Transpersonal theory is a perspective on human behavior and development that synthesizes philosophical and scientific insights from Eastern and Western traditions of thought. This article presents challenges from transpersonal theory to ethnocentric limitations of conventional developmental theories in social work. Three fundamental philosophical assumptions of conventional theories are critiqued: that linear, rational thinking is the standard for optimal cognitive development; that autonomy is the standard for psychosocial maturity; and that ordinary waking dualistic consciousness is the standard for normal mental operation. Limitations of transpersonal theory are also examined. Based on the challenges and insights of transpersonal theory, suggestions for innovation in teaching and philosophizing about human behavior in social work are offered.

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