Both as a theory and as a method, Psychosynthesis is applicable to a variety of fields, from psychology to pedagogy, from therapy to education, and its “definition” may be more or less encompassing depending on how much of Assagioli’s work we take into consideration.
Although Psychosynthesis emerged as a method for the treatment of neuro-psychiatric disorders, Assagioli later extended its applications to education (both within the family and in school), personal and psycho-spiritual development. Psychosynthesis has been used in the area of conflict resolution for both interpersonal problems (between spouses, between parents and children etc.) and social problems: between different groups, nationalities, and ultimately including humanity as a whole (Assagioli, 1971, p. 13).
Five main fields of application may be identified:
Field of Application
Definition (Rosselli, 1992, p. 277)
Aimed at the personal growth of all those who, regardless of their professional role and existential situation, “refuse to remain the slaves to their inner phantasms or of external influences, who refuse to submit passively to the play of psychological forces which is going on within them and who are determined to become the masters of their own lives.” (Assagioli, 1965, p. 30)
For the treatment of psychological distress and pathology in the broadest sense (including the field of psychotherapy – focusing on psychological issues – and psychosomatics – examining the interrelation between psyche and body);
The method is most effective “when the cause of the trouble is a violent and complicated conflict between groups of conscious and unconscious forces, or when it is due to those deep-seated and tormenting crises complex (not generally understood or rightly judged by the patient himself) which often precede a phase of Self-realisation.” (Assagioli, 1965, p. 30)
Of children and adolescents, “to favour the development of the various abilities of the child or of the adolescent, but also helps him to discover and realise his true spiritual nature and to build under its guidance a harmonious, radiant and efficient personality” (Assagioli, 1965, p. 30)
Of adults, lifelong learning
Aimed at one-to-one relationships, typically within the couple, but also between parents and children, teachers and students, managers and employees, etc.;
Studies the relationships and syntheses between people, the psychological problems that exist and the appropriate methods to achieve harmony.
Aimed at the integration and harmonisation of ever larger groups of people: from the psychosynthesis of the family to larger social groupings; psychosynthesis of nations and global psychosynthesis (based on the fundamental principle of the interdependence of all peoples);
In these groups the following types of interactions are considered:
between each member and other members
between each member and the group as a whole and vice versa
between different groups
Differentiating between these various fields of application does not mean that there are five models of Psychosynthesis. What we have are different elaborations of the same core approach based, on the one hand, on the notion of a bio-psycho-transpersonal model of the human being and, on the other, on a certain technical specificity.
The importance of the different applications lies in confirming the pragmatic nature of Psychosynthesis and its systemic vision of humanity. Furthermore, all fields of application are interrelated. Therapeutic, educational and personal development applications constantly interconnect and complement each other; in that the individual’s trajectory necessarily involves interpersonal and social dimensions, and vice versa (Assagioli, 1973).