Manifestations of the human psyche, such as creative imagination,
intuition, aspiration, genius, are facts which are as real and important as are
the conditioned reflexes,........ spiritual drives or spiritual urges are as
real, basic and fundamental as sexual and aggressive drives; they should not be
reduced to sublimation or pathological distortion of the sexual and aggressive
components of the personality - although in many neurotic cases such elements
are, of course, also present.
Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis and one of the first
psychoanalysts in Italy, was a visionary who sowed the seeds of many current
ideas and methods in Transpersonal Psychotherapy. If the dialectic between Freud
and Jung can be characterised as that of a tension between ego and soul, then
Assagioli's vision was to bring into psychotherapy a third element, that of the
spirit. The spiritual domain offers a meta-level frame from within which to
understand phenomena which are experienced psychologically, yet which seem to
transcend psychological explanation. It is from within this frame that Assagioli
suggested a 'Higher' or transcendent Self which was a source of inspiration
beyond the personal self.
Psychosynthesis brings together different orientations in psychotherapy -
Psychoanalysis, Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology. In broad
terms we can say that these concern themselves with the past, the present and
the future and are reflected in Assagioli's core model which differentiates
human consciousness into the Lower, Middle and Higher Unconscious. The Lower
which links with psychoanalysis, leads to an analysis of origins, the Middle
which links with Humanistic Psychology focuses on the here-and-now and the
Higher, linked with Transpersonal Psychology, leads to exploring future
potentials. This tripartite differentiation forms the structural basis of
Psychosynthesis is an inclusive psychology rather than a reductive one.
Assagioli's root metaphor was the idea of synthesis, which begins from the
premise that we are essentially whole in our nature - not good or perfect but
whole. Whatever fragmentation, alienation and splitting we have suffered in
order to psychologically survive, the spiritual self is calling us towards our
healing. Holding two opposite sides until a synthesis at a higher level emerges,
is a dialectical process known since the times of Aristotle. Psychosynthesis
applies it as a tool for transformation of the personality.
The growing awareness in the psychotherapeutic field that there is no one
right answer or method leads us to the need for flexibility on the part of the
psychotherapist. The beauty of Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy is that it is
inclusive of and honouring of difference. There are a wide variety of methods
employed to meet the diversity of needs presented by different people whether
they be suffering from early wounding, neurotic conflicts or existential
questions about who they are and where their life is going.
The imagination is the medium through which many processes in Psychosynthesis
Psychotherapy happen. We emphasises the exploration of the symbolic process
through the use of creative visualization and mental imagery. In complement to
expanding awareness, there is the development of the capacity to Will. Assagioli
set much store by people learning to face the challenges that life set them -
the blessings of obstacles he called them.