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Sofia University (California)

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Sofia University
Former names
California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
MottoTransformative Transpersonal Education Since 1975
TypePrivate for-profit university
PresidentCarol Humphreys
ProvostNami Kim
Location, ,
United States

37°25′51″N 122°06′33″W / 37.43075°N 122.10930°W / 37.43075; -122.10930

Sofia University is a private for-profit university with two campuses in California, one in Costa Mesa and the other in Palo Alto. It was originally founded as the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology by Robert Frager and James Fadiman in 1975.[1][2][3][4]



California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (1975–1986)


The institution was originally known as the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, one of several transpersonally-oriented institutions formed in the 1970s.[5][6] The founders, Robert Frager and James Fadiman, wanted to offer the perspectives of transpersonal psychology alongside personal, therapeutic and spiritual disciplines, all within a community context.[1]

In 1980, Jungian analyst June Singer became the director of the clinical training program.[7] By the mid 1980s, the school was located in Menlo Park and offered a master's degree and doctoral degree in transpersonal psychology.[8]

Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (1986–2012)


In 1986, the institution was renamed the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.[1]

By 1989, the institute had grown to offer a range of residential masters and doctoral programs, as well as external masters and certificate programs. It also oversaw the activities of a Transpersonal Counseling Center and hosted the Spiritual Emergence Network.[1]

In 1992, the institute was granted candidacy by WASC.[9] During the same year, William G. Braud and Rosemarie Anderson joined the core faculty at the institution.[10] Braud later served as research director at the institute, as well as co-director of the institute's William James Center for Consciousness Studies.[11]

In 1997, the institute was given initial accreditation by WASC.[9] In 1998, Braud and Anderson released the book Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences: Honoring Human Experience, which sought to establish the field of transpersonal (or transformative) research methods.[12]

In 2002, it was reported that 410 students were enrolled in the fall semester at the institute, which included students enrolled in the institute's online program. At this time, the institute offered programs in psychology and counseling, with an emphasis on both traditional and non-traditional psychological and spiritual models of instruction.[13] Other certificate programs were also gradually established, such as the certificate in Spiritual Direction. The WASC accreditation was reaffirmed in 2007[9] and in 2011 Neal King was appointed president of the institute.[14][15]

Other academic profiles that were connected to the institute include Kari Hennigan, who conducted studies in ecopsychology,[16] and Fred Luskin, who was professor of clinical psychology.[17]

Sofia University (2012–present)


In 2012, the institution was officially renamed Sofia University [18][4][9] and transitioned from an institute to a university, offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. Academic programs were structured according to three main orientations:

  • the Graduate School of Transpersonal Studies
  • the Graduate School of Clinical & Spiritual Psychology
  • the School of Undergraduate Studies.[14]

By this time, the institution was associated with the concept of spiritual psychology in the mainstream press.[19]Note a

In 2013, the school had 526 full-time-equivalent students.[14] Liz Li was appointed president in 2014, and became the first female president of the institution.[15] Her successor was Barry Ryan.[citation needed]

As of 2015, the university was reaccredited for an additional seven years by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.[20][9] Peter Bemski became president in January 2018.[21]



The university consists of three schools: the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, the Institute of Applied and Professional Programs, and Global College .[22][9]

The school has expanded to include studies in:


a.^ New York Times' correction as of August 17, 2012, states that the original article (Otterman, 2012), in some editions, misidentified Sofia University/Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto (California) with the Institute for Transpersonal Studies in Santa Cruz (California).[23]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Judy, Dwight H. & Schmitt, Robert. "Graduate programs: The institute of transpersonal psychology". The Humanistic Psychologist, Volume 17, 1989, Issue 3, Pages 294–297
  2. ^ Friedmann & Hartelius (Editors). (2015) "The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Transpersonal Psychology". John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  3. ^ PR Newswire Staff. Men's Wearhouse Founder George Zimmer to Receive Honorary Doctorate From the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. PR Newswire [New York] May 8, 2003: 1.
  4. ^ a b Sato, K. Sofia University Announces Inauguration of First President, Neal King Ph.D. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) September 18, 2012
  5. ^ Chinen, Allan B. "The Emergence of Transpersonal Psychiatry", in Scotton, Bruce W., Chinen, Allan B. and Battista, John R., Eds. (1996) Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology. New York: Basic Books.
  6. ^ Taylor, Eugene (1992) "Transpersonal Psychology: Its Several Virtues". The Humanistic Psychologist, Vol. 20, Nos. 2 and 3, pp. 285–300
  7. ^ Seligman, K.(February 6, 2004) Dr. June Singer – Jungian analyst, prolific author. San Francisco Chronicle, www.sfgate.com, retrieved December 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Valle, Ronald S. & Harari, Carmi. "Current developments in...Transpersonal Psychology". The Humanistic Psychologist 11, Vol. 13, NO. 1, Winter 1985
  9. ^ a b c d e f WASC Team Report. "Report to Sofia University of the Special Visit Site Team", December 16, 2016
  10. ^ Anderson, R. (2018). Toward a sacred science—Reflecting forward. The Humanistic Psychologist, 46(1), 1–5. https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hum0000079
  11. ^ Radin, Dean; Rae, Colleen; Hyman, Ray. "Is There a Sixth Sense?" Psychology Today, July 1, 2000
  12. ^ Braud, William and Anderson, Rosemary (1998). Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences – Honoring Human Experience. SAGE Publications, Inc
  13. ^ "Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Becomes Sofia University; New Name Brings Broader Mission, Expanded Campus and New Programs" (Press release). Palo Alto, CA. July 16, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012 – via PRWEB.
  14. ^ a b c Kenrick, Chris. Questions follow surprise resignation of Sofia University head. Palo Alto Online, uploaded December 18, 2013
  15. ^ a b c Kadvany, Elena. With new president and programs, Sofia University enters new era. Palo Alto Online/Palo Alto Weekly. Uploaded: Sat, April 25, 2015
  16. ^ Schreiber, K. "Outside In: Get Her to the Green". Psychology Today, published March 15, 2011
  17. ^ Personalities. American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology, June 2013, Vol 44, No. 6.
  18. ^ Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Becomes Sofia University. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) July 16, 2012
  19. ^ Otterman, Sharon. "Merging Spirituality and Clinical Psychology at Columbia". New York Times, August 9, 2012
  20. ^ "Accreditation – Sofia University". Sofia.edu. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Sofia University Press Release. Dr. Peter Bemski Appointed as New President. Sofia University Enters New Stage of Development. www.sofia.edu 2. jan. 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  22. ^ "Sofia University » One University – 4 Schools of Learning". Sofia.edu. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "Corrections: August 17, 2012: New York". The New York Times. August 17, 2012. Archived from the original on August 23, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)