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With statements such as Shah’s comments upon Sufism’s psychological sophistication, it is clear why this tradition, like Buddhism, is seen by some as being a philosophical/psychological approach to selfrealization and not a religion. Moreover, viewed in this light Sufism Definitions: History of Transpersonal Psychology 25 could be seen as fitting in with Wilber’s definition of transpersonal psychology as starting with psychiatry and ending with mysticism, which I quoted earlier. Shah is not the only thinker from the Sufi perspective whose work is pertinent to this study.
The Buddha may well have been the original psychoanalyst, or, at least the first to use the mode of analytic inquiry that Freud was later to codify and develop. (p. 9) However, through my own understanding of both depth psychology and Buddhist teaching I recognize that Epstein’s views could be misconstrued by thinkers who observe human nature from a predominantly psychodynamic or orthodox analytical stance, for from the stance of 22 Transpersonal in Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling Buddhist psychology the building of ego strength plays a minor role.
Spiritual counselling’ has its own rich tradition and can be grouped into three distinct categories: • Spiritual direction, which is concerned with helping an individual work with the challenges that a pre-formulated relationship with God engenders. Within the Christian tradition it is common for laypersons to take this role after receiving training. Spiritual direction has a long lineage in the West: for example, Ignation Spiritual Direction is based upon the teachings and life experience of St Ignatius of Loyola.