I use the word Experience the way other psychologists use the words mind or the word psyche. The concept of experience is difficult to define. It includes all our thinking, all our feeling, everything in our imagination, all our sensations, and everything else that separates us from being completely unconscious.

I prefer the word Experience to mind. Mind is too closely associated with thinking. Experience covers much more territory. I prefer it to psyche and soul, because these words have more of a religious or mythological flavor. This is fine and is better, in a way, than the neutral word experience. However, because of its neutrality, experience, is a word that is less likely to offend people. It allows us to speak about a difficult subject in a way that is less likely to alienate.

There are schools of psychology that emphasize experience and even make it central to their approach. For example, all the approaches that emphasize imagery and meditation as well as those encouraging people to become conscious of their emotions and to express them are experience-centered approaches. Other therapies downplay the importance of experience and emphasize behavior or brain processes. Their goal is to change behavior or brain processes, and they think either that experiences will follow or that experience isn't as important as others say.

I think that each type of school has its point. You can't get away from experiences no matter how hard you try. On the other hand, if you're always focused on your experience, what are you and what can you get done?