Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Developmental psychology, Maturation (Psychology), Constructivism (Psychology), Transpersonal psychology, Adulthood-Psychological aspects, Worldview, Transformation, Prosocial, Developmental, Transpersonal


This theoretical study is fundamentally about change and growth. It explores shifts in worldview that facilitate greater openness and compassion in relating to oneself and others. The focus, intentionally broad, explores the mechanism and phenomenology of such shifts. Shifts of worldview tend to fall into two major categories involving insight into oneself or relationship to others and shifts related to spiritual or mystical experience. Constructivist developmental theory and transpersonal psychology offer perspectives which frame shifts in worldview and provide a prosocial trajectory. The literature around shifts of consciousness and turning points in find that there are often times challenges that proceed significant change, however the theoretical perspectives of Robert Kegan's constructivist developmental theory and transpersonal psychology often find that challenges persist and follow shifts as well. Growth is shown to often involve moving through difficult mental and emotional states. With this understanding, support can be offered in a nonpathologizing manner to those who are undergoing positive transformations, which may appear to be disorganizing. Theories were applied to a case example based on the autobiography of Paul Rezendes, The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings (1998). Constructivist developmental theory as well as transpersonal theory each offers a unique perspective, yet many aspects overlap. Development into adulthood is shown to ultimately move beyond limited self-concepts and result in a wider more encompassing orientation and awareness.




iv, 165 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 147-165)

Limited Access until August 2017