Psychosynthesis When one thinks of therapy one for the most part automatically thinks that therapy deals with emotional problems that a person is trying to over come. However, there is another aspect of an individual’s personality that also can be worked on during therapy, this aspect being the spiritual part of an individual. This type of therapy is known as psychosynthesis. In psychosynthesis, the goal or focus is for the individual to achieve synthesis, a coming together, of the different parts of an individual.
Once a person has achieved a more cohesive self that person can then function in a way that s more life affirming and authentic (Kelder, 1993). The way that a person is able to achieve this more cohesive self is by taking into consideration that part of an individual’s personality that deals with spirituality, which was mentioned earlier. This spiritual side ofa person or as some describes it as the “higher”, “deeper”, or “transpersonal” self is seen as a source of wisdom, inspiration, unconditional love, and the will to meaning in our lives (Kelder, 1993).
The primary use of psychosynthesis is in the field of psychotherapy but because it is a technique that an be universally applied to many fields it now has found its way into education, management, organizational development, and politics. (Kelder, 1993). Psychosynthesis counseling is for short term, six-session to help people who have problems such as panic attacks, aggression, psychosomatic symptoms, phobias, eating disorders and depression. “Psychosynthesis counselors also practice in crisis intermediate homes for drug offenders and delinquent adolescents. Whitmore, 2004, p. 157). ” Roberto Assagioli initiated psychosynthesis around 1910. Assagioli was an Italian sychiatrist as well was a member of the psychoanalytic group formed by Karl Jung in 1910. In his doctoral thesis he explored the possibilities of using analytical insight to understand human potential, inspiration and motivation. This human development approach is founded on the basic premise that we participate in an orderly universe structured to facilitate the evolution of consciousness.
An outcome is that each person’s life has purpose and meaning within this wider context and that it is possible for the individual to discover this. The individual seeks to discover what onnects the to others and the world around them by exploring existential issues and experience of that world and focusing on the interpersonal relationship the individual has within that world (Loewenthal & House, 2010, p. 117). In order to achieve this sense of clarity one must embrace change. Change is not achievable without self-knowledge.
One must have the will to bring about transformation. The use of self- knowledge or will is the capacity for choice or the ability to direct the self. The therapist besides helping the individual fgure out what presently is holding hem back also ultimately has to help the individual figure out the fundamental relationship between them and the world around them (Loewenthal & House, 2010, p. 116). The therapist does this through questioning, and through questioning the therapist is trying to reach the deeper meaning of what the individual is feeling or experiencing.
Everything contains an element of the individual’s psyche that is trying to come out and connect to the wider whole of the individual. By taping into the inner psyche the individual will experience the pain of the original wounding but this ime around there is tolerance and a greater sense that this aspect connects deep to who the individual is. While going through this process the relationship of therapist and individual deepens and there is mutual understanding and awareness, which will be explained in the first stage of psychosynthesis.
Going back to the foundation of psychosynthesis, which is helping an individual become whole, this is done by bringing the unconscious to the conscious. A therapist has to bring forward the survival personalities, as well as the defense mechanisms, which will be explained during the stages of psychosynthesis. Once these are brought to the conscious the individual can change their behavior, attitude and be more accepting of them. The journey of psychosynthesis has been divided into four stages. (1) Thorough knowledge of one’s personality, (2) control of the various elements of the personality, (3) realization of one’s true Self- the discovery or creation of a unifying center, and (4) psychosynthesis, the formation or reconstruction of the personality around the new center (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 96). ” Even though these stages are presented in chronological order it does not imply that these stages happen in that order, the tages can happen out of order, it is Just that one stage is in the foreground while the others are in the background.
There is no set amount of time a person will remain in a particular stage so it can be a couple of minutes. A person is never fully done with a stage, regardless of how much growth a person goes through they never outgrow that these stages are not provided for the person going through therapy instead these stages are provided for the therapist, so the therapist does not lose grasp of the foundation of psychosynthesis which is providing empathy (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 96-97). Stage zero or the survival stages deals with experiences where we have felt trauma, neglect, rejection, and denial.
That individual will experience primal wounding, which will be suppressed or repressed within the unconscious while creating survival strategies or survival personalities to avoid the pain that comes from those experiences, sometimes these survival personalities are created in our childhood. Those survival strategies, which later on we come to identify as who we are yet the true self remains buried. During this stage we feel some type of “balance” between comfort and security (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 8).
Stage one is the stage known as Exploration; the importance of this stage is the establishing of a rapport between therapist and client (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 107). It is from this rapport that exploration will emerge on its own. The task of the therapist is to bring clarity to the conflicts and dilemmas we struggle with on a constant biases. These conflicts and dilemmas stem from our sub consciousness that the therapist has to bring into harmonious integration around a unifying center. The therapist is there to provide “a true link, a point of connection between the personal man and his higher self.
Because the therapist gives that spiritual empathy the person is able to start to separate from that survival mode and focus on what the real issue is. The therapist does not know where the client will take the session, they only know that they must be supportive and show empathy, the focus is the person not the theory (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 111). Stage two or the emergence of “l” the person is able to freely exercise the functions of consciousness and will. During this stage the individual can express “via aspects of the personality rather than being unconsciously controlled by hem (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 15). ” Also in this stage the person can take more of an active role in their growth and partake in self-reflection. The persons reactions both emotional as well as cognitively are en expression of who “l am” and less of a reaction based on survival skills (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 1 16). Stage three is known as contact with self. During this stage the individual starts to try to find meaning and purpose. Some can confuse this as exploration but these questions deal with the person is searching for self a more conscious self-realization (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 121).
Psychosynthesis focuses on relationships, the relationship between therapist and client, the relationship with others but most importantly the relationship the individual has with themselves. During this stage the person will have more encounters with the “authentic unifying centers. ” These unifying centers can be “from human beings real and fictional, to inner symbols and outer environments, to formless intuitions and hunches, to religious and spiritual practices, to the arts and sciences, to animals and the natural world (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 122). ” The importance of mediation during the psychosynthesis process is key to this stage.
By partaking in meditation the person is able to connect to these unifying centers that will allow the person to go beyond set patters and see new ideas and insight (Whitmore, 2004, p. 141). By focusing on one topic the mind can go deep and examine the different levels of meaning in a more subjective way to find intuitive “enhances the effect of that image on the unconscious, and may assist in resolving inner conflicts and in transforming negative tendencies into positive ones (Whitmore, 2004, p. 142). ” The last step in psychosynthesis is when the person responds to self (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 3). Now that the client has a therapist who continuously shows them empathy, deepens their connection to unifying centers and starts to guide themselves they could start to respond to self in their lives by aligning themselves more to their nature and values. The person now makes choices to what seems true and right to them (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 133). The choices that are being made start a conversation or a response between the person and a “higher source. ” It is important to remember that everyone is on the search of self-realization we seek to find good (Firman & Gila, 2010, p. 3). Counseling Journey that never ends, there is no point where the work is completed and the person will forever be happy. In psychosynthesis it is emphasized that self- realization is a process rather than an end-result. There will always potential, a next step for the client to achieve a higher sense of self-realization. Through counseling the individual builds her resources and learns how to work towards self-realization by making themselves more whole (Whitmore, 2004, p. 1 57). Firman, J. , & Gila, A. (2010). Psychotherapy of love : Psychosynthesis in practice.
Albany, NY, USA: State University of New York Press. Retrieved from http:// site. ebrary. com/lib/liu/docDetail. action? doclD=10574134 Kelder, D. (1993). What is psychosynthesis?. Retrieved from http://two. not2. org/psychosynthesis/ps2. htm Loewenthal, D. , & House, R. (2010). Critically engaging cbt. Berkshire, GBR: Open University Press. Retrieved from http://site. ebrary. com/lib/liu/docDetail. action? doclD=10413325 Whitmore, D. (2004). Psychosynthesis counseling in action. (3rd ed. ). London, GBR: SAGE Publications Inc. (US). Retrieved from http://site. ebrary. com/lib/