Teaching Indian Psychology at IPI
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IPI has offered courses in Indian Psychology for academics and professionals working in the field of Psychology since 2007. The aim of these courses is to provide an introduction to a new approach to psychology that is based on yoga and the consciousness-centred Indian philosophical tradition. The courses look from an Indian perspective at major themes in Psychology such as consciousness, ways of knowing, motivation, relationships, pain and suffering, as well as at the yoga-based processes for change and inner development that form the core of the professional applications of Indian psychology.
IPI's courses are based on the work of Sri Aurobindo who made a comprehensive, psychology-friendly synthesis of the various yoga traditions. Sri Aurobindo's work stands out by the depth of his personal experience, the intellectual rigour with which he dealt with his subject, and by his theory of an ongoing evolution of consciousness, which provides an inspiring vision of the future and the deeper meaning of life.
Recognising that one's outer and inner nature can be used as professional tools to know oneself and others, and realising that an evolving soul with a unique svabhava and svadharma is the centre of one's personality, are core elements around which the courses are built.
Over the years, there have been courses of different duration:
- Between 2007 and 2014, IPI organised Short Introductory Courses in Indian Psychology.
- In 2012, IPI conducted a full-time 6-week Summer school Indian Psychology in Pondicherry.
- In 2015, IPI held a full-time Two Semester Course Indian Psychology, also in Pondicherry.
- In between, a number of short custom-designed courses were given for NGOs, Research Institutions, University classes, etc.
The Short Introductory Courses consist of two parts. The first is an 8-day intensive workshop held at Pondicherry in May or June, which is then followed by 2 to 6 weekends spread over the following 6 months. The weekends are an essential part of the course. So far they have been organised in Pondicherry and Delhi. They do not only reinforce and work out in more detail what has been learnt during the 8 days, but they help with its integration in the daily life and work of the participants.
A typical working day has about 3 hours in the morning and two and a half in the afternoon (plus a considerable amount of homework).
The Short Introductory Courses generally have in the morning two lectures and in the afternoon one more lecture plus a group-activity. The latter is meant to bring the participants closer together and to increase their personal involvement.
The longer courses generally have only one extended lecture during the morning and another one in the afternoon. Each lecture is followed by ample time for reflection, note taking and diary writing. Each week has five such sessions devoted to Integral Indian Psychology, and one each to 1) the Rig Veda, 2) the Upanishads and the Gita, and 3) Patanjali's Yogasutras. The Friday afternoon is generally used for evaluation, feedback, and a variety of group activities.
An important part of both short and long courses are the individual projects, which participants undertake for the duration of the course. The projects, which can be focussed on any Indian psychology related theme, culminate in one or more oral as well as written presentations. The projects ensure active participation by the participants and a deep integration of the material covered in the lectures with the rest of their thinking about their chosen subject. In the longer courses, the project is combined with a structured diary.
Some more detailed descriptions of the various courses
- This gives a detailed description of one of the Short Introductory Courses by a participant, Sanjay Kumar.
- And this is a completely different description of the same course by another participant, Meenakshi Krishnan.
- This is the syllabus of IPI's Short Introductory Courses Indian Psychology.
- This is the announcement of the Six-Week Summer School which was given in 2012.
- And this is the announcement of the Two-Semester Course Indian Psychology 2015/2016.
- And finally here are some Blogs on the best way to teach IP. They have been written by old students of our courses.
- During the Short Introductory Courses, the participants received every evening a mini-compilation with writings from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo about the issues discussed during the day.
Here are a couple of examples:
- And this is a detailed outline of one of the two courses on Integral Indian Psychology that were offered during the Two Semester course 2015/2016. It contains links to some of the actual texts and exercises used during this course.
- During all courses, short or long, the participants are asked to take up a personal project. These projects help to focus their attention and integrate the subject matter taken up in the classes into their own thought.
Here is an example:
- At the end of the short courses and at many points during the longer ones, the participants are asked to do an evaluation of the course.
- In 2014 we did a survey of the long term effect of the courses. It included a detailed analysis of what people who had done one of the Short Introductory Courses felt about the effect those courses had had on their life and work. The following is the report:
- Survey of the long-term impact of IPI's Short Introductory Courses Indian Psychology on the life and work of the participants.