Psychosynthesis is an approach to human development fostered by Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) beginning around 1910 and continuing to the present day.
It is both a theory and practice where the focus is to achieve a synthesis, a coming together, of the various parts of an individual’s personality into a more cohesive self. That person can then function in a way that is more life-affirming and authentic.
Another major aspect of psychosynthesis is its affirmation of the spiritual dimension of the person, i.e. the “higher” or “transpersonal” self. The higher self is seen as a source of wisdom and inspiration.
The core process in counselling is based upon the belief that within each of us there exists a part, our core, which is already healthy, whole and free, regardless of how much dissatisfaction, pain or distress we may be experiencing in our lives.
Through working with awareness and compassion we can begin to see the ways in which we cut ourselves off from our true nature and the ways in which we create suffering for ourselves. In counselling we investigate our inner process by observing, and working with, our thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
The aim is not so much to change our experience, but rather to see more clearly how we relate to it. From this understanding it becomes possible to move with greater flexibility and creativity.
True healing is only possible when we can be present without judgement in our immediate experience. Our work is based on the understanding that within ourselves there is a deeper wisdom that moves naturally towards healing and integration.
These are some of the key values that psychosynthesis holds in the process of psychotherapy:
A deep spiritual understanding of the relationship between parts and wholes and how a spiritual perspective can deepen the experience of Self.
An optimistic emphasis on the unfolding potential of humans.
Practices such as ‘dis-identification’ to loosen the bonds of outdated personal beliefs and open to being part of a greater sense of self.
An understanding of the importance of meaning and purpose in any individual’s life.
An appreciation of the importance of Will in terms of self-responsibility and choice.
Psychosynthesis therapy provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for the exploration of personal issues and concerns.
The process begins with what is foreground in a person’s life and moves the client in the direction of the fullest expression of his or her own potential.
The work itself draws from from a diverse range of techniques and methods, depending on what is natural and most appropriate for each person.
Within the psychosynthesis framework, practitioners are trained to use guided imagery, gestalt, movement, assertive training, family systems work, breath-work, art therapy, journal writing, and meditation, among other techniques. Short term work may use the CBT model.
During the counselling process, each person is encouraged to seek guidance increasingly from within him or herself, and taught how to proceed independently, safely, and effectively without the assistance of the psychosynthesis guide.