[Mandala by Clare Goodwin]

from the October, 1994 issue of the journal
Psicosintesi: Psychosynthesis Institute Magazine
Instituto Di Psicosintesi
via S. Domenico n.16 - I
50133 Firenze

Therapeutic Psychosynthesis. Does it exist?
Author: O.K.
Translated from Italian

Who is a psychosynthetic psychotherapist? The answer is apparently simple: the therapist who applies the principles of Psychosynthesis. Psychosynthesis is a discipline that, considering "the normal human being", investigates the processes of development, growth, and evolution.

It is interesting to see that only some of the works of psychiatry, psychopathology, and psychotherapy, also those recently published, give only a few lines to the aspects of the normal human being. The research on the characteristics of such a human being gives rise to a sort of sense of irony in the researcher of psychopathologic causes and therapy, as if it were useless. Even today normality is described based on the comparison with pathology or the average human behaviour.

It is not possible to distinguish from this view the DSM III A, which evaluates normality or pathology with statistical points, which is based on social adaptability. With more scientific terminology this view is nothing less than that of the person in the street, who proclaims his/her normality, giving as proof the fact that he/she has a family, a car, and the possibility to go to a restaurant on Saturday evening.

Roberto Assagioli in the attached "A" of the Statute of the Institute of Psychosynthesis underlines that "it is well to bear in mind that the central core (of Psychosynthesis that forms its essence is original." He believes that it is important to not present a distorted and diluted version of it and neither one that is excessively coloured by concepts and by the tendencies of the various contemporary schools.

"Some fundamental factors and the conceptual elaboration are unquestionable." These factors are:

  1. disidentification;
  2. the personal Self;
  3. the will: good, strong, and able;
  4. the ideal model;
  5. synthesis;
  6. the superconscious;
  7. the transpersonal Self.

These seven points represent the nucleus, the core of Psychosynthesis and the chapters of the physiology of human beings. It is the process of growth at human kind that interests Assagioli, and in its study his genius can be seen.

For Assagioli healing is essentially an existential healing, intended as not only the disappearance of the symptoms, but as a greater possession and availability of one's total self. On this concept every psychosynthetic therapist should carefully reflect. The formative Psychosynthesis of the patient (for formative we mean the development and integration of human potentials) is, thus, the hinge and not an accessory to therapy, whatever the pathology be. Therapy is an attribute, not the essence of Psychosynthesis. It is a garment (or may be a mask?) that psychosynthetists have applied to be able to present themselves and survive in the professional and scientific world.

Is it therapy in its true and common sense, that which intervenes on the fundamental contents of psychiatry? Assagioli wrote: Principles and methods of therapeutic Psychosynthesis. The principles, those reported here, refer to the 7 points above mentioned and to the two diagrams at the ovoid and of the star, and are pertinent and presented for formation. The techniques, tens of them annotated in the text, are borrowed from other theories (analytical, gestaltic, dynamic, systemic, behavioral, imaginative, bioenergetic, of relaxation, etc.). The techniques are cited and summarily described. For an in depth explanation and their appraisal one must then go to the schools that have proposed and studied them in depth.

There exists, therefore, Psychosynthesis that is a formative-educative school whose model can also be applied to therapeutic techniques from other theories, transforming it into a psychological formative school and then therapeutic. The term "therapeutic Psychosynthesis" without bearing in mind these concepts is wrong and it is deceptive and represents a non-existent reality.

Why did Assagioli follow the more difficult way to diffuse Psychosynthesis and did not directly write about about psychosynthetic formation? This question must be put to a scientific medical, and psychiatric world immersed in pathology, which considered as valid and significative only that which referred to the pathology. Psychology did not exist as a subject of autonomous study and diffusion if not only for a few and isolated scholars who were interested only in the formation and growth of humankind.