“Psychosynthesis is a method of psychological development and self realisation
for those who refuse to remain the slave of their own inner phantasms or of external influences,
who refuse to submit passively to the play of psychological forces which is going on within them,
and who are determined to become the master of their own lives.”
– Roberto Assagioli

Psychosynthesis model was developed by the Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974). At the beginning of his practice, he used psychoanalysis and agreed with Freud that the treatment of psychological childhood injuries and the development of a healthy ego was necessary, but his theory and practice aimed to demonstrate that human development does not end there. He spoke about the human potential that Maslow later called “self-actualization.” Assagioli continued to show that human potential is inseparable from the spiritual and transpersonal* aspects. Thus, psychosynthesis as a model of psychology has become a predecessor to a humanistic and transpersonal school.

Assagioli himself saw psychosynthesis as an open, constantly developing psychological system. For him it was also a process that naturally and organically takes place in the psyche of every human being. As the name of psychosynthesis suggests, the main aspect of it is the synthesis principle. Assagioli sought the synthesis of Western psychoanalysis, existentialism and logic, and Eastern mysticism, religion and philosophy.

In the system itself, Assagioli focused on combining and integrating psychological human energies, aspects, and separate parts into a coherent and functioning whole, thus advancing to a new phase of the process. For instance, he saw psychoanalysis as an initial and mandatory phase of the process – separation of human parts, sharing of experiences, and the analysis of their substance and functions. Everything in us according to Assagioli – our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual worlds must be united in order for the psychological synthesis to be effective and full.

The process of psychosynthesis is divided into two parts:

  • Personal;
  • Transpersonal or spiritual.

The constant aim of the process of personal psychosynthesis is to get to know your personality and analyze it. Later it takes form of learning to integrate and manage individual parts of the personality, and not be directed or controlled by them. This is one of the principles of psychosynthesis called “dis-identification”. “We are dominated by everything with which we become identified or attached. We can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify or dis-attach ourselves”.

Over time, this method of dis-identification helps to improve the conscious self-awareness of personal self or “I”. We become more will-oriented and are able to freer choose our emotions and actions, which leads to a more effective functioning of our personalities. For instance, when we are angry we don’t suppress it or let it explode in whatever form it chooses, but instead we can feel the anger and express it appropriately. Then we can say that ‘I have anger’ instead of ‘anger has me’. When we reach a certain level of management of the various aspects of our personalities, we can work on developing new ones. That way we synthesize and create our personality around a new strong conscious “I” center.

For most people, the first process of psychosynthesis is a satisfying goal enough for a lifetime that helps to feel more harmonious. However, for those who this is not enough, the second part of the psychosynthesis process opens up the opportunity to experience and develop at the spiritual level. When our personality becomes more integrated, we can realize our deeper connection to the spiritual realms. It includes the improvement of intuition, sense of meaning, creativity, and helps channel more positive energies such as joy, truth, and happiness. The spiritual psychosynthesis is aided by different methods and techniques.

Psychosynthesis is a system of psychology and psychotherapy, which can perfectly be used for self-development and self-knowledge. A number of “maps” and techniques have been developed for this purpose. One of the most important “maps” in psychosynthesis is the so-called “the egg of being”, which reflects the structure of our psyche. The main three horizontal sections reflect the past, present and future.

psichosintezes_grafikas
  1. Lower unconscious
  2. Middle unconscious
  3. Higher unconscious
  4. Field of awareness
  5. Personal self/”I”
  6. Higher Self
  7. Collective unconscious
  1. The complexes, phobias, forgotten memories, manias, instincts are usually repressed in the lower unconscious that corresponds to our mental past. Its analysis helps our psychological growth and fosters the integration of old or hidden aspects of our personalities.
  2. The middle unconscious in psychosynthesis is the field of information that is now available or has aspects of our personality – thoughts, emotions, abilities that are not completely suppressed, we can choose to follow them or not. For example, we have the ability and knowledge how to drive, but we choose to use it when we need to.
  3. Higher unconscious can also be called our evolutionary future. Most often, we experience it through inspiration, insights whether it happens in creativity, science, or ordinary everyday matters. It also has Qualities such as Faith, Courage, Love, Beauty, Vitality, Calm, Truth, Understanding, Joy, and the other. Often, the complexity of our personality distorts these qualities. For example: love becomes possessiveness or jealousy. However, psychosynthesis sees this as a plus and suggests working with it, helping to reveal the ‘pure form’ of the Quality.
  4. The field of awareness is all you feel, sense or think in the here and now.
  5. “I” is the personal self who feels, experiences, thinks. The practice of psychosynthesis helps to cultivate and increase contact with the “I”. In such a way helping to choose one’s experience consciously and voluntarily, rather than being distracted and ruled by it.

This article presented a very small amount of information about psychosynthesis. Psychosynthesis is a positive transformation based system that sees the darkest depths of our being as well as the spiritual heights. It views human being as a holistic entity with an endless reservoir of material that could be transformed and has an ever present potential. Psychosynthesis is abundant with methods, ‘maps’ and techniques used for growth and self-development. Few of the main methods used are ‘dis-identification’ technique, development of the will, work with subpersonalities, meditations, visualizations, the “ideal model”.

For information on these methods and other issues related to psychosynthesis and psychotherapy, see the Resources page and the Blog section.

* Transpersonal – “above/beyond personal” refers to the psychology of spirituality and those areas of human functioning and intelligence that go beyond the boundaries of the ego in order to experience wisdom, creativity, unconditional love and compassion. Transpersonal psychology is interested in a continuum of human experience encompassing severe personality dysfunctions, mental illnesses, to the so-called ‘normal’ functioning. It also studies and evaluates the exceptional human functioning, genius, the nature and meaning of deep religious and mystical experiences, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and the potential to fulfill our highest potential.
 

 

References:
“Unfolding Self: The Practice of Psychosynthesis” by M. Y. Brown
“Roberto Assagioli – His Life and Work, a Biography” by K. Sorensen, H. Birkholm
“The Elements of Psychosynthesis” by W. Parfitt
“Psychosynthesis: A Collection of Basic Writings” by R. Assagioli