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Psychosynthesis is a synthesis of several different theoretical models and traditions including Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Gestalt and Transpersonal theories, and was developed in Florence by an Italian doctor and psychiatrist called Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974). Following his medical training Assagioli practised as a psychiatrist before training as a psychoanalyst and was in dialogue with both Freud and Jung. Early in his career Assagioli became dissatisfied with Freudian thinking because he felt that it was missing an essential aspect of the human being, man’s higher aspirations and spirituality. Psychosynthesis has been described as ‘a psychology with a soul’ which means that as well as working with the personality it also honours intuition, wisdom, inspiration, love and the creative potential inherent in all of us. Assagioli has been quoted as saying that while psychoanalysis concerned itself with the basement of the human psyche, psychosynthesis concerned itself with the whole building. Assagioli spent many years researching the other great ‘thinkers’ of his time and considered himself a ‘thief’ in the development of his theory which has it’s roots in psychoanalysis and includes his interest in philosophy, psychosomatic medicine, eastern mysticism and the esoteric traditions.

“Psychosynthesis has evolved naturally, and I would say spontaneously, from the ground, or out of the main stem, of psychoanalysis, as a method of psychotherapy – or, more precisely, as a body of techniques and methods coordinated and directed towards the achievement of a complete and harmonious development of the human personality.

Roberto Assagioli (Psychosomatic Medicine and Bio-Psychosynthesis)

The principal aim of Psychosynthesis is to integrate and therefore 'synthesise' or bring together the different, and often conflicting parts of us, around an aware centre that is able to stand back and reflect and therefore choose 'how to be' and 'how to act'. An analogy of this would be an orchestra needing to find a conductor who, as an aware centre, can see all the musicians and the different sections of the orchestra and from this vantage point he can bring them together to play in harmony. This inner harmony and connection to our deepest most authentic self can then extend outwards in our relationships with others and the world we live in.