Facing the future

Exploring the transpersonal in contemplating retirement. A heuristic study


  • Sue Clodd




transpersonal, heuristic research, concepts of time, mortality, authenticity and growth, women’s retirement, seeking meaning, spirituality


This study aimed to explore the experience of the transpersonal in contemplating retirement, as it impacted on five female co-researchers and myself.  All were aged between 55 and 65 and were actively, or recently, engaged in careers in either psychotherapy or therapeutic social work.  To allow for deep self-exploration, a heuristic research method, as described by Moustakas (1990), was chosen. Data was collected from my reflective, creative journal, and from the co-researchers using dialogue-based interviews. Data was analysed using an adapted form of thematic analysis. Individual and composite depictions were created and a creative synthesis developed. Two major transpersonal themes emerged: confronting mortality and seeking authenticity and growth. Findings suggest we cannot have the second without acknowledging the first. Subordinate themes demonstrate how we are managing this dilemma and exploring a place for ourselves in the future. Findings further suggest we do this by holding two distinct concepts of time: a linear concept relating to confronting mortality, and an expansive concept relating to seeking meaning and fulfilment in exploring new avenues or rediscovering latent parts of ourselves. These two concepts acknowledge spiritual dimensions in our lives and help us manage the knowledge of mortality. The findings are critically discussed in relation to relevant literature. Finally, the limitations of this study are explored and ideas for future research identified.




How to Cite

Clodd, S. (2020). Facing the future: Exploring the transpersonal in contemplating retirement. A heuristic study. Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology, 1, 94–107. https://doi.org/10.53074/cstp.2020.10