Psychosynthesis: Assagioli’s transpersonal psychology

Assagioli’s (1986/65) model of Psychosynthesis has been one of the most influential forces within transpersonal psychology (van Dierendonck, Garssen, and Visser, 2005). Assagioli was one of the first in the field of psychology to stand up for the idea that spiritual development should be included in the therapeutic environment as a part of normal human development. Psychosynthesis includes four main stages:

First stage . The first stage involves “an extensive exploration of the vast regions of our unconscious” (Assagioli, 1965, p. 21). This includes diving into the pit of our “lower unconscious” where we will discover “the dark forces that ensnare and menace us — the ‘phantasms,’ the ancestral or childish images that obsess or silently dominate us, the fears that paralyze us, the conflicts that waste our energies.” (p. 21).

Second stage.  After we discover the dark forces in our unconscious, we have to “take possession of them and acquire control over them.” (p.22) To accomplish this, Assagioli presents a method called “disidentification,” He states that “we are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. We can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify ourselves” (p.22)

Third Stage. In this stage one seeks to find the “unifying center” (p. 24) of ones true self. This stage is working toward expanding “personal consciousness into the self” (p. 24) or, otherwise stated to unite the lower self with the higher self.

Fourth Stage. This stage involves building a new personality around the ‘unifying center’ or self. In this stage there is a development of the awareness of purpose of the self in living this life.

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