Last updated March 2023 |
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Psychosynthesis is a therapeutic approach that derives from psychoanalysis. It focuses on self-development and growth. This allows a person to change their direction in life based on their meanings and values.
Here, we’ll explain the theory behind psychosynthesis, how it works, and look at some of the problems it can help with.
What is psychosynthesis?
Psychosynthesis was developed in the early 20th century by Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli. Unlike Freud, Assagioli believed in a more inclusive concept of humanity. This is one that integrated spiritual as well psychological elements. Psychosynthesis explores the ways that people harmonise aspects of their personal self to grow and develop.
A key assumption of psychosynthesis is that every human being has the potential to grow as a person. This thought is based on a natural tendency to synthesise all parts of their being to become the fullest realisation of themselves. Psychosynthesis is the conscious attempt to cooperate with this process of personal development. The goal is to foster awareness, self-healing, and form a greater connection to the ever-changing nature of human life.
How is psychosynthesis used in counselling/therapy?
Psychosynthesis follows a therapeutic framework, meaning that the counsellor frames how their client views human relationships. This can help individuals to overcome a range of life challenges using a change-orientated approach.
Psychosynthesis therapists work to establish a specific relationship with their clients. They will draw on a range of techniques to guide them through the process of self-actualisation and self-realisation. This forms an important part of therapy as it helps clients discover a higher spiritual level of consciousness. In turn, this facilitates positive change and personal growth.
Theories of psychosynthesis
The practice of psychosynthesis is based on the idea that every person only uses a small part of their potential. It suggests that we are all capable of leading fulfilling lives. To uncover a person's inner wisdom, psychosynthesis counselling will focus on the exploration of feelings, thoughts, sensations, and spirits. This helps to uncover any internal conflicts and blocks.
Working through challenges with a counsellor helps clients rediscover inner resources and strengths, which aids personal growth and development. The process is enhanced when a client learns to cooperate and feels confident accessing every part of their being - letting their inner self work freely.
Another assumption of psychosynthesis is the belief that, out of every crisis or challenge, something new will emerge. This will lead us to the path of growth and transformation. Psychosynthesis therapists believe that, while we cannot always control what comes our way, we do have a choice about how we respond and relate to these events. The therapist will try to help clients find a new sense of direction that provides a source of empowerment, even after periods of suffering.
Psychosynthesis is an open, developing psychology that seeks to facilitate human growth within the context of a person’s own deepest aspirations and life path.
To successfully help their clients, a psychosynthesis therapist must establish an authentic, safe, and trusting relationship. Rather than giving advice, they will guide their client through exploration and discovery. This helps them to find their own solutions to the particular challenges they are faced with. A transpersonal, or spiritual, context may also be fostered. This allows a client to project their feelings onto the therapist to illuminate and give meaning to certain issues, paving the way for inspiration and creativity toward a brighter future.
In this video, psychotherapist and psychosynthesis practitioner Paul Henry PgDip MBACP (Accred) outlines what psychosynthesis is, including what you can expect in a session and the tools used.
How does psychosynthesis work?
The process of psychosynthesis can be divided into two stages: personal and transpersonal. The personal stage involves the healing and integration of aspects of the personality and the personal self. This is achieved through the process of self-actualisation. A personal approach means the client is able to identify and establish control over these aspects of their being. This helps them to meet a higher level of functioning in terms of their work, relationships, and other areas of life that are meaningful to them.
The second stage - transpersonal psychosynthesis - involves the self-realisation part of therapy. During this stage, the client establishes contact with their deepest callings and desired goals in life. By achieving alignment with the transpersonal self, the client can access their inner guidance and wisdom. This enables them to discover enhanced creativity, spirituality, and an expanded state of consciousness.
Ultimately, these stages are designed to help clients discover the deep core of who they truly are. By building on a client's personal qualities, spirituality, and self-development, psychosynthesis can help them to utilise their free will and inner resources. Understanding this helps remove inner conflicts and creates a sense of balance and harmony in a person's life.
Driving this process forward is a diverse range of techniques drawn from other therapeutic approaches. These are tailored to a client's individual needs, existential situation, desired goals, and path of development.
Therapists will ensure the techniques used will address the client as a whole. This helps them to identify, understand, and accept each layer of their inner selves, as they are revealed one by one.
Within the psychosynthesis framework, methods often used will include:
Psychosynthesis has several strengths - including having a varied range of practical methods that ensure access to, and recognition of, a deeper part of the human self. It ensures that personal growth and development happen according to a client's inner wisdom. Their natural capacity for change and growth that lies deep within is allowed to surface at a steady pace and according to its own pattern.
Furthermore, psychosynthesis addresses all parts of a client's being. This enables them to work through the self-destructive behaviours and conflicts that are hindering their growth, without creating further problems. This makes it hugely beneficial for people suffering from issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, trauma, and work or relationship problems. In essence, anything that is impacting self-worth, well-being, and life fulfilment can be addressed with psychosynthesis.
Additional benefits of psychosynthesis include:
Offers insight into how problems can be a catalyst for growth and transformation.
Provides a toolbox of coping and life skills for further development beyond therapy.
Helps individuals to rediscover value, meaning and purpose in life.
Promotes healing from early childhood trauma or abuse.
Increases self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.
Helps people to become more intuitive and creative.
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