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Roberto Assagioli

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What is Psychosynthesis

At the beginnings of modern psychology stands the discovery that human beings are conditioned by their childhood experiences. Freud and others spoke of the unconscious, which contains our past experiences and which produces very real effects on present feeling, thought and behaviour. Thus, psychoanalysis sought to treat psychological disorders by analysing their roots in the past.

In 1911, as a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Italy, Roberto Assagioli (a colleague of Freud, Buhler and Jung) began developing the insight that just as the psychological past exists in the present, so too does the psychological future. In other words, just as childhood is affecting our present living, so too is our vast human potential for healing and change. Indeed, repression of this higher potential can lead to psychological disturbances every bit as debilitating as repression of childhood trauma.

Assagioli maintained that just as there is a lower unconscious, there is also a superconscious - a realm of the psyche that contains our highest potential – the Self, the source of our unique potential and connected to the universal. He formulated his discoveries into an approach he called Psychosynthesis. Assagioli does not replace the insights of psychoanalysis, but rather includes the past within the context of the awakening of the Self.

Psychosynthesis is not simply a model of psychospiritual pathology and treatment, but a developmental approach which can help guide a person to understand the meaning of their human life. And the drive towards the harmonisation of all relationships, whether intrapersonal, or interpersonal, between individuals and groups.

Assagioli recognised a powerful integrative principle acting within the human psyche – the Self. Psychosynthesis as a psychospiritual psychology, adds the distinction of a ‘spiritual consciousness’ - that of the Self. This psychology regards the Self as a Spiritual Being imbued with Love which can be present to us both in its immanent and in its transcendent state. The Self is seen to form ego structures within which the ‘I,’ the personal identity, becomes conscious. The Self also continually invites and guides that ‘I’ to levels of healing and wholeness. Thus the Self is a profound source of being which can be present to us in our brokenness as well as in our wholeness. This Self also stands on the boundary between the personal and the universal.

Psychosynthesis – is uniquely placed for today’s world. Today in a world of complexity and huge and difficult change, many people are asking questions about new ways to live their personal and professional lives. They want to bring a spiritual context to their own lives and make a difference in society and the world at large. Some seek career change, some want to do what they do from a different context – beyond conflict, beyond blame – bringing compassion and an open heart to their worlds. To do so they know they need to transform themselves and their histories and learn different ways to be with themselves and in relationship to others.This is an inner journey of development, a journey to evoke the person that they really are! We believe we are at the beginning of a new psychological paradigm, a paradigm based on what is emerging in terms of aspiration and serving humanity as a whole, this is the world of psychosynthesis. In this sense we see that Psychosynthesis can truly Serve Humanity in Transition.

The Institute of Psychosynthesis


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