115-128

[14] Ken Wilber, Integrale Psychologie, 6. Auflage, Arbor Verlag 2021, p.150

[15] P.D. Ouspensky, Psychologie der möglichen Evolution des Menschen, Neue Erde Verlag, 7. Auflage 2014, p. 48

[16] Wolinsky, Die Essenz der Quantenpsychologie, 2. überarbeitete Auflage. VAK Verlag 2007, p. 13


[18] Roberto Assagoili, Handbuch der Psychosynthese, Zürich 2004, p. 26, 74

[19] Brakemeier u.a., Positionspapier. Die COVID-19-Pandemie als Herausforderung für die psychische Gesundheit, in: Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (2020), 49 (1), p. 1–31

[20] Ludwig Binswanger, Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins, Berlin 1942

[21] Viktor E. Frankl, Der leidende Mensch. Anthropologische Grundlagen der Psychotherapie, Bern 1984, p. 124

[22] Omraam, Die Psyche des Menschen, Rottweil 2012, p. 12

[23] cf. the works of Jan van Rijckenborgh, ed. by Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem

[24] Max Scheler, Vom Ewigen im Menschen, Köln 2015, p. 2

[25] Armin Risi, Ihr seid Lichtwesen, Govinda Verlag 2019, p. 80

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Date: November 16, 2021
Author: Elena Vasenina (Russia)
Photo: sound-space-Paul Henri Degrande auf Pixabay CCO

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