Psychosynthesis is a developmental approach that is effective as short or long-term therapy. Psychosynthesis is a powerful and transformative type of Transpersonal Psychology. The following is a brief description of its origins.
In 1911, as a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Italy, Roberto Assagioli began developing the insight that even 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.
Birth of Transpersonal Psychology
Though Freud and Jung were colleagues of Assagioli, there was a fundamental difference in their theories of psychology. Whereas Freud acknowledged the lower unconscious and Jung acknowledged the collective unconscious, Assagioli maintained that just as there is a lower unconscious and collective unconscious, there is also a middle unconscious and superconscious.
He describes this as a realm of the psyche that contains our highest potential – the Self, the source of our unique human path of development. This is the realm of values and of peak experiences, later to be studied by Abraham Maslow, which gave birth to the field of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology.
Assagioli formulated his discoveries into an approach he called Psychosynthesis. This term, of course, distinguishes it from Psychoanalysis, but Assagioli did not mean thereby to replace the insights of psychoanalysis, but rather to include the past within the context of the awakening of the Self. Plumbing the depths of the past and healing childhood traumas are as crucial to psychosynthesis as it is to other psychological orientations.
The Unfolding Self
In Psychosynthesis, this uncovering work is carried out within the context of discovering and expressing the rich inner resources of the unfolding Self. Psychosynthesis then is not simply a model of pathology and treatment, but a developmental approach which can help guide a person to understand the meaning of their human life within the broad context of synthesis – the drive towards the harmonization of all relationships, whether intrapersonal or interpersonal, between individuals and groups.