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What is Psychosynthesis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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Psychosynthesis is a branch of the discipline of psychology which blends psychological and spiritual elements. Practitioners of psychosynthesis believe that an important part of treatment is helping people become spiritually and psychologically whole, and exploring the ways in which people harmonize various aspects of themselves. People who are interested in psychosynthesis as a form of therapy can find practitioners in many regions of the world.

This approach was developed in the early 1900s by Roberto Assagioli. He was intrigued by psychoanalysis, but felt that psychoanalysis alone was not enough to benefit patients, as it focused on psychological issues, but did not address spiritual ones. Assagioli's psychosynthesis approach was adopted by a number of practitioners, and it has been expanded upon and further developed over the years.

The practice of psychosynthesis differentiates from personal or psychological development and transpersonal or spiritual development. Both aspects of development are believed to be important in psychosynthesis, and they can be explored in a number of different ways, with the practitioner tailoring the approach to the needs of the patient. Treatment options can include simple talk therapy, the production of art, and the discussion of spiritual texts.

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One key aspect of psychosynthesis counseling is the exploration of diagrams developed by Assagioli to help visualize the process. The Egg and Star Diagrams are probably the most famous and most widely used, illustrating the union of personal and transpersonal elements and helping people work through the stages of their development. Over the course of therapy, therapist and client work together to identify areas in which the client may need work, and they explore ways to enrich personal development.

Some people appreciate this approach to therapy because they feel that a purely psychological approach does not fully serve their needs. Clients who struggle with spiritual issues and want an opportunity to discuss or work through may find psychosynthesis a more balanced approach, as it recognizes the different aspects of personal development as a whole, rather than focusing on one or another.

As with many other types of therapy, psychosynthesis does not take place on a brief time scale. Ideally, therapist and client work together for an extended period, sometimes for months or years, as they sequentially uncover issues and delve more deeply into various topics. Some people believe that therapy is never truly complete, because people are constantly evolving, and people should definitely not go into therapy with fixed ideas about how long it will take.

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