Psychology came from two Greek words, psyche which means soul and logos which means study of, so in its literal form psychology should be the study of the soul. There is however a beautiful story behind why the discipline was named after the goddess Psyche. Psyche was a mortal woman who was exceedingly beautiful that even the goddess Aphrodite became jealous of her. To challenge her, Aphrodite sent her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with him, however, Eros was accidentally hit by his own arrow, and thus fell madly in love with Psyche. The two were very much in love and Eros gave Psyche everything that she wished for, on one condition and that was to never look at his face.
Psyche was tempted by her sisters to look at Eros and one night she did, and Eros became so angry that he left her. By this time Psyche had already fallen madly in love with Eros so she went to Aphrodite and begged her to bring Eros back to her. Aphrodite agreed but only if Psyche will be able to surpass all of the challenges that she would give her. Psyche went on to successfully complete all of the challenges and by the end was made into a goddess as she proved that she was selfless and had a good heart. Psychology was named as such since Psyche represented that which is good in humanity, the ability to rise above every challenge and to triumph against one’s limitations and being the best person one could ever be. Whoever coined the term psychology must have had a very positive view of the human spirit, and this embodies what psychology started out to be as a discipline.
The study of psychology flourished in Europe and that belief in the inherent goodness of humanity had always been it overarching team, however, being criticized as unscientific and without empirical basis had made the early psychologists question their beliefs and the objects of their study. As such, when psychology came to America, there was a paradigm shift in the sense that behavior became the focus of the study rather than the internal states, and the human psyche. The behaviorist perspective dominated psychology for the last century and even at present, there is still that overemphasis of behavior rather than the thoughts and feelings of the person. As such, the study of psychology became more focused on what caused problematic behavior, or what affected and influenced a person to behave in certain ways. And since society is more concerned with fixing what is wrong or ailing then psychology also focused more on disorders, maladjustments, psychopathy, abnormal behavior and the like.
The history of psychology is relatively young, but there is no other discipline that is as much controversial and colorful. There are also a number of systems of thought in psychology with its own tenets and methods, and often reflected the philosophies and experiences of the proponents of the theories. More often than not, the different systems of thought developed as a reaction to the existing ones, but all of which have made significant contributions to the discipline of psychology. Nonetheless, each perspective also have their own weaknesses and limitations and which often is strengthened by the new theories and perspectives. At the moment, modern psychology no longer talks about being a behaviorist or a psychoanalyst, but rather in terms of the specializations that one is trained, thus psychologists would refer to themselves as clinical psychologists, social psychologists or health psychologists and many more. As there are different aspects to the human interest, there are also as many sub fields in psychology.
After decades of scientific and empirical discoveries and arguments, psychology now appears to be as diverse as people are, and the need to have a unifying and universal system of thought in psychology have been felt and have started a movement that seeks to celebrate unity and integration. This is the branches of psychology that is slowly gaining momentum and the attention of those who practice and teach psychology. This is called Integral Psychology, as a natural consequence of the integral theory, the spread of the theory have led to the development of a sub-field that advocates the tenets of integral theory to the understanding of the human psyche.
Integral psychology calls for the integration of the different schools of thought in psychology, building on the strengths of each perspective and thus eliminating its weaknesses. The idea is to be able to develop and provide a meta-theory that will be able to effectively explain, understand and predict human behavior, but also a deeper understanding of all that makes us human. Integral psychology aims to explore and understand the experience of consciousness and our fears, dreams, pains, joys, frustrations and triumphs. Integral psychology however is not positive psychology although the two is strongly linked and may have similar perspectives. What makes integral psychology different is that it attempts to bridge the gap between behavior and the psyche, while positive psychology only emphasize the study of what makes us triumph from our present circumstances.
Integral psychology is indeed branches of psychology, it is revolutionary in the sense that it acknowledges that studying the behavior, mind and psyche on its own will never provide a complete understanding of the total person. There is no duality, or singularity in the study of the human being, but rather it acknowledges that all of the three must be considered and studied to gain a deeper understanding of why we do the things that we do and why we feel in certain ways and why we have hope and faith and love. Integral psychology combines the methods of eastern principles with that of the western approaches, such that in the treatment of personality disorders, the integral psychology practitioner would combine the cognitive behavior therapy in behavior modification but also include yoga or meditation into the treatment so that the patient would have more control over his/her illness. There is so much more to discover in integral psychology, now is the time to study it.