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Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,273 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The goal of an "integral psychology" is to honor and embrace every legitimate aspect of human consciousness under one roof. This book presents one of the first truly integrative models of consciousness, psychology, and therapy. Drawing on hundreds of sources—Eastern and Western, ancient and modern—Wilber creates a psychological model that includes waves of development, str ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published May 16th 2000 by Shambhala (first published 1999)
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Barnaby Thieme
"The will to a system lacks integrity." - Nietzsche

I would think that a person such as myself would be an ideal audience for Mr. Wilber's ruminations on mind and spirit. Like the Pandit, I have a broad interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the psyche and the spirit. We share a taste for Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, and the emerging discourses of self-organization and systems analysis. Yet for the life of me I cannot understand what this book is supposed to add to our underst
Jan 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wilber always amazes me with his ability to cut right to the heart of so much of modern thinking on particular issues. I know so little about modern psychology that I feel at a loss to rate the job he does in explaining the cardinal works and major interpretations of those works in this book, but most of the information I had prior knowledge of coming into this book he was spot on with. I really like the approach that Wilber takes to philosophy/spirituality/psychology/etc. but am skeptical of th ...more
Ed Smiley
Ken Wilber is in perhaps a good sense a latter day scholastic philosopher. His audacious intent is to attempt a synthesis of scientific rationality, mystical experience postmodernism, and eastern philosophy. The weakness of such synthesis is that, although interesting, it tends to be schematic, and based on meta-writing, rather than experiential test (scientific experiment, meditative practice etc.*) However it brings forward a wealth of ideas and patterns for your consideration.

* Wilber has sci
Ricche Khosasi
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
amazing works!!!
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, integral
Having read several books by Wilber I was really looking forward to finally reading this one (first published in 2000).

Ken Wilber drives me crazy

I find so many of Wilber's books seem to repeat themselves and in the same way. He gives an overview of his basic theory (telling me about quadrants, levels, lines, states, inner/outer...) but rarely fills in the details to a level I would like. For example, in this book I was really hoping to get a better description of what he suggests are the most
The last couple months, I've been talking to my coworkers about this weird author I can't figure out. I tell them, my coworkers, that I can't decide if he's a honest-to-God systems philosopher or a crazy person. Don't get me wrong: I have a special fondness for crackpots (because I worry about how I myself have crackpot tendencies: trying to read graduate level stuff without a grad-degree, drawing diagrams in my little hovel, not on the cognitive level to build up a bibliography like Joseph Tain ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
So this is my second wilber book... but it was exactly like my first wilber book...well, for the most part. THe new thing was the "streams of consciousness" thing that he'd added since "Brief History of Everything." Ok - interesting. But why did I want to read all of the "integral" ideas again? I just felt it was a missed opportunity. with a title like "Integral Psychology", I thought He'd show how to weave together all of the psychological thinkers and their approaches. I guess I'm looking for ...more
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a very exciting book, recontextualising Psychology and exploring formerly taboo-areas like spirituality. From an integral, wholistic perspective it only makes sense that psychology can't be complete without spirituality, but this is still very much taboo. Wilber not only creates a great, easy-to-read overview of developmental psychology but explores its higher dimensions and where we could start to create a completely new view of psychology - one that incorporates our mysterious longing ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of Ken's book are similar, each expanding a bit to one side of the theory or the other. If you don't know his theory and are interested in developmental psychology you should definitely check him out. ...more
T. Sebastian
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Started reading Wilber in '97 and developed a profound respect for his writing. Learned a lot about human development. Integral Psychology is one of his best. His work is heavily researched and cited. This makes for pretty heavy reading. It also broadens your knowledge base giving you lots of other works and writers to look into. Wilber's writing is like watching a huge jigsaw puzzle of concepts being put together. There may be some missing pieces though, that's why he writes the next book. And ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In short, I would give this text a score sliding from 3 to 5.
5 if you have never read any or only a little "Integral Theory"

The book had some interesting ideas and started to unpack some of the treasures of an integral psychology, but a problem I have with so many of Wilbers works is that they generally present something like 5-20% new material.

If that 5-20% new material was 80%, then Id give the text a 5, but because it doesnt seem to be so I personally give it a 3/5.
Nov 25, 2008 is currently reading it
Hope I get past the introduction before my head explodes! Bless my heart, I keep trying to understand Wilbur...
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I nominate Ken Wilber for the greatest thinker of our age. I have read about his work before and decided to read this original work, which, although it is already 20 years old, is still ahead of its time. This is an incredibly wide spanning book, integrating the vast fields of consciousness, science, morality and culture with the phenomenal charts that Wilber is famous for. Wilber has set himself no less a task than orienting us to the full span of premodern wisdom, the revolutions of modernity ...more
Joseph Knecht
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A true attempt to integrate all of human psychology. Wilber investigated many models of the evolution of human psychology and tries to create an integrated model and integrates them all. He looks at inner subjective/objective and outer subjective/objective traits and creates a quadrant that showcases how consciousness can create body, mind, spirit, soul, and Self.

His research is informed by eastern and western sources. Also, he looks at premodern, modern, and postmodern ways of thinking.

Much of
Johnny Danell
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mind-stuff
For how engaging the book was overall I give it four stars. For Wilber's overall effort both with this book and his vision in general I give top top marks! This is a book that is both informative on the history of mainly developmental psychology (a part of psychology that don't get as much credit as it should these days) but also psychology overall. But Wilber then goes further in trying to integrate psychology into his integral framework which is both interesting and probably necesary to take t ...more
Atanas Karadzhov
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
A micro perspective on integral theory vs the more macro approach of A Brief History of Everything. It helped me solidify my understanding of integral theory, while adding a few extra insights.

Next question: how to develop an integral practices? The theory is great, but without practice it is just that a theory. So, to establish that my next reads are One Taste, Spiral Dynamics and the work of Dalai Lama among others.
Jon Terry
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wilber presents an introduction to a pretty comprehensive model of adult mental / emotional / spiritual development. I found this book extremely insightful - the ideas here have really helped me to make sense of this crazy world that we live in.

At times I got lost in the terminology, but for the most part it was plenty accessible.
Noah Skocilich
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really beautiful book that organizes and clarifies so much knowledge from across the breadth of the ‘Great Tradition’.

I feel I understand the overall historical situation of humankind much better for having read this book.
Cássius Carvalho
the information here is very valuable, but the book is poorly organized and repetitive. it's very detailed though. it works better if instead of trying to read it all, you use it as a reference book and make periodic visits to it. ...more
Stephen M. Theriault
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Metaphysical proof that there are hierarchies of Spirit.
Jeremiah Oakes
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book.
Andrew Nelson
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
These reads just keep on coming to me at the right time.
Isaac Montgomery
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many good insights on lines and levels of development. Wilber was the first person to truly understand what was and is happening with human conciousness at the turn of the 21st century. His idea of a "pre/trans fallacy" is absolutely invaluable. ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: meridian, psychology
The big picture has never been so big.

A common refrain in this book is something like "Any psychology which hopes to affect a truly integral approach will need to contain”. Apparently a truly integral approach would contain a huge amount of graphs, charts and footnotes. This book is 75% reference. Ken Wilber has the mental processing capacity of 5 or 6 people— he is clearly a genius. And yet, in describing where the world population falls in regards to the Graves Diagram on page 48, when you add
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Integral Psychology is a must have text that examines the history and most pertinent philosophies of psychology over the years. The book begins with a brief history of psychology. Like every social science, from the beginning psychology has been both criticized and praised for its non-scientific foundation. In this way, early on, theorists searched for an appropriate model of consciousness that could provide some aspect of scientific control. Integral Psychology looks at the various models and p ...more
While clearly an important volume in his works, this book didn't grip me the way some of Wilber's others have. Perhaps this is because I am already familiar with the integral approach and with Ken's models. But even read as a general introduction and description of what an integral psychology would look like, the book too often becomes list after list of other authors and their work.

The fleshing out of the Great Nest of Being idea was useful, as was the explanations of the defining features of M
Michael Paone
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this. All I can say is "Wow." I'm continually overwhelmed by the integral project, and I do believe this type of transmodern thinking is the next paradigm, and a true re-integration of the best of human achievement ancient and modern. We're going to need this paradigm dearly in the days ahead. The first step to solving problems is dispelling confusion and resting on a solid paradigm. But the kicker is this: In order to see from that paradigm, we have look within and do some serious ...more
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Integral Psychology" is one of the most complex books I ever read. The book looks at reality and consciousness through the multilayered, multileveled complex system. The main idea here is a unification or integration of different philosophies, views, types of psychologies under one system. Consciousness is understood in a relation with the environment, culture, inner level of development and many other components. It is a fascinating work that opens new horizons and explains many aspects of min ...more
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: psychology students
This was probably my favorite of the Wilber books I have read. This may be because I read it within the structure of a graduate-level theory course. Wilber's knack for capturing the big picture is on full display in this book. It helped me to wrap my head around two years of study in the field, and challenged me to think beyond the traditional Pscyology theoretical thinking. This is perhaps the most unique treatment of Psychology that I read in my entire two years of a 2-year MSW program. ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books09
This was, hands down, the WORST book on integral psychology I have ever read. WOW. Ken Wilber has a big head and uses these very very very woo-woo terms that circle around any kind of point he is trying to make. Negative points, again, for saying that in the highest point of spiritual evolution we evolve out of religion. and his ranking system seemed really racist as well. I was glad to let this book go!
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Kenneth Earl Wilber II is an American philosopher and writer on transpersonal psychology and his own integral theory, a systematic philosophy which suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience.

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“this regard, a hotly disputed topic is whether the spiritual/transpersonal stages themselves can be conceived as higher levels of cognitive development. The answer, I have suggested, depends on what you mean by “cognitive.” If you mean what most Western psychologists mean—which is a mental conceptual knowledge of exterior objects—then no, higher or spiritual stages are not mental cognition, because they are often supramental, transconceptual, and nonexterior. If by “cognitive” you mean “consciousness in general,” including superconscious states, then much of higher spiritual experience is indeed cognitive.” 1 likes
“Man lives on earth not once, but three times: the first stage of his life is continual sleep; the second, sleeping and waking by turns; the third, waking forever.” 1 likes
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