Dr Claudio Naranjo
Dr Claudio Naranjo was born in 1932 in Valparaiso, Chile. Initially trained as a classical pianist and composer, he entered a medical school in Santiago and become a medical doctor in 1959. He went on to become a Fulbright visiting scholar at Harvard’s Centre for Studies of Personality and afterwards through a Fellowship of the Guggenheim Foundation, a Research Associate at the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research in Berkeley.
Curiosity for further psychological and spiritual knowledge and understanding led him to the now well known Esalen Institute in California where he became an apprentice of Fritz Perls, the father of the Gestalt therapy. This encounter affected Dr Naranjo deeply and became a seminal moment in the formation of his therapeutic vision and practice. Subsequently Fritz Perls named him as one of his three successors at the Esalen Institute.
The accidental death of Dr Naranjo’s son on the eve of Easter of 1970 prompted his return to Chile and took him on a spiritual pilgrimage and under the guidance of a Bolivian spiritual teacher Oscar Ichazo at the Arica Institute in northern Chile. Ichazo taught Dr Naranjo and a small group of students, a profound and insightful spiritual and psychological method of personality typing which he called Protoanalysis.
This powerful body of esoteric knowledge later become known as The Enneagram and from that time has spread widely throughout the world. Dr Naranjo was able to enrich the Enneagram with his deep understanding of the human psyche and the western psychological traditions, as outlined in his classic work on the subject “Character and Neurosis: An Integrative View”.
The six months period of spiritual retreat and learning in Chile as well as the time Dr Naranjo spent in isolation in the desert near Arica, became the true beginning of his deeper spiritual and contemplative life. Throughout 1970’s and 1980’s Dr Naranjo wrote books, worked as a university professor and run group retreats and workshops in Europe and Latin America. He studied meditation through a number of eastern meditative schools but mostly through The Tibetan School of Buddhism under the guidance of his mentor Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche.
During this time Dr Naranjo had also developed and perfected a personal transformational system that utilised the spiritual and psychological knowledge he had acquired throughout his life. This programme became known as SAT (Seekers After Truth) and it consisted of the Gestalt therapy, the Enneagram of Personality teachings, meditation, music and theatre as therapeutic resources and guided self-insight. The programme has been running successfully for nearly twenty five years now and it has been a powerful source of spiritual and psychological growth, healing and change for many seekers, therapists, educators and others.
Dr Naranjo’s vision is essentially integrative and within that his particular gift has been his ability to closely identify and utilise the common grounds between a number of diverse traditions and teachings he has studied. Observations of meditative and psychological teachings led Dr. Naranjo to develop practices of inter-personal meditation which bring meditation into the relational domain of psychology as outlined in his book The Ways of Silence and the Talking Cure. He is a world renowned exponent of the 4th Way Psychology and its emphasis on simultaneous work in the realms of action, thought, feeling and awareness.
Dr Naranjo’s mission over the last number of years has broadened to include education and he has used his considerable knowledge and experience of fifty year of practice to that end. His concern is that education has been systematically used to install negative patriarchal values of power, control and discrimination in young people. The Claudio Naranjo Foundation (http://www.fundacionclaudionaranjo.com/) was founded in 2006 to implement his proposals regarding the transformation of traditional education into an education that does not neglect the human development that he believes our social evolution depends on. Dr Naranjo’s vision is that through the transformation of teachers into “seekers” of self-knowledge and through expanded emotional, physical, and cognitive awareness, that education will become a vehicle for positively transforming a global society in crisis.
Dr. Naranjo vision and practice is extensively published in Spanish, English and Italian. Not all publications are available in English, but those that are reflect his eclectic interests and writings:
Character and Neurosis: An integrative View
Ennea-type Structures: Self-analysis for the Seeker
The Way of Silence and the Talking Cure: On Meditation and Psychotherapy
Healing Civilization: Bringing Personal Transformation into the Societal Realm through Education and the Integration of the Intra-Psychic Family
Gestalt Therapy: The Attitude and Practice of an Atheoretical Experimentalism
Enneagram of Society: Healing the Soul to Heal the World
One Quest: A Map of the Ways of Transformation
Enneatypes in Psychotherapy (co-authored with Ana Serrano and Cynthia Merchant)
The Shadow on the Path: Clearing Psychologial Blocks to Spirtual Development
The Divine Child and the Hero: Inner Meaning in Children’s Literature
The Healing Journey: New Approaches to Consciousness
The End of Patriarchy and the Dawnng of a Tri-Une Society
On the Psychology of Meditation (co-authored with Robert E. Ornstein)
How to Be: Meditation in Spirit and Practice