Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal (or spiritual) psychology and has its roots in the ancient wisdom traditions of both the East and the West. There is a belief in an organising principle – that we are part of a larger whole. People have always been hungry for meaning, a desire to reach out to something beyond the personal, yet many do not know how to find it. Our secular society provides few clues as to how to live a life imbued with meaning and purpose.
Freud saw this desire for something beyond the personal as neurotic, as a regression. Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) trained as a psychiatrist and became Italy’s first psychoanalyst. However, he began to criticise Freud as unhelpfully focusing on pathology at the expense of what constituted a healthily functioning individual. As a result he developed and practised Psychosynthesis insisting that the transpersonal aspects of human nature must be included. Assagioli was Jewish by descent and maintained a deep and broad interest in western and eastern philosophies, and esoteric as well as scientific writings. He had a life-long correspondence with Jung (Analytical) and was greatly inspired by Maslow (Humanistic) and Frankl (Existential). After Psychoanalysis, Behaviourism and Humanistic psychologies, Transpersonal psychology, including Psychosynthesis, became known as the 4th force in psychology.
In the 1960’s Psychosynthesis spread to USA and subsequently worldwide. There are 3 training organisations in London. Psychosynthesis is known as the psychology with a soul. It is not a dogmatic school of thought but rather a set of principles, techniques and models which are evolving and changing with time. However, there are some key principles:
Psychosynthesis can be an active form of therapy including not just dialogue but working with dreams, guided imagery, visualisation, drawings, meditation, writing and Gestalt chairwork. These exercises are chosen with care and tailor-made to the individual and the individual session.
The empathic relationship between therapist and client is the most important factor. The therapist acts as a guide and holds ‘bifocal vision’ seeing their client as more than their problem – as a soul on a journey of unfolding wholeness.
If you would like to know more about Psychosynthesis or how I work please do contact me.