Review: Psychosynthesis by Roberto Assagioli

This week I’m reading Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles and Techniques by Roberto Assagioli. Psychosynthesis is a practical method for personal growth that helps you to become a more whole person. It was created in 1910 by Roberto Assagioli because he believed psychoanalysis, as it was then, was incomplete. He put together a new set of principles that provide the formula for an entire transpersonal psychological system.

Psychosynthesis goes way beyond the Freudian obsession with libido, and includes the imagination, the soul, and the will, as well as the usual complexes and instincts. It explains how your psyche is structured and shows you how to bring all the various parts of your being together so they work in a more harmonious way.

The basic idea is to “release the energies of the Self,” but first you need to integrate and synthesize your personal self. After that you can transcend the personal ego and move towards the transpersonal Self. The book is packed with exercises and meditations you can do yourself – with or without a therapist. It uses the usual techniques, such as dream analysis and free association, and so on, but also includes visualisation, acceptance, acting “as if”, creativity, bibliotherapy, training of the will, dis-identification, and more.

“Psychosynthesis can be applied by the individual himself or herself, fostering and accelerating inner growth and self-actualisation, which should be the aim of all and which sometimes is felt as an imperative inner urge, as a vital existential necessity.”

It’s a dynamic and transformative approach to psychology, and includes a detailed description of the famous egg diagram of the self – probably one of the most helpful ways of illustrating how our consciousness works.

Many years ago, this book pulled me back from the brink. It provided the information and reassurance I needed to see that I was going through a process that I could manage and direct myself. This is a book to revisit and re-read many times. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles and Techniques is now out of print, but you can find copies to read online. It’s well worth the trouble – start here.

There are also helpful articles on Psychosynthesis available here

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