By Orson Peter Carrara

Transpersonal Psychology and the contribution of Joanna de Ângelis

Nelson Tavares (photo), an advertising agent and psychologist from Rio de Janeiro, lives on the Portuguese island of Madeira where he works as a transpersonal psychologist. He is an active member of the local Spiritist Movement, working as a volunteer at the Associação Casa dos Humildes Spiritist Centre, in Lisbon, and at the Funchal Cultural Spiritist Centre, in Madeira. He has produced a course, which he teaches in Madeira, about the work of the Spirit, Joanna de Ângelis, focusing on her book Desperte e Seja Feliz (Wake up and Be Happy), as he explains in the following interview: 

What is transpersonal psychology exactly?

Transpersonal psychology is an assessment of individuals that goes beyond the limits of a single personality, a single body and a single life. It’s an assessment of the man that isn’t constrained to their current personality in this incarnation. Its aim is to allow us to fully understand the self taking into account the fact that we are incarnated Spirits and that we carry with us, from one incarnation into the other, all our tastes, vices and tendencies. And that forms our current self and shapes our current skills, problems and challenges. 

How is it applied in practice by psychologists?

As well as applying the traditional methodologies of each branch of psychology, professionals of this area may also apply (without disregarding the personal beliefs of their patients) the Psychotherapy of Jesus. The studies of Joanna de Ângelis – a psychological approach to the Teachings of Jesus – are not yet known or acknowledged in academic circles. Her studies provide us with realistic and up-to-date options to help us deal with the issues and challenges we face in modern life, helping us to effectively know ourselves better and, as a result of that, being happier. 

Can people who are not professional psychologists learn about it and use it?

I believe so, provided we show willingness to help others with their problems, questions and afflictions. All of us could benefit from taking a wider behavioural approach about ourselves and from looking for tools and strategies that help us achieve that.  

Where does your interest in the work of Joanna de Ângelis come from?

It’s difficult to say… Perhaps it’s because I feel that I find myself in her work, in the way she makes a clear and direct link with the great masters of psychology and because I value her contribution in efforts to understand human beings as whole. And she always wraps up her thoughts with behavioural analyses based on the Teachings of Our Master Jesus and explains how they can help us. In sum, I can see that Joanna draws important points from the scientific studies carried out by psychology and adds to that advice on how to put that into practice in our daily lives, with the Teachings of Jesus.  

What would you highlight from the work of Joanna de Ângelis?

I think the main point is the constant search for self-knowledge, whis is not simply about knowing a bit more about yourself. It’s a first step towards acknowledging our flaws and virtues and the positive and negative aspects of our personality so that we can, from that point on, pursue our inner reform, changing our attitude aiming to achieve, ultimately, what Jesus has taught us. 

How do you assess the contribution to humankind, which is marked by so many conflicts?

I describe her contribution as very profound and up to date. Not only on issues concerning self-knowledge and the proposal of meeting our deeper self, but also on matters that “afflict” humanity as a whole. She has, as a Spiritual author, written whole books and chapters with therapeutic proposals to help us deal with depression, panic syndrome, phobias and other pathologies of the soul. 

From all your memories in that area, is there one that touches your heart in a special manner?

The capacity we have of continuing with our negative tendencies and attitudes that could be overcome if we put in the individual effort. But we remain fixated, incarnation after incarnation, in attachments, addictions and habits that only do harm to ourselves, despite being fully aware of the process. And yet we persist with this convenient apathy, seeking support in the “psychological crutches of life,” which prevent us from moving ahead in the process of development. In sum… it concerns those issues for which we know the right path to follow, but to which we are still attached to of our own choice. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

May we all accept the invitation of Joanna de Ângelis so that we are able to finally wake up and be happy. Because we often live as though we were “sleeping like zombies…” We now have the intellectual capacity to understand the message in a different way, in a more profound and wider manner. That is the message that makes us aware of the responsibility we have in our happiness. That’s when we realise that that message has always been at our disposal, but we couldn’t see it or understand it. As Emmanuel says in the book O Consolador (The Consoler), the main need human beings have in the current incarnation is that of achieving self-knowledge. So let’s make a concerted effort to get to know ourselves a bit more, bit by bit, step by step, so we can finally achieve the real happiness that we have longed for and that has been proposed by our Master Jesus. 



Leonardo Rocha -



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita