In the following quote, Roberto Assagioli gives a short definition of Parapsychology, however for a full insight into his views, download the free e-book: Psychosynthesis and Parapsychology.
(Psychology and Human Existence, Roberto Assagioli, 1974, Original Title: Psicologia ed Esistenza Umana, Translated by Jan Kuniholm and Francesco Viglienghi, Assagioli Archive – Florence)
“… I must mention another branch of psychological research, parapsychology. It too has been generally ignored or has run into antagonism from official psychology. This has been due to a number of circumstances, mainly to the fact that research in parapsychological phenomena was originally connected with so-called “spiritualism”, with its emphasis on establishing communications with disembodied entities. …”
“However, recent years have seen developments in a strictly scientific sense. Some universities have supported parapsychology, freed from the problem of survival [i.e. life after death] and focused on the simple examination and interpretation of parapsychological phenomena. One of the main researchers in this field is Dr. Rhine of Duke University in the United States, where for many years he carried out laboratory experiments, which he now carries out independently.”
“Two universities, one in Holland and one in Germany, maintain a chair in parapsychology, occupied by Prof. Tenhaeff and Prof. Bender respectively, while in Russia there has recently been a development of parapsychological research.”
“The field that elicits perhaps the fiercest hostility among most psychologists is that of parapsychology. This can be explained by the fact that a good part of parapsychological phenomena gives rise to strong doubts about the validity of the conceptions to which many scientists are attached and which are part of their mentality. The most disturbing and revolutionary of these phenomena are those concerning bilocation. A large number of people have had and described the experience of being outside the body while in full awareness. Aware of being detached from it, they have seen it, for example, lying on the bed, and they have also moved out of the room. These phenomena and experiences are by no means new; one finds many examples of them in religious writings and in the biographies of saints and mystics. They are well known in the East, where certain yogis claim to be able to leave and re-enter their bodies at will. But they completely undermine the principle — one might call it a dogma — to which even today’s avant-garde psychologists adhere: indivisible psycho-physical unity.
It would be useful at this point to discuss the relationships and differences between higher, or transpersonal, psychology and parapsychology. Many people who have special sensitivities or who experience paranormal phenomena, such as telepathy and premonitions, regard them as faculties of a higher order, the possession of which justifies a certain vanity and sense of superiority over those who do not have them. They are, however, guilty of an error due to a lack of understanding of the overall parapsychological phenomenology. Indeed, it has been established that paranormal psychic activity can manifest itself in individuals who are not only no more mentally or spiritually developed than others, but who are even intellectually or morally subnormal. But that is not all. Parapsychological sensitivity has been shown to exist in animals as well. Therefore, this self-delusion, this sense of superiority on the part of many mediums and psychics, has no justification. Parapsychological sensitivity is independent of all intellectual, moral and spiritual development.
Another cause of opposition to transpersonal psychology is the individual and collective hostility towards what is “superior” — towards those beings who are at a more advanced evolutionary and psycho-spiritual level than normal people. This is easily explained by the fact that the recognition of the superiority of other beings arouses feelings of inferiority and wounds to one’s pride, vanity and conceit. Thus, even outside the sphere of psychology, many intellectuals of the so-called contemporary culture tenaciously devote themselves to the pleasant task of demolishing the reputations of the best among them, emphasizing their weaknesses and even vices. In this way they hope to bring them back to an ordinary level, ignoring the fact that the presence of these inferior aspects has no bearing on their possession of higher qualities, as this phenomenon is part of the multiplicity and complexity of human nature.”
 Such phenomena are currently referred to as “out-of-body” experiences or OBE’s. —Tr.
 Tenhaeff, Wilhelm Heinrich Carl(1894–1981), Professor of Parapsychology and Director of the Parapsychology Institute, State University of Utrecht, Netherlands. — Tr.
 Hans Bender (1907– 1991), responsible for establishing the parapsychological institute Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Freiburg.« Back to Glossary Index