This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

(click to enlarge)

Integral psychotherapeutic intervention for disturbances of mind, body and vital among adolescents

Dr. Annalakshmi Narayanan, M.A., JDS (ISI), Ph.D.,
Department of Psychology, Bharatiar University Coimbatore – 641146.

Psychological intervention based on the integral perspectives of the human being developed by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother through integral yoga (Sri Aurobindo, 1970; Dalal, 2001) would be effective in alleviating psychological disturbances and in furthering adjustment and coping of the individual. An attempt is being made in the present piece of research to deduce psychotherapeutic intervention techniques from the perspectives of Integral yoga for dealing with certain psychological disturbances experienced by adolescent school students. The effectiveness of the intervention in furthering adjustment and coping of the adolescents confronted with psychological problems arising from stress and strain of living was confirmed in this study.

Problems of adolescence

Adolescence is an age of storm and stress (Hall, 1904). The storm and stress attributed to the adolescence are both due to the rapid physiological growth occurring within and the social demands and pressures arising from the environment outside. The sportive growth and the cultural marginality characteristic of this developmental span makes them vulnerable to be exposed to a wide variety of conditions and situations that actually or thwarting to affect their identity (Erickson, 1967). Adolescents are potential candidates for frustration and conflicts and emotional turmoil. Disturbances in the physical, mind, and the vital parts of the being are natural and common among the adolescents.

Anxiety and depression among adolescents

Global changes are dramatically altering the experience of the adolescent transition (Brown et al., 2003). Their emotional health and psychological well-being merit considerable empirical and clinical attention.

Anxiety disorders are extremely common in adolescents. Extreme anxious behaviors in early years are typical for those who develop anxiety difficulties in later childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. High levels of anxiety can be maladaptive in nature and can contribute to a variety of psychosocial problems among school-aged youth (Kiselica et al., 1994). Negative stress can cause serious impairments in school, work, home, or social situations. Anxiety in adolescence is associated with diminished peer popularity, depression, attention difficulties, oppositional behavior, somatic complaints, substance abuse, career indecision, loneliness, and shyness (Kiselica et al., 1994).

Depression in adolescence is a common, serious disorder often accompanied by other psychopathology, poor social adjustment, academic difficulties, and overall decreased functioning (Beardslee et al., 1997). Milder forms of depression are also important to diagnose and treat: They may be chronic and recurrent, are significant causes of work, social and family dysfunction, are risks for developing other illnesses, and are associated with risk of suicide (Rosenbaum, 1996).

Treating and preventing adolescent depression assumes immense significance (Barmier et al., 1994; 1996; 2000; Kessler et al., 2001). Training to coping with depression and cognitive behavior therapy appear to be most efficacious for depressed adolescents (Harrington et al., 1998; Hollon & Shelton, 2001; Kazdin & Weisz, 1998; Lewinsohn et al., 1996; 1998; Reinecke et al., 1998; Kolko et al., 2000).

Integral psychotherapy

Various forms of psychotherapies have been evolved and practiced for curing the mental disorders and disturbances having allegiance to psychoanalytical, behaviorist, humanistic and transpersonal models of human being. The behaviorist movement stemming from the learning theories have attempted to adopt a simplistic module of human being in terms of his surface existence and devoid of any inner depth or dynamics. The psychoanalysis had attempted to correct the module of man by supplying the unconscious and yet could not dwell into the inner most depths of human being. The humanistic and transpersonal modules assume that human being has greater potentialities and yet had not clearly spelt out the source of such potentialities. At best their conceptions are partly or mostly borrowed from eastern perspectives.

Integral Psychotherapy combines the teachings of integral yoga with those of Western psychology. It is not just confined to therapy of the surface nature but aspires to discover the central being, the atman and the psychic being, and attempts a transformation of our entire inner and outer nature (Cortright, 2001). Integral yoga views each part of the outer being as having certain inherent psychological imperfections arising from our evolutionary past. The quintessence of mental health lies in a change of consciousness from one that is governed primarily by the consciousness of the physical, vital or mental parts of our outer nature to one that reflects more and more an inner or higher consciousness. Only by such a change of consciousness can one be freed from psychological disturbances, which are inherent part of the ordinary physical, vital and mental consciousness in which he lives most of the time. Through contact with one’s innermost being, and by bringing one’s entire nature under its control an individual becomes free from the disturbances of the outer consciousness. By psychicisation, bringing the mental, the vital and the physical under the domination of the psychic being, one can not only free oneself of disturbances but also transform the outer consciousness so as to establish an immutable state of positive mental health (Dalal, 1987).

While the goals of integral yoga is to achieve Life Divine through psychicisation and complete transformation of all parts of the Being, the integral psychotherapy may set its levels of aspirations tailoring to the needs of the client. It might begin with dealing with confronting the psychological disturbances inherent in the parts of the Being, move towards synthesizing the outer being with the inner being and perhaps merge with integral yoga in bringing the ultimate transformation of all the individuals. Integral psychotherapy may fruitfully employ psychodynamic principles depending on the nature and severity of the disturbances within the structure imposed by the immediate goals.

Integral yoga and integral philosophy may be seen as an integrating framework for psychology such framework has their potential to fundamentally shift psychology into a new paradigm. The paradigm would provide a new context and meaning to psychology. Such paradigm could be applied to psychotherapy (Cortright, 2001). When psychology and depth psychotherapy are brought into the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, integral psychology and integral psychotherapy would emerge. Integral psychotherapy deals with every level of our being including physical, vital and mental, and spiritual. Integral psychotherapy not only integrates the surface self but also the central being, the atman and psychic being, and works for transformation of our outer nature by lending a spiritual meaning and purpose to psychotherapy.

The integral psychology has expanded both the breadth and depth of the module of human being by conceiving that the human being is composed of not one but many personalities and each has its own demands and differing nature. The course of the being is guided not only by the depths of the inconscient but also by the forces constantly emanating constantly from above and from outside. The nature of one’s being is constituted by a large portion of influences coming from others or environment either as raw materials or manufactured imports and still larger portion of influences hail from universal Nature her or from other worlds and planes and their beings and powers and influences. Because we are overtopped and environed by other planes of consciousness, mind planes, live planes, subtle matter planes, from which life and action here are fed or fed on, pressed, dominated, made use of for the manifestation of their forms and forces.

Probabilistic orientation

Probabilistic orientation connotes a distinct pattern of attitude and belief (Narayanan, 1977; 2003). Kelly (1955) has elaborated the role of construct in organizing individual behaviour. Cardinal and ordinal traits of personality (Allport, 1961) are construed through the constructs around which the individual’s behaviour is anchored. Narayanan has developed the construct of probabilistic orientation that is attributed to the vision of the saints and seers in ancient period (Narayanan, et al., 1984).

Probabilistic orientation refers to the core construct held by highly matured and evolved individuals in the ancient civilization. The source constructs that constitute probabilistic orientation may be identified as follows:

There exists an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient force or fund of energy. The evolution set by the force unfolds itself perennially adhering to stochastic process.

When an individual imbibes the spirit of the construct of probabilistic orientation his perception gets coloured by the orientation and accentuates his commitment to probabilistic orientation in his thinking, willing and feeling. Thus telenomy of self (Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi, 1993) sets in and guides his behaviour and consciousness towards probabilistic orientation through phenomenology.

Using hypothetico deductive method the probabilistically oriented individual infers the meaning of every experience from the core construct of his orientation. He tends to view every event as an outcome of the stochastic process, i.e., changes occurring as a function of time, in the logical furthering of the evolution. Since he believes that every event is a random event having its probability of occurrence in the stochastic probability governing the evolution set by the supreme force he tends to treat every thing occurring in his life as an unbiased event. Nothing happens in life that is meant to be for or against his interest. Things just happen. There is no room for bias or prejudice. This orientation frees him from attributing positive or negative labels to his experiences. Nature acts as a system and every event should be viewed from the system perspective. Every event should be viewed as a random phenomenon thrown out from the Nature following the system characteristics. Nothing is biased or prejudiced against anyone at any point of time in Nature. A change can be introduced into the system by individual efforts but such change manifests in the system only when the system absolves the change.

One shall not and cannot resort to attributing negative or positive labels to an event: labeling any event in the course of life as good or bad, luck or odd-luck is born out of misconception about nature of Nature. When one gives up the crèches of attribution process he gets freed from indulging in games or indulging in ulterior transactions in life. He will be freed from the need to make pretensions and to meet the reality in its actuality. When this perspective is adhered to ceaselessly by sustained effort through conviction, one will have a smooth sailing in life without conflict or frustration, stress or strain.

The relationship between probabilistic orientation and various factors related to mental health has been succinctly brought out in a recent publication (Narayanan and Annalakshmi, 2001). A factor analytical study revealed that probabilistic orientation is construed through seven factors (Narayanan, 1999). The factors include unexpected expectancy, sensing unlimited possibilities, insight into bias, healthy skepticism, unconditional acceptance, appreciation of chance, and awareness of probability.

Applying the principles discussed above Narayanan has developed a counseling technique labeled Probabilistic Orientation counseling alias Sailing-through Therapy (Narayanan, 2003). The intervention applied in the present work is based on the principles of probabilistic orientation and the counseling just discussed.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is one of the relaxation techniques that might help reduce chronic stress. It not only for physical or mental relaxation but also for preparing the mind for spiritual discipline, concerning mainly with Pratyahara (withdrawing senses form sense-objects) and dharana (concentration).

Yoga Nidra helps in restoring mental, emotional, and physical health by way of relaxation, and makes the mind more conducive to pratyahara - withdrawing senses from their objects, dharana - concentration, and meditation. The impressions in the subconscious are brought to surface, experienced and removed. Thus, the fixation of awareness is linked with subtler aspects of prana and spiritual dimensions.

The present study

The present study attempts to evolve a psychotherapeutic intervention for certain psychological disturbances experienced by adolescent students from an integral perspective. The study is rooted in the knowledge of inner science accumulated in the eastern spiritual traditions and specifically has allegiance to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

The term integral psychology as used in the present piece of research is confined to the application of the integral perspectives of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to treat certain disturbances of the mind, the vital and the physical. In the present study the adolescent school students were taken as sample since they were confronted with psychological disturbances due to stress and strain that may be attributable to their undergoing a significant phase in their life-span.

The therapeutic goals set in the present investigation were confined to the immediate need of the client. Since the individuals involved as subjects in the present investigation belong to a normal population and are not diagnosed for mental disorders the goal of the intervention was concerned with relieving the psychological disturbances arising due to the stress and strain to which they are exposed. The intervention oriented itself to anchor all the individuals to the psychic being in general and to restore the order in each part of the Being and establish harmony among themselves in particular. The intervention, hopefully, contributes to raising all the individuals to reach relatively higher level of functioning.

The various techniques suggested by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are used to control the different psychological disturbances in individuals. The elucidation techniques elaborated in Dalal (1987; 2001) has been considered as a sort of manual for choosing the specific procedures of psychological intervention. The Probabilistic Orientation Therapy alias Sailing Through Therapy and Yoga Nidra were also considered for formulating the exact procedure of intervention to be adopted in individual cases. The final implementation of each intervention program was made to fit the individual’s requirement based on the diagnosis made of the individual client with reference to the psychological disturbances experienced by him (Annalakshmi, 2001).

Integral psychotherapeutic intervention

The integral therapeutic intervention herein attempted consists of identifying the psychological disturbances among the adolescent school boys adopting the Integral Diagnostic Manual (Annalakshmi, 2000) and prescribing and carrying out therapeutic exercises of tasks specifically selected for the client for intervention.


The following instruments were chosen to obtain measures of mental health and well-being needed for testing hypotheses of the present study.

Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory - 2 (MMPI-2, Hathaway and McKinley, 1989).

The Subjective Well-Being Inventory (SWBI, Nagpal and Sell, 1985).


The sample of adolescent students included one hundred and twenty students studying ninth to twelfth grade in two schools situated in the neighborhood of Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. Their age ranged from fourteen to nineteen years. There were both boys and girls in the sample. The students were equally drawn from two higher secondary schools situated in the neighborhood of the Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. Sixty of the students drawn from one school constituted the control group (CG) and the sixty drawn from the other school served as the experimental group (EG). The EG included only those students who voluntarily reported to get relieved from the psychological disturbances experienced by them by availing the psychological intervention program offered by the present investigator. The students included in the CG also volunteered to participate in the program as CG.

Administration of the instruments

The adolescent sample was administered the MMPI-2 and Subjective Well-Being Inventory.

The MMPI-2 was administered to the subjects individually by the investigator. The investigator read the items aloud for the subject while he/she was following her silently. The investigator ascertained with the subject whether he/she was able to comprehend the meaning intended to be conveyed by individual items of the inventory wherever necessary. Each one of the MMPI statements was sorted out into one of the three categories labeled “Yes” and “No” as the subject deemed it fit. The order of presenting the items was the same as the items appeared in the original inventory.

The Subjective Well-Being Inventory was also administered individually to the subject. Here again, the subject followed the investigator who read aloud the items of the scale one by one. The subjects were to choose from the response options provided to him/her for each statement to indicate the option he considered appropriate. The order of presenting the items was the same as the items appear in the original scale concerned.

The integral psychological diagnostic manual

The Integral Psychological Diagnostic Manual (IPDM) (Annalakshmi, 2000) has been adopted for diagnosing the psychological disturbances of the clients. The IPDM purports to classify the various psychological disturbances into different categories with reference to the nature. Based on the Integral Yoga (Sri Aurobindo, 1970; Dalal, 2001) the nature of disturbances were recognized and codified in the manual. The dynamics of the manifestations of the symptoms of the disturbances in different parts of the Being elaborated by Dalal (1985) guided the classification. In the present study the diagnosis categories used were confined to the disturbances common to general population. The disturbances and disorders found among psychiatric population were not used in the present study. In the samples used in the study mental examination has ruled out presence of serious mental disorders. The symptoms relating to different parts of the Being are listed along with their codes in the manual.

The psychotherapeutic intervention module

The integral psychotherapeutic intervention module formulated to be used in the present study essentially consisted of a set of techniques developed by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo given in The Synthesis of Yoga, Letters on Yoga and The Life Divine (Sri Aurobindo, 1975) and classified and documented by Dalal (1987) and Indra Sen (1986).

Besides using the techniques based on the integral yoga by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother given in The Synthesis of Yoga, Letters on Yoga and The Life Divine (Sri Aurobindo, 1970) and classified and documented by Dalal (1987) and Indra Sen (1986), the intervention program evolved and tested in the study involved adapting Probabilistic Orientation Counseling (Narayanan, 2002; 2003) and Yoga Nidra (Swami Satyananda Saraswati, 1982).

The techniques of integral psychotherapy

The specific techniques chosen and utilized are briefly described below. The details of the techniques of integral psychology are given in Dalal (1987). The techniques adopted included specific techniques to control disturbances of the mind, the vital, the physical and the subconscient.

Few of the techniques adopted in the psychotherapeutic intervention are codified and listed below. The alternative tasks specified for control specific disturbances of the mind, body and vital, may be adopted and practiced either individually or in combinations.

M.0.0 Techniques to control disturbance of the mind

M.1.0 Techniques to control unruly and perturbing thoughts

  • M.1.1 Observing oneself separated from the unruly and perturbing thought and standing back from it as if it was someone else’ and look at it.
  • M.1.2 Learning to distinguish between useful and harmful thoughts and allowing only approved thoughts to pass, strictly refusing admission to all undesirable elements.
  • M.2.0 Technique to improve memory

  • M.2.1 Synchronizing the mental and physical activities and attending to the task.
  • M.2.5 Being aware of what one is doing by introspection and persisting the practice till the task become habitual.
  • M.2.6 Maintaining reminders to prompt working on the task and achieving the results.
  • MV.0.0 Techniques to control disturbance of the mind-vital

    MV.1.0 Techniques to control Anxiety

  • MV.1.1 Absolutely surrendering all the responsibilities to a higher consciousness with the belief that it will provide him/her the best.
  • MV.1.2 Remaining Quiet and convinced that the difficulty or uncertainty will soon be over with candid, spontaneous and unquestioning trust in the higher power since such a stance would help powerfully in putting an end to it.
  • MV.1.3 Confronting the doubts and the feeling of uncertainty with facts and dealing with them logically.
  • MV.2.0 Technique to control Brooding

  • MV.2.1 Focusing his/her awareness away from himself and diverting it to things and people outside.
  • MV.2.2 Evaluating the consequence that worrying may have on one’s productivity.
  • MV.3.0 Techniques to control Fearful Imagination

  • MV.3.1 Questioning the validity of the fearful thought and analyzing the consequence of strongly holding any fearful imagination that did not have any logical basis.
  • MV.3.2 Becoming aware of the influence mental formations on the happening of events, and rehearsing positive suggestions counter to the existing fearful imagination.
  • MV.4.0 Techniques to control unrealistic goal setting

  • MV.4.1 Adopting self-analysis of the strength and weakness in oneself with particular reference to the demands involved in achieving the specific goal.
  • MP.0.0 Techniques to control disturbance of the mind-physical

    MP.1.0 Technique to control mental noise

  • MP.1.2 Observing the disturbing thought with a spectator attitude.
  • MP.1.3 Replacing the habitual thought and behavior with small alternative activities till practicing quietitude becomes a habit on its own merit.
  • MP.2.0 Techniques to control obsessive and compulsive thoughts

  • MP.2.1 Writing down the annoying and disturbing thought on a piece of paper very attentively putting in as much consciousness as possible and tearing the paper with concentration and will that the thought will be torn up in the same way.
  • MP.2.2 Turning away from the thought with a certain violence, and punch it soundly, telling it “Keep Quiet”.
  • MP.3.0 Techniques to control perpetual doubt

  • MP.3.1 Asking oneself whether the persisting doubts have any basis in reality and realizing the futility of doubting of the mind.
  • MP.3.2 Resisting the doubt on any positive outcome by evaluating its bad effects on one self and by forcefully engaged in physical activity.
  • MP.4.0 Techniques to control Indecisiveness

  • MP.4.1 Making conscious attempts to remain independent and being vigilant in every occasion, and resist falling on other’s shoulders by remaining aware of such a tendency in him/her.
  • MP.4.3 Evaluating the consequence of the worst thing that could follow a wrong decision and realizing that even such worse decision would do less harm than perennial dependence on others.
  • MP.5.0 Techniques to control lack of self-confidence

  • MP.5.3 Rehearsing the mental image of facing the situation boldly before encountering the real situation that he/she was avoiding.
  • MP.5.4 Forcing oneself consciously to face the situation head-on that he/she was hesitant to face.
  • V.0.0 Techniques to control disturbance of the vital

    V.1.0 Techniques to control craving

  • V.1.1 Self-questioning as to whether his/her worth is contingent on what he/she craves for.
  • V.1.2 Being aware of the shallowness of influence the materialistic possession has on one’s self-esteem.
  • V.2.0 Techniques to control fear

  • V.2.1 Using the reasoning mind to reason with and to speak to oneself as he/she would speak to a child, explaining that this fear is a bad thing in itself.
  • V.2.3 Making efforts to face boldly what he/she fears and to put oneself face to face with the danger that he/she fears.
  • V.3.0 Techniques to deal with boredom and lack of energy

  • V.3.1 Questioning himself/herself about the progress he/she should make, the weakness he/she must overcome and the things he/she should learn to make the progress.
  • V.3.4 Making sincere resolve with strong will that one would work towards achieving the targets that he/she had set.
  • V.4.0 Techniques to control depression

  • V.4.1 Asking oneself if depression has anything to do with his/her inner aspiration, or whether it is simply an ordinary movement due to a want of vital satisfaction.
  • V.4.2 Making efforts to become aware of some desire or demand within him/her that has lead to a revolt when it was not being satisfied and facing the revolt calmly and steadily throwing it out.
  • V.4.6 Applying what one has gained or learnt in previous stages in every phase of working out a new program as perfectly as possible.
  • V.4.7 Understanding that it is the best possible and most favorable condition that is given to everyone and telling himself/herself “well, this proves I am worth the trouble of being given this difficulty, this proves there is something in me which can resist the difficulty” when something extremely unpleasant happens.
  • V.5.0 Techniques to control anger

  • V.5.1 Making efforts to keep quiet immediately, and instantaneously when one is beginning an argument, to be silent saying nothing at all, resisting expression of one’s anger in act or speech.
  • V.5.2 Making attempts to enter into the other person’s consciousness and ascertaining the dynamics of his/her attitude and behavior.
  • V.5.5 Discussing the possible consequence of anger and avoiding free expression of rage or violence.
  • V.7.0 Techniques to deal with sensitiveness

  • V.7.1 Learning not to expect square dealings from others, no matter who others are and also being aware that it is good to have such experiences of the real nature of some people since that helps in the growth of his/her consciousness.
  • V.7.4 Becoming aware that the tendency in the adversary that makes one upset is a mere reflection of the same tendency in him the presence of which he does not want to accept.
  • V.7.5 Detaching oneself from any bad experience and looking at the perversions of others from a higher altitude, a more impersonal perspective.
  • P.0.0 Techniques to control disturbance of the physical

    P.1.0 Technique to control fatigue

  • P.1.1 Taking care to rest, and maintaining the bodily energy by doing Savasana.
  • P.1.2 Regulating the schedule for sleep and following a disciplined routine of activities.
  • G.0.0 General techniques

  • G.1.1 Becoming aware of and exercising mastery over the parts of ones Being.
  • G.1.2 Going to the roots of the troubles and exercising psychological control over the condition by obtaining adequate amount of non-anxiety provoking cognitive inputs in the form of relevant information and invoking the power of knowledge.
  • G.1.3 Learning and getting encouraged adhering to positive attitude and reinforcing the positive attitude by frequently repeating it to oneself.
  • G.1.4 Organizing one’s routine and also his/her work by following a standard structure.
  • G.1.5 Considering a difficult task as comprising of chain of small links and realizing its importance, and fostering a friendly attitude towards it.
  • G.1.6 Redefining the problem one is facing by objectivising it.
  • Probabilistic orientation counseling

  • PO.1.1 Remaining aware of the evolutionary process of Nature and the randomness of occurrences of events in Nature and refraining from attributing event as good or bad in itself.
  • PO.1.2 Becoming aware of the nature of expectation in oneself and analyzing the boundaries of the problem and expanding them.
  • PO.1.3 Making efforts to sense the unlimited possibilities of solutions and opportunities embedded in the problem situation he/she is confronting with.
  • PO.1.4 Developing insight into one’s own bias and attempting to over come it.
  • PO.1.5 Being aware of the constraints present due to Natural Law and accepting such intermissions unconditionally as natural when faced with uncertainty.
  • PO.1.6 Analyzing doubts in oneself and substituting naïve complacence and hypercritical attitude with healthy skepticism.
  • PO.1.7 Developing meticulous appreciation of chance factors involved in each event in the course of happenings.
  • PO.1.8 Consciously recognizing serendipity when one is dealing with problems and understanding that time will itself solve some of the problems.
  • PO.1.9 Understanding and appreciating the relative stability of the courses of lives and the Natural Laws which ensure predictability so as to transcend the confusions and dilemmas one encounters.
  • Yoga Nidra

    Yoga Nidra was used as one of the techniques in the intervention program. Yoga Nidra is indicated by the code YN in the record of transactions of the intervention given to the individuals to alleviate their disturbances.

    Yoga Nidra, a technique of prathyahara (Swami Satyananda Saraswati, 1982) was adopted in the intervention program as an additional technique. The procedure followed closely followed the rendering of yoga nidra by Swami Sathyanandha Saraswathi of Bihar School of Yoga. The procedure emphasized shavasana, becoming aware of body parts, alternating contrasting sensations, making the Sankalpa /resolve, rotating the awareness, alternating contrasting sensations, visualization using imagery, becoming aware of external environment, repeating the Sankalpa / resolve and becoming aware of the whole body.

    Administration of the intervention

    The choice of adopting a specific technique from the techniques listed above to be used for individual cases varied depending upon its relevance to the complaints expressed by the client. The specific techniques chosen for application in each case was based on the diagnosis of the disturbances experienced by the individual made with reference to the Integral Psychological Diagnostic Manual (Annalakshmi, 2001).

    The intervention was carried out by the investigator on individual basis. The duration of the intervention ranged from 6 to 9 weeks depending upon the nature and severity of the case. During the time of intervention the subject met the investigator at least twice a week and followed the tasks and exercises recommended for him/her.

    Obtaining measures at baseline and post-intervention

    The MMPI-2 and the Subjective Well-Being Inventory were employed in obtaining the various measures of well-being of the adolescent students at the baseline and post-psychotherapeutic intervention.

    Transaction and analysis

    The integral psychotherapeutic intervention was individually given to the clients and the relevant measures of their status of mental health and subjective well-being were obtained at the baseline and the post-intervention. The details of the transactions and the comparison of the pre and post measures of two cases from the sample are presented below.

    > Case 1 Subject: A.T.S Disturbance Code Focus of the Intervention given to the Client Code Difficulty in concentration due to getting distracted towards watching TV, playing with friends. MP.1.0 Planning a daily routine that provided for 40 minutes study slots interspersed with five minutes and allowed separate slot for recreation everyday and adhering to the schedule. G.1.4 Imagining as he is punching the distracting thought occurring during the study hour and commanding his mind, “Keep Quiet”. MP.2.2 Sticking the schedule planned by herself on her study table and reminding herself of the immediate target that needs to be achieved as per the schedule. V.3.1 Focusing on consolidating the progress made by her so far. V.3.2

    Forgetting where she placed things like books, keys. MP.3.0 Inculcating discipline by placing the things earmarked for them forcing her herself till this practice becomes habitual in her. G.1.4 Focusing on what she is doing with fully being aware of her doing the activity and reinforcing the image that she is doing the activity in a discipline manner and repeating this practice till becomes habitual in her. M.2.5

    Difficulty in understanding English grammar. M.4.0 Working out the exercises from basic grammar book: systematically doing the exercises from the beginning and proceeding in a steady manner. G.1.4 Repeating the exercises as many cycles as possible and proceeding to the next chapter only after she became thorough with the previous one. M.2.2

    Getting angry at others and withdraws or stops studying. V.3.0 Refraining from instantly running away from the situation, but remaining silent. V.5.1 Trying to get into other’s shoe: seeing the issue as the other person would see it, and making attempts to understand why he or she said the thing that she said. V.5.2 Reminding her by herself of the consequence of getting angry and quitting studies, which would be detrimental to her progress in achieving the targets she had fixed for herself. V.5.4 Engaging in some practical task like arranging her room, writing homework or anything that would require attention until her anger settles down. MP.1.3

    Case 2 Subject: P.R.D Disturbance Code Focus of the Intervention given to the Client Code

    Difficulty in concentration due to distracting thoughts about family problems. MP.1.0 Redefining the problem and understanding that the difficulty in concentrating in studies was due to lack of interest in him rather than due to family problems per se. G.1.6 Structuring study schedule providing for work periods of 40 min duration interspersed with rest pauses of 5 min duration and also allowing specific targets for every study period, and adhering to the same. G.1.4 Imagining as if he is punching the distracting thought and commanding the mind “Keep Quiet.” MP.2.2

    Lack of interest in studies. V.8.0 Reminding her by herself of the immediate target she needed to achieve when she felt distracted. V.3.1 Focusing on consolidation of the progress made by her till that point whenever she was getting distracted or loosing interest. V.3.2 Realizing that the problem was existential and she had limited role to play in changing the financial condition of the family. PO.1.5 Working out the consequence of worrying on her progress in the form of an exercise. MV.2.2

    Fear of ghosts. V.2.0 Reasoning out if fear had any basis in reality and telling to her by herself as she would tell a small child that such a fear was needless. V.2.1 Carrying a small photograph of her favorite deity or wearing a small pendant and feeling its presence all the time. V.2.5

    Being under confident in everything she did. MP.7.0 Focusing all her efforts on following the schedule and making the best progress and not involving her ego, ie., not feeling that it is she who is doing the studies all by herself. MP.5.2

    Statistical analysis

    Inorder to ascertain the efficacy of the psychotherapeutic intervention on adolescent school students this investigation assessed the experimental and control groups by administering MMPI-2 and Subjective Well-Being Scale both at the baseline and post intervention. The scales yielded a number of parameters of mental health and subjective well being of the two groups. Applying analysis of covariance the initial differences between the groups at the baseline were statistically controlled and comparison was made between the groups on their scores on the various scales post intervention. Any significant difference found between the experimental and control groups in their means of the scores on various psychological scales may be taken to reveal a change in the experimental group, which could be attributed to the impact of the intervention.

    The various supplementary scales of the MMPI-2 have yielded a number of parameters pertaining to anxiety, depression, mental confusion, brooding, health concern, somatic symptoms, self and social alienation, sleep disturbances, persecutory ideas, ego mastery in cognitive and conative functions, dominance, social responsibility, college maladjustment, work-interference and negative indicators. The Subjective Well-Being Scale yielded measures of transcendence, inadequate mental mastery, inadequate mental mastery, expectation-achievement congruence, primary group concern, perceived ill-health, family group support, general well-being positive affect, deficiency of social contacts, social support, general well-being negative affect, expectation-achievement discrepancy, confidence in coping and adequacy of social contacts.

    Effect of intervention on mental health

    The results of the comparison of the EG and the CG on their scores on the anxiety scales consistently show that the EG experienced less anxiety after the intervention.

    The comparison of the EG and the CG on their scores on depression scales consistently show, as expected, the EG experienced less depression after the intervention. The EG seems to have increased energy to cope with problems and have concluded that life is worthwhile, and seems to feel gaining control over their thought processes after the intervention.

    The findings also show that the EG has reduced its undue health concerns and feeling somatic symptoms after the intervention. The EG tends to feel less alienated, isolated, and estranged and tends to describing it as comfortable and happy after the intervention.

    The EG has gained greater cognitive and conative ego mastery after the intervention. It has improved in poise, self-assurance, and social initiative as well as in perseverance, resoluteness, and group leadership after the intervention. Its self-confidence and feeling of adequacy in handling their problems has also improved post intervention.

    The EG has improved its adjustment, effectiveness, optimism and conscientiousness, post intervention.

    The comparison of the EG with the CG on their magnitude of scores on the various scales derived from MMPI-2 adopted in the present study has shown that the EG had consistently lower scores compared to the score of the CG on all the scales assessing the negative symptoms and higher score compared to the score of the CG on all the scales assessing the positive traits. Further, the EG had higher scores on the negative scales on the negative traits at the baseline, but eventually had lower scores on the same scales post intervention. Further more the EG had lower scores on the scales on the positive traits at the baseline, but eventually had higher scores on the same scales post intervention. The trends of these results suggest that the EG has been more resilient than the CG.

    Effect of intervention on subjective well-being

    The comparison of the EG and the CG on their scores on the various scales of the Subjective Well-Being reveals interesting findings. The EG, as expected, has scores which are significantly less than the scores of the control group on the Inadequate Mental Mastery and General Well-Being Negative Affect. The EG has higher scores on the General Well-Being Positive Affect and the Confidence in coping.

    Findings suggest that the EG has developed an enhanced sense of having sufficient control over, or an ability to deal efficiently with certain aspects of every day life that are capable of disturbing mental equilibrium. The EG seems to have an enhanced sense of subjective well-being after undergoing the intervention.

    The EG adopted a different perception of life and perceived life to be happier and less negative thanks to a change of inner attitude precipitated significant psychological changes attributable to its participation in the intervention.

    The EG had gained some positive personality strengths after it attending the intervention. It had improved in its ability to manage situations when they do not turn out as expected, ability to remain calm in critical situations, confidence in coping with crises, ability to concentrate on well on things it is doing, etc., after participating in the intervention. The EG has enhanced its mental mastery over environment after undergoing the intervention.

    The comparison of the EG and the CG on the magnitude of the scores on the different questionnaires of the Subjective Well-Being Inventory show that the EG, compared to the CG had higher scores on negative traits at the base line and lower scores on the same traits post intervention. In the same manner the EG, compared to the CG had lower scores on positive traits at the base line and has surpassed the CG in its scores on the same traits post intervention. The pattern of the results is in line with the pattern of results observed in the cases of MMPI-2 Scales used in this study. This reveals that the EG is more resilient than the CG and has improved its mental health and subjective well-being thanks to the intervention.

    In sum, the EG has shown considerable improvement on most of the symptoms assessed by the scales and inventory and it could be safely concluded that there has been significantly perceptible reduction of mental problems and an increase in the subjective well-being among the adolescent clients who participated in the integral psychotherapeutic intervention after the intervention. These changes confirm the efficacy of the intervention.


    The changes envisaged by the integral psychotherapy are very deep and holistic. The basic idea in the present intervention was to restore the order among the mind, vital and physical parts of the clients by prescribing tasks that would deal with inherent disturbances of the mind, vital and physical and also a sense of the psychic presence in them. The right attitude and spiritual foundation set in the clients would go a long way and by sustained practice and spiritual aspiration the clients will be able to have the right inner transformation that would facilitate them in coping with any kind of problems in the future. The short-term intervention has made only a beginning in the process of changes occurring within the individuals leading to a better organized style of life. Through the present study a process has been facilitated wherein the clients can continue to work on their mental, vital and physical parts and evoke the psychic presence to govern their lives.

    The evidences available in the present study based on investigations done on the adolescent school students strongly indicate that it is possible to evolve a psychological intervention program based on the integral perspectives of the human being developed by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother through integral yoga (Sri Aurobindo, 1975; Dalal, 2001) and that such an intervention would be effective in alleviating psychological disturbances and in furthering adjustment and coping of the individual.


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