This 2002 book is far and away more clear and coherent on Psychosynthesis than any other presentation I know. I’ve been familiar with Psychosynthesis since the 1970s, when it and every other method of personal growth were popular. I own a few books on it and have read more. Even tho, Assagioli seemed a person of rare insight, no books by him nor others struck me as clear, coherent view of Psychosynthesis as a theory and method.
I believe part of the strength of the presentation by Firman and Gila lies in its use of Goethean theory and method applied to human psychology.
Compared to this 2002 re-statement of Psychosynthesis, many 1900s “psychologies” seem more like only theories and/or pieces of theories; in very much the sense of the poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”
Only an effective use of Goethean Psychology can identify all significant pieces of an invisible whole; then, “hear the parts sounding together.” That’s how you can perceive an invisible elephant, such as “psychology.”
A modern phrase exists for “hearing the parts sounding together:” “Some assembly required.” This the 2002 text makes evident also.
Psychosynthesis primarily addresses the top two of the three domains of the invisible elephant of ‘psychology of soul in the human experience’
Starting on page 191, the Conclusion can perhaps be revised to reveal how a skillful user can view the whole of human psychology thru the lens of Psychosynthesis:
A theory of soul in the human experience is represented here in:
– The oval-shaped diagram of the whole of each individual’s psyche,
– The obviousness of the “I” in adults, central yet fallible (Conscious Waking Self),
– The obviousness of sub-personalities” in our waking behaviors and expressions,
– The obviousness of how our “authentic self” is somehow opposed to our “survival personality,” appearing in emergencies and when we are stressed,
– The obviousness of unresolved mental-emotional disturbances,
– The obviousness of how “growing up” does not mean losing what you learned and became practiced at earlier stages:
Infant, Child, Adolescent, and younger Adult. We are taught to forget our ‘younger selves;’ however, our child habits remain, our adolescent habits remain, and so on.
The arrangement of memories and habits learned at each stage, can be imagined as concentric ovals or spheres, around our conscious, waking “I am.” See diagram on page 118. Closest I can find online is an “egg diagram” ://www.aap-psychosynthesis.org/What-is-Psychosynthesis
Some readers may prefer this version: ://www.psychosynthesispaloalto.com/linkpages/model.html
Developmental theory in Psychosynthesis is represented as our initial place-holder self-awareness maturing-up, in a journey thru phases we call Child, Adolescent, and younger Adult. Somewhere in the later two stages, a Conscious Waking Self becomes more self-aware and more functional as an independent being.
For those looking for increased harmony between our younger selves, methods, techniques, strategies and tactics exist. No method is set in stone in Psychosynthesis. Methods are somewhat customized for each client.
Finally, self-realization is real. Tho very uncommon, everyone benefits from starting the journey, taking baby steps, as they are able, thruout adulthood.
Assagioli was very much part of the first generation of psychologist-practitioners interested in “self-actualization.” What Maslow called “experiences,” Assagioli called “transpersonal development.” The choice of terms is the readers. Take your pick of “higher states of consciousness,” “spirituality,” and “human experiencing beyond the individual self” (transpersonal).
I quote from the review on this page by “seeker:”
“In developing psychosynthesis, Assagioli agreed with Freud, healing childhood trauma, developing a healthy ego, were necessary aims of psychotherapy; yet, human growth can not be limited to this alone.
‘The wounding we have suffered, the sub-personalities developed within us, need more than recognition. They need acceptance, inclusion and synthesis, which can only happen in an atmosphere of empathy. Then, and only then, can we become authentic, fully conscious people, who do not need addictions and compulsions as crutches. No wonder self-awareness is not enough!”
A Psychology of the Spirit uses case studies sparingly and strategically I think only three cases detailed. Each of these is then referred to multiple times in future pages, each time highlighting a new aspect-insight demonstrated.
A possible down-side is the author is probably an INFJ in MBTI like myself. If INFJ is not your cup of tea, beware of deep waters!
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Author, Health Intuitive, Bruce Dickson online: