Pioneers of Transpersonal Psychology Transpersonal Psychology Pioneers

Frances Vaughan


I chose Frances Vaughan as one of the pioneers of transpersonal psychology for a number of reasons. Initially, I did not recognize her name. However, as I did a preliminary scan of websites, I realized she had co-edited a familiar set of books on the Course of Miracles (1995). I confess I was also attracted by the fact that Vaughan was a woman. Lastly, her interests and writings span a number of topics, such as intuition and different ways of knowing, which are of interest to me. In her own website, she writes about spiritual intelligence as an extension of the concept of emotional intelligence. It žcalls for multiple ways of knowing and for the integration of the inner life of mind and spirit with the outer life of work in the worldÓ (Vaughan, n.d.).

Although Vaughan is frequently cited as a founder in the field of transpersonal psychology, information about her life was reasonably difficult to obtain and fairly abbreviated. She is a graduate of Stanford, and holds a doctorate in clinical psychology. She practices in Mill Valley, CA. and is, or has been, active with a number of institutions supporting transpersonal psychology, teaching and research. She is the author  and co-editor of professional and popular books, papers and articles on transpersonal psychology and spirituality (Biography, n.d.; Scotten, Chinen, & Battista, 1996).  As her writings clearly show, Vaughan has a background in a number of spiritual traditions, both Eastern and Western, and is a long time meditator (Francis Vaughan, n.d.). Her article with Walsh (1993) on the Art of Transcendence is a vast synthesis of commonalities of the spiritual journal across disciplines and religions.        

Vaughan was an editor of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and on the faculty of the Institute of Transpersonal psychology when it was founded. Vaughan was also President of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and the Association for Humanistic Psychology (Biography, n.d.).

Vaughan is a trustee of the Fetzer Institute, a foundation supporting programs and research in areas encompassing transpersonal psychology. She is also associated with the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) as a member of their advisory board of distinguished professionals, the Council of Sages (Sage, 2001). CIIS awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1999. Vaughan was formerly part of the clinical faculty at the University of California Medical School at Irvine.

Writings and Related Websites

     This website provides ordering information for Frances Vaughan videos. It also provides detailed information about the content of each video.  For instance, under Shadows of the Sacred, the description includes this comment on her work:

Frances Vaughan suggests that the most difficult illusion to remove is the illusion that we have no illusions. She notes that to see clearly, without illusions, requires that we have a comprehensive grasp of the whole picture. At any given moment, we see things in the context of our own stage of development.

     The other two films sold at this site are Spirituality and Psychology, and Awakening Intuition.

Vaughan, F.(1979). Awakening Intuition. New York:


Vaughn, F.(1986). The Inward Arc: Healing and Wholeness in

Psychotherapy and Spirituality.  Boston: New Science


Vaughan, F.(1995). Shadows of the Sacred: Seeing Through

Spiritual Illusions. Wheaton, IL: Quest.

Vaughan, F. (1991). Spiritual issues in psychotherapy.

Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 23, 2, 105-119.

Vaughan, F. (1982). The transpersonal perspective: A

personal overview. Journal of Transpersonal


Vaughan, F. and Walsh, R., Eds.(1995). Gifts from a Course

            in Miracles. New York: Tarcher/Putnam.

Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1993). The art of transcendence:

An introduction to common elements of transpersonal

practices. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 25(1),


Walsh, R. and Vaughan, F., Eds.(1980). Beyond Ego:

Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology. New York:


Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1992). Lucid dreaming: Some

transpersonal implications. Journal of Transpersonal

Psychology, 24(2), 193-200.

Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1993a). On transpersonal

definitions. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology,

25(2), 199-207.

Walsh, R. & Vaughan, F. (1993b). Paths Beyond Ego: The

Transpersonal Vision. Los Angeles: Tarcher/Perigee.

Related Websites

This is an article by Vaughan on psychedelics. Erowid is an online library about psychoactive plants and chemicals.

This is part of a transcript from the TV series called Thinking Allowed in which Vaughan is interviewed in 1998. The topic is intuition.

This is a site for ordering a conference presentation called Healing and Empowerment: A Cross-Cultural Perspective by Vaughan.

This search inside of Naraopa University Center for Engaged Spirituality gives the reader a list of Vaughan influenced courses as well as Vaughan books used in the university.

If you speak German, this is the clearest short biography of Vaughan.


Biography. (n.d.) Retrieved on October 22, 2003 from

Frances Vaughan, Ph.D. (n.d.). Retrieved on October 22,

2003 from

22, 2003 from

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