Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal system of understanding the human psyche that was developed in the early 20th century by Italian Pyschoanalyst Roberto Assagioli. Psychosynthesis shifts the focus away from pathology and towards an uncovering of our often dormant potential. It operates from the standpoint that each person, however confused or troubled, is essentially much more than their problems — they are a soul on a journey with the capacity for growth. We have 'intrinsic ok-ness,' that despite being covered by layers of conditioning or trauma at the level of the personality, remains untouched, expansive, free – intrinsically ok. Like a nugget of gold encrusted with dirt, however muddy, it can be gently uncovered – underneath it was always shining. Transpersonal means beyond the persona, and holds the view that beyond the individual components of our personalities we have a deeper identity which has always been ok. Transpersonal approaches seek to bring us into into closer relationship with our innate ok-ness that lies beyond the conflicts of our personality.
Diana Whitmore founder of the Psychosynthesis Trust suggests that the deepest reason for our suffering is that we have forgotten our true self. Symptoms such as depression or anxiety are seen as important reminders to rediscover who we really are, not merely a problem to be got rid of.
An important feature of Psychosynthesis is the recognition that we are not one homogenous personality but a collection of 'subpersonalities.' A subpersonality is a constellation of habits, thoughts, beliefs and emotions. For example we might have a 'people pleaser,' a 'rebel,' or an 'inner critic' among many others. These may sometimes come into conflict causing us psychological distress. An example might be a compulsive part of us that we struggle to control, who acts out despite us knowing it might not be good for us. Or an overly critical part of us who is berating us and making life a misery. Psychosynthesis therapy works with these ‘subpersonalities’ with the aim of making them more visible and conscious to us and therefore having more choice — for what is unconscious to us can control us.