[Mandala by Clare Goodwin]

The Horizons of Psychosynthesis
by Roberto Assagioli, M.D.
(Meeting of Directors of Italian Centers of Psychosynthesis, December 1973)

Dear friends, we would like to take a tour of the ample psychosynthesis horizon. Given the time available we can only give a brief outline of the various aspects and speak about them briefly, but I will give you the text of my introduction so that you then can carry it out with your contributions, written comments and developments. If it is possible, we can have another meeting later to examine them together.

The meetings, both here in the Institute and in your centers, will consist of lessons and exercises, as in the past years, always focusing on the exercises. As regards the lessons, the themes could be the following: first, a presentation with comments from my new book "Principles and Methods of Therapeutic Psychosynthesis". Second, the theme of the Will, which some of you have already started on. I will let you have the translation of the new chapters, that is of those that are not in the issues that you have of the last few years. This could be the start of what is called in the book the Will Project: there is also a questionnaire for you, an actuation program of the Act of Will. You could choose for yourselves the other themes. In general, I would propose to "limit" yourselves, so to speak, to the fields of psychosynthesis that, as I will indicate later, are various. You could speak also about some of the scholars that have an affinity with psychosynthesis: Maslow, Frankl, and Rogers.

In presenting the book, it is opportune to say that it does not regard only therapy. The techniques and the exercises described can be used also for individual psychosynthesis (self-training) and psychosynthetic education. We find more and more that there are no clear limits, neither substantial differences, between a healthy person and a suffering person. In fact, as you all know, someone has said, with evident exaggeration, that "there are no suffering people, but that society is suffering and makes those who are dominated by it suffer".

Based on the local conditions and possibilities, it could be opportune to do this separately or in two courses: one, for newcomers. An elementary course explaining the basics, principles, attitude of psychosynthesis. And for the others, who have participated for some time, more extensive development courses.

I would like to speak about the fields of action of psychosynthesis:

  • First, and above all, training and self-training, beginning with ourselves and continuing for all our life.
  • Second, the educative field.
  • Third, the therapeutic field, that can be distinguished in the specialized one, that is for those who deal with neuropsychic disturbances, and the generic and psychosomatic one aimed at doctors that recognize the interaction of body and psyche.
  • Fourth, the interpersonal field, of human relationships, principally those of the couple, but also between parents and children, teachers and students, employers and employees and generally between those who command others and those who are commanded.
  • Fifth, the social-individual field between human groups, from the family group to the various groups that one belongs to; professional, national, etc., tending towards human psychosynthesis.

Naturally, in a one year program, and also of several years, it is not possible to carry out fully the activity in all these fields. Each center can choose the field or fields that it thinks necessary according to its preferences and disposition, the environment and local opportunities.

It is important to distinguish in each field between the personal and transpersonal level. In many cases one can or one must be limited to personal psychosynthesis, without entering into the transpersonal field. But when one can speak also of the transpersonal aspect, the better, above all because with their questions people compel us to enter this field. We must always bear in mind that transpersonal experiences are real facts, and as facts can be scientifically studied, that is in an empirical and objective way, with scientific method in the widest meaning of the word. That which is interesting, and also difficult, is the examination of those that can be called "mixed cases", that is of the reactions in the personality of the flux of transpersonal energy on the one hand, and of aspirations and tendencies of the personality towards transpersonal goals, on the other. We could say that, at a higher octave, there is a complex reciprocal interaction, analogue to that between body and psyche.

An activity that some of us and others believe should be developed is that of greater connections, first between the various centers in Italy, and then with the Foundations, Institutes and centers all over the world. One way is that of reciprocally inviting the workers at one center to speak to those of others. Another development is that of favoring the formation of centers where now they do not exist. The ideal situation would be that there were a center in every administrative center of each region and also in many provinces. But, it is not necessary to rush, as it depends on WHO is able to run these centers. Thus, before thinking of a place it is necessary to find or "train" a person who can promote and sustain the activity of the center. As normal, the organization comes after and must be at the service of the "living" part of the work.

There are then great possibilities for development: to work in new fields or those that have been up to now little cultivated. First, educative psychosynthesis, that must be first carried out in the family, and then introduced into schools of every level, from junior school to university. Children often and willingly carry out elementary exercises such as those of silence, visualization, etc.

Finally, an efficient way to diffuse psychosynthesis is that of the publication of written material: first of all book reviews; then articles in various magazines and journals, and also translations. Also here, it would be opportune to have good lines of communication so as to not produce duplicates. It would be opportune to continue the free distribution of books and pamphlets to libraries and cultural centers, first "psychosynthesis, for harmony of life" that is of a more general interest, and then the pamphlets aimed at various environments.

This leads to the principle problem: that of the preparation of operators. Here, it is well to distinguish between three principle types of operators:

  1. Those in a general field, of diffusion of psychosynthesis, who do not need any specialized certificate: if they have one, so much the better, but it is only necessary that they know psychosynthesis well.
  2. The field of educators, in this it is necessary that there are teachers working in schools, or psychologists that are called on to perform psychological tests and that in these occasions can carry out much psychosynthesis.
  3. This is the most difficult field: the therapeutic one. Here, as you know, there is something new: a national roll of psychotherapists is being prepared by the Ministry of Public Education, and it will include non-medical psychotherapists. We must remember that the majority of psychotherapists are not medical doctors, beginning with psychoanalysts.

The same is true for the followers of Jung: many of them are not doctors. It is thus opportune that also the psychosynthetic psychotherapists come forward and become peers of Psychoanalysts, of the followers of Jung and of others.

This has caused the foundation of an "Association of Therapeutic Psychosynthesis" I would like to make it clear that this Association is opportune for legalization and official recognition; but it must be completely independent of the Istituto di Psicosintesi because it as a registered non-profit charity is a cultural institute and is not able to carry out any therapy. Therefore, it is well that the Association be completely independent of the Institute. Some of you can obviously work in both fields, but in a distinct way. In this panorama we can exchange ideas and proposals on what has been said.