[Mandala by Clare Goodwin]

Psychosynthesis Typology and Experience of the Self
by John W. Cullen, Ph.D.

Assagioli on Psychosynthesis Typology

In 1976 Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, wrote a paper in Italian, "I Tipi Umani," (Psychosynthesis Typology)1. This paper was made available to a wider audience through an English translation by the Institute of Psychosynthesis: London, in 1983.2

Assagioli describes seven psychosynthesis types: Will, Love, Active-Practical, Creative-Artistic, Scientific, Devotional-Idealistic and Organizational. For each type, he describes the physical, emotional, mental, personal and transpersonal (superconscious) characteristics. Of particular interest was his description of the transpersonal qualities.

Inevitable Grace

In 1990, Piero Ferrucci carried Assagioli's thoughts to another level by studying breakthroughs in the lives of great men and women.3 He classified these breakthroughs based upon what he called Ways. These ways are similar to the types that Assagioli described: Will, Action, Beauty, Science, Devotion, Dance and Ritual. I had some concern that Ferrucci had omitted Love. However in personal correspondence he indicated that Love was on all the Ways. Ferrucci provides many examples of the Experience of Self or Transpersonal Experiences for each Way. He proposes that the origin of these experiences is the Self.

Peak Experiences

Peak experiences have been of significant interest in psychosynthesis. Many psychosynthesis workshops include exercises to enable participants to explore their peak experiences.4 (For an example of such an exercise click here.)

I have been interested in this phenomenon for many years and have collected many examples of peak experiences in the workshops that are conducted for managers. An analysis of these experiences indicates that for most managers, peak experiences tend to be associated with Will, Active, Scientific and Organizational.

Unfortunately, I have little data regarding the peak experiences of psychosynthesis therapists. However, recently a group of experienced therapists have shared their Experiences with Self. Although subject to interpretation, most of these experiences tend to be associated with Love, Beauty and Devotion. This suggests that the types of managers and psychosynthesis therapists tend to differ. More about this later.

The Types Personality Profile (TPP)

The TPP was developed as an initial attempt to assess psychosynthesis typology based upon the works of Assagioli and Ferrucci.5 A Manual for the TPP has been prepared which contains many case studies.6 Of particular interest is the difference in types by managers and psychosynthesis therapists. This study supported the conclusions mentioned above. Statistically, managers tend to be Will, Active, Scientific and Organizational, while psychosynthesis therapists tend to be Love, Beauty and Devotional. This suggests again that their experiences of Self may differ.

The TPP includes a Questionnaire, Scoring Sheet and General Interpretation. A manual and a monograph describing a workshop based upon types is "The Manager of the Future. Leadership in the 90's: An Introduction to Psychosynthesis Typology"7 by John Cullen. (this is out of print and no longer available - ed.)

Another practical application of psychosynthesis typology to manager development is available from Synthesis Concepts, 464 Deerhurst Ave. Camarillo, CA 930128

Moore has extended the application of psychosynthesis typology to group dynamics.9


The subject of Psychosynthesis Typology is an integral part of psychosynthesis theory and applications. The following quote from Assagioli suggests the following: "But the essential unity of all souls does not exclude differences existing in their personal appearances. Therefore, we must make a serious study of these different qualities. This study should become more and more a part of the new psychology. We should endeavor to understand the true nature, the underlying function and purpose, the specific problems, virtues and vices of each type, as it manifests in and through a human individual."10


1. Assagioli, R. I Tipi Umani. Firenze: Istituto di Psicosintesi, 1976.
2. Assagioli, R. Psychosynthesis Typology. Institute of Psychosynthesis: London. 1983.
3. Ferrucci, P. Inevitable Grace Tarcher. Los Angeles. 1990.
4. Cullen, J. & Russell, D. The Self-Actualizing Manager: An Introduction to Managerial Psychosynthesis. IAMOP. Thousand Oaks. CA. 1990.
5. Holt. L. Development of Personality Assessment Instrumentation for Business Application. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. University Without Walls. Santa Monica. 1984.
6. Cullen, J. & Holt, L. IAMOP Monograph 8-1. Leadership Theory and Psychosynthesis Typology: A Manual for the Types Personality Profile. IAMOP. Thousand Oaks, CA. 1991.
7. Cullen, J. IAMOP Monograph 7-5. The Manager of the Future: Leadership in the 90s: An Introduction to Psychosynthesis Typology. IAMOP. Thousand Oaks, CA 1990.
8. Burd, J. Scott. Profiles of Leadership Synthesis Concepts. Camarillo, CA 1994.
9. Moore, R. Development of Managerial Styles Assessment Techniques for the Management of Group Dynamics. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Summit University. 1995.
10. Assagioli, R. "Loving Understanding." Psicosintesi. October 1994. Firenze, Italy.

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