What is Psychosynthesis?
"Psychosynthesis is a method of psychological development and Self realisation for those who refuse to remain the slaves of their own inner phantasms or of external influences, who refuse to submit passively to the play of psychological forces which is going on within them, and who are determined to become master of their own lives."
Psychosynthesis can help us discover our true spiritual nature then to effectively use this discovery in everyday life. We can bring our unique creative potential to life, increase our ability to function harmoniously in the world, and improve the quality of all our relationships.
By including spiritual as well as physical, emotional and mental needs, Psychosynthesis restores a balance between the various parts of the personality and helps us to establish a deep connection to soul. Psychosynthesis is an open, non-dogmatic approach to personal and spiritual development that offers a vision both for the release of unconscious patterns of conflict and restriction, and for the expression of potential.
Roberto Assagioli described Psychosynthesis as being essentially about '...the genuine living experience of interpersonal and inter-individual communications, relationships, interplay; by cooperation between individuals, and among groups - and even by a blending, through intuition, empathy, understanding and identification.'
Psychosynthesis, being heart-centered, integrative and holistic, is an important psychology for the 21st Century. Each of us has our own unique way of perceiving and interacting with the world influenced by our past, childhood experiences. Psychosynthesis asserts that we also have potential, a 'future' within us, a connection to which brings purpose and meaning to both individual and collective acts.
Psychosynthesis is primarily practical and integrates principles, ideas and techniques from many approaches to both personal and spiritual growth, such as guided imagery, visualization, inner dialogue, free drawing, body movement, meditation, story-telling, and dream awareness, as well as more traditional analytical methods. It is not about the application of techniques, however, but learning to live with a vision that comes from deep within oneself.
To integrate something simply means to combine its parts into a whole, usually in co-operation with someone or something else. The process of putting these parts together is a definition of the work of psychosynthesis, always with the aim to co-operate with the process as it naturally happens, not imagining or expecting it to be complete, to accept that evolution implies devolution and the process of integration includes dis-integration, to recognize we are part of the process not its goal.
Everything we do is integrative. We live not in isolation but with someone or something else - with ourselves, with family, partners, objects, people, the world. This process of living with involves a continual integration - putting together the pieces of ourselves, our relationships to other people, and between ourselves and the world.
What makes Psychosynthesis unique is that it marries the more spiritual approaches often found in transpersonal therapies and spiritual paths with sound psychological methods to create a soul-based therapeutic system. Perhaps part of its effectiveness is that it is neither a cultish system of esotericism, nor a closed system of psychology. It encourages each person to follow his or her own spiritual and ethical values.
Wise and Compassionate
Psychosynthesis clearly has social as well as therapeutic and spiritual aspects. Through deepening our connection to our essential divinity, to the immortal self within, our ability to shed light in our surroundings, transform our environment, and live with spiritual creativity is intensified. We use imagination to create the world in which we live, and will, properly tempered by love, is the force by which we maintain it. The underlying key to Psychosynthesis is aligning personal will with transpersonal intent (or true will.) As Roberto Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis, put it, we then have: 'The strength and the power to express compassion according to wisdom; the wisdom and compassion to use power for the greatest good.'
Whilst it is important to keep Psychosynthesis up-to-date, including insights from modern research and practice, it is also important to honour the deeper vision of psychosynthesis, recognizing that the dark side of our nature is equally part of the soul's journey as is the light. From this viewpoint, psychosynthesis brings a dynamic sense of self to the present moment, and returns a sense of value and meaning to ourselves and to our future, individually and collectively.
The work of Psychosynthesis requires looking deeply into the here and now relational situation of one's life and the issues such a focus brings, uncovering past events that carry meaning, watching the messages of the unconscious through dreams, the use of language, and therapeutic procedures. We learn to be mindful, listening to and carefully watching the body and external world as prime sources of unconscious relating. We hold the belief that every individual has the potential to heal, and that the best healing happens through the body and in everyday life experience.