Psychosynthesis is a unique form of psychotherapy, which incorporates both personality and spiritual aspects. It combines many different approaches and techniques as a means of helping the patient grow to their full potential. Based on psychoanalysis and the works of Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, it was first explored and developed by Roberto Assagioli, M.D., in 1911 when he first began studying psychology. Psychosynthesis was much expanded upon during Assagioli’s incarceration in 1938, where he meditated and turned his punishment into an opportunity of self-discovery. His papers on psychosynthesis were not published until 1965, which was the same year he founded The Psychosenthesis and Education Trust Center in Britain. He died only nine years later in 1974. Since Assagioli’s death, psychosynthesis has only thrived.

Goals of Psychosynthesis

Psychosynthesis believes that we each have a large amount of potential that will generally go unused, so the goal is for us to find the power within ourselves to reach the fullest potential we can. While it may not be possible to reach our fullest potential, psychosynthesis strives for personal growth by means of evolution. Naturally and evolutionarily, we have a drive for reaching (or “synthesizing”) higher levels of self, but psychosynthesis makes this a conscious effort, which helps this natural process. By putting specific techniques and ideas into a framework, psychosynthesis assists further growth development. The end goal is for the client to discover themselves on a spiritual level and to incorporate that into their everyday lives. It seeks to allow the client to and be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do.

When is Psychosynthesis Used?

While psychosynthesis is very spiritual and often regarded as a way of life, it is far from religious, so anyone from any particular religious background (or lack thereof) can benefit from this form of therapy. It can also be used for families and groups rather than only individually, and at any age.

Psychosynthesis can be used for a number of different crises. Common ones include a feeling that life has lost its meaning or purpose, a feeling of being torn between different desires, struggling with continuous challenges, dealing with life changes, or general feelings of confusion, alienation, depression, and emptiness. Psychosynthesis can also help in dealing with a childhood trauma and sustaining relationships with other people.

How Psychosynthesis Works

Psychosynthesis includes seven different core concepts: Disidentification, Personal Self, Will, the Ideal Model, Synthesis, the Superconscious, and the Transpersonal Self.

Disidentification describes being unattached to the identity of any certain thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, but rather being able to consciously drift through all of them. This allows the patient to interact with all of them as a means of having a deeper experience. Disidentification can be just as unpleasant as it can be serene due to the wide array of feelings we can experience. Personal Self refers to self-awareness, which is different from our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It has more to do with our introspection and experiences. Consciously observing the contents of our experiences reveals the natural of one’s personal “self”.

Will involves three different categories, the first being the aspects which make up the will such as strong, good, transpersonal, and skillful. The second is the qualities of will such as organization, determination, initiative, concentration, mastery, persistence, and energy. The final category is the stages of the act of will which are purpose, deliberation, choice, affirmation, planning, and direction of execution. The purpose of will is to balance and utilize any experienced energies and activities without repression.

The Ideal Model is made up of four stages: exploration of the personality, the emergence of “I” (or the personal self), contact with the Self, and response to the Self. As a whole this represents the I-Self relationship. Guidance from the Self (aka the sense of truth) should be present in every stage.

Synthesis describes the movement toward unity within the personality. This is achieved by synthesizing the sub-personalities within ourselves. The Superconscious is made up of transpersonal qualities, which are often threatened such as humor, creativity, love, and wisdom. The Transpersonal Self is the spiritual realization or “final truth” of the patient.

Criticisms of Psychosynthesis

According to Assagioli himself, psychosynthesis is short for bio-psychosynthesis as it includes the body, or bios. However, the body is not used in this form of psychotherapy at all. It has also been said that since psychosynthesis includes so many different techniques, practices, and strategies, psychosynthesis itself is vague and can be whatever you want it to be.


Firman, J. " I" and Self: Revisioning Psychosynthesis. John Firman, 1991.

Assagioli, R. Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principals and Techniques. Viking Press, 1965.

Whitmore, D. Psychosynthesis counselling in action. Sage, 2004.

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