“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” V.van Gogh
Psychosynthesis is a holistic approach to psycho-coaching, developed by Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) that incorporates psychoanalysis, and coaching but significantly transcends it by emphasizing health, development, and spirituality. Assagioli illustrated his view of the human psyche in his “egg-diagram” (see Figure) with seven elements: Practitioners of psychosynthesis believe individuals tend to synthesize various aspects of the self to become more evolved and self-actualized. This psycho-coaching method can be viewed as a transpersonal approach because it integrates many elements of the human experience, including spiritual, emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects.
Individuals seeking to learn about themselves or feel more connected with their environment may benefit from psychosynthesis. Those with existential concerns may also find this helpful.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHOSYNTHESIS
Assagioli was interested in psychoanalysis and was among the first to bring Freud’s theories to Italy. However, Assagioli felt Freud neglected some essential aspects of the human experience and advocated for a more inclusive, holistic perspective on humanity.
Assagioli’s interest influenced the creation of psychosynthesis in yoga, philosophy, theology, and the work of Carl Jung. He focused on the individual’s spiritual experience and how various aspects of the self attempt to reach harmony. Assagioli believed a person’s primary task is to find a sense of completeness within the self and connect to a larger whole, such as one’s community or the world.
THEORY AND PRINCIPLES
There are a few core ideas crucial to psychosynthesis, and the first is the idea of disidentification. When people disidentify, they can move freely among different thoughts, feelings, and behaviors rather than being stuck in one existing way. Psychosynthesis suggests that empathy provides a path to disidentification. According to psychosynthesis, when an individual is fully seen and understood by another, they can authentically explore their emotional experience and be themselves without constraint or limitation.
Another core concept of psychosynthesis is the idea of the self. Assagioli believed individuals could explore their personal experience as it becomes conscious through introspection, giving them a sense of identity. He also theorized that to make changes and avoid unconscious repetition, an individual must use their will. The will provides the capacity to make conscious choices about where to direct awareness and how to act.
The concept of synthesis is another vital component of psychosynthesis. Assagioli theorized that people are not unified wholes but are instead made up of various subpersonalities. Synthesis, then, is a process in which these subpersonalities become more prominent, organic whole. While the subpersonalities may not always exist in perfect harmony, synthesis involves finding a way to relate to each aspect of the self empathically.
While Freud focused on the unconscious, Assagioli was interested in other levels of consciousness, such as the superconscious, another critical aspect of psychosynthesis. The superconscious is described as a higher level of consciousness that is not directly accessed but inferred from moments of peak experiences. Connecting with the superconscious involves a profound moment when an individual feels connected to the world around them and as if they have glimpsed the deeper meaning of life.
WHAT IS A PSYCHOSYNTHESIS SESSION LIKE?
At a basic level, psychosynthesis is a type of talk psycho-coaching. Like psychoanalysis, it involves focusing on introspection and exploration of the unconscious. Introspection, or empathic self-exploration, is highly encouraged in psychosynthesis. It allows a person to consciously explore various aspects of the self to increase insight and grow and develop.
People who practice psychosynthesis believe nearly any method that assists an individual in their evolvement is proper. Guided imagery, symbolic artwork, and journaling might all be used to help an individual become more introspective. Other techniques that practionshioners can use in psychosynthesis include meditation, gestalt techniques, and encouraging creativity.
HOW CAN PSYCHOSYNTHESIS HELP?
Like psychoanalysis, psychosynthesis is a broad theory of psychology designed to help with a wide range of issues and human development in general. Assagioli believed psychosynthesis could effectively treat neuroses, trauma, anxiety, and depression. As this psycho-coaching method is focused on growth and development, it may also be beneficial for individuals who have difficulty understanding themselves or finding meaning and purpose in their lives.
The use of psychosynthesis can extend beyond just psycho-coaching, therapy, and mental health. The core concepts of psychosynthesis, including personal growth and connection between self and others, have been used in education, medicine, and business.
Figure. Assagioli’s Egg Diagram
7 Core Concepts of Psychosynthesis
Disidentification—is a way to Freedom.
The self—is a way to Presence.
The will—is a way to Power.
The ideal model—is a way to Focus.
Synthesis—is a way to Flow.
The Superconscious—is a way to Abundance,
and The Transpersonal Self—is a way to Love