Some Quotes:

Be master OF mind rather than mastered BY mind - Zen Saying

Without forgiveness life is governed by... an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. Roberto Assagioli

"We are healed of suffering only by experiencing it to the full" Marcel Proust

"the way through the world is more difficult than to find the way beyond it" Wallace Stevens

"one must have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star" Fredrich Nietzche

"true strength is delicate" Louise Nevelson

"the uncertainty about what I and the patient are there for, is what we are there for" James Hillman

"We are afraid of things that cannot harm us, and we know it. And we long for things which cannot help us and we know it. But actually it is something within us that we are afraid of, and it is something within ourselves we long for"

"One of the many paradoxes about soul-making is that its reward is the most valuable and unique a person could have, and yet its raw material is often the most despised and common" Thomas Moore


Excerpt from 'Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?' by John Powell

There is no fixed true, and real person inside you you or me, precisely because being a person necessarily implies becoming a person, being in process.

If I am anything as a persona it is what I:

These are the things that define my person, and the are constantly in process of change. Unless my mind and heart are hopelessly barricaded, all these things that define me as a person are forever changing. My person is not a little hard core inside of me, a little fully formed statue that is real and authentic, permanent and fixed. My person rather implies a dynamic process. in other words, if you knew me yesterday, please do not think that I am the same persona that you are meeting today.

More Excerpts by John Powell:

To understand people, I must try to hear what they are not saying, what they perhaps will never be able to say

"It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment, or the courage to pay the price....One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world as a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to count doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living & dying."

Morris L. West in The Shoes of the Fisherman

"We must use things & love people, not love things & use people"

Harry Stack Sullivan, one of the more eminent psychiatrists of interpersonal relationships in our times, has propounded the theory that all personal growth, all personal damage and regression, as well as all personal healing and growth, come through our relationships with others.

What I am at any given moment in the process of my becoming a person, will be determined by my relationships with those who love me or refuse to love me, with those whom I love or refuse to love.

It is certain that a relationships will only be as good as its communication.

"Fully human"people are "their own persons," that they do not bend to every wind which blows, that they are not at the mercy of all pettiness, the meanness, the impatience and anger of others. Atmosphers do not transform them as much as they transform atmospheres.

"Fully human people are in deep and meaningful contact with the world outside them. They listen not only to themselves but to voices of their world. The breadth of their own individual experience is infinitely multiplied through the sensitive empathy with others. They suffer with the suffering, rejoice with the joyful. They are born again in springtime, feel the impact of the great mysteries of life: birth, growth, love, suffering, death. Their hearts alone with the "young lovers," and they know something of the exhilaration that is in them. They also know the ghetto's philosophy of despair, the loneliness of suffering without relief. The bell never tolls without tolling in some strange way for them."

The philosopher Martin Heidegger, in discussing the unions of love, points out two pitfalls that can stifle human growth: a complacent satisfaction that settles for that which already is, and , at the other extreme, a restless activity that goes from distraction to distraction in search if something beyond. The result, says Heidegger, is always self-estrangement,

In love we must possess and savor that which is, and simultaneously reach out to possess (to love) the good more fully. This is the balance acheived by fully human beings. It is the balance acheived by fully human beings. It is the balance between "what is" and "what is to come".

The fully human person preserves a balance between "interiority" and "exteriority". Both the extreme introvert and the extreme extrovert are off balance.

Introverts are almost exclusively concerned with themselves; they become the center of gravity in their own universe,

Extreme extroverts, on the other hand, pour themselves out, move from one external distration to another.

"Interiority"implies exploration and experience of self...

"Interiority" implies self acceptance. Fully human people not only are aware of physical, psychological, and spiritual hungers and activities, but also accept them as good.

"Exteriority" reaches its peak in the ability to "give love freely" Dr Karl Stern, a psychiatrist of deep insight, has said that the evolution of human growth is an evolution from the absolute need to be loved (infancy) toward full readiness to give love (maturity), with all sorts of stages in between.....

Dr Stern Said, " In our primary state of union (at the beginning of our growth as persons) we are selfish, and I am of course, not using the word in its usual moral connotation. The infantile self is still id (Freud's term for our drives and ambitions) without differentiation of ego (that which, in the Freudian system, adapts and harmonizes personal drives with reality); the id of the infantile self is all-engulfing without proper awareness of its own borders. The acts of union of the mature personality are self-less" Insitute of Man Symposium on Neurosis and Personal Growth, Duquesne University, Pitssburgh Pa., November 18, 1966

"The greatest kindness i have to offer you is always: The Truth"

Chapter 5: Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego -defense.

In brief, these ego-defenses are compensations cultivated to counterbalance and camouflauge something else in us we consider a defect or a handicap.
The great Alfred Adler first became interested in compensation as a psychological phenomenon when he noticed how humnan nature tends to make up for bodily deficiencies. One kidney takes over the function of two if one fails to function. The same thing is true of lungs. A bone fracture that heals properly makes the place of the fracture become stronger than normal.

It is also true that many famous people have developed some skill to an extraordinary degree precisely because they were trying to overcome some handicap. Glen Cunningham, the first of the famous American mile runners, probably became such a great runner trying to strengthen his legs which were seriously crippled at age seven in a fire that almost took his life. ....There is also what is known as "vicarious compensation," by which a person handicapped in one way learns to excel in another. Whistler, the famous paineter, flunked out of West Point and forfeited his desires for a career in the military, but learned to excel as an artist by developing his talents in that field.

Reaction Formation:

The "reaction formation," which we are considering here, is an overcompensation by exaggerating or overdeveloping certain conscious trends. It is developed as a defense against unconscious tendencies of an opposite nature and unapprovable character, which threaten to break into conscious recognition.

Extremely dogmatic people, who are absolutely sure of everything, consciously cultivate the posture of certainty because of demoralizing doubts in their subconscious mind. Their self-image isn't strong enough to live with these doubts.

People who are overly tender, to the point of exaggerated sentimentality, are usually suspected of assuming this attitude in compensation for harsh and cruel tendencies that have been repressed in the subconscious mind.

Prudishness, in an exaggerated form, is usually an overcompensation for repressed normal sexual desires with which the prude cannot live in comfort.

The person who seems to exert an exaggerated concern for health of an aged parent probably does so to compensate for the subconscious desire to be freed of responsibility for that parent by the death of the same.

....compensatory attitudes are a leaning over backwards to avoid tipping over.

"The dogmatist is never wrong. The prude is hyperchaste. The reformer type, preachy and self-righteous, viciously hates sin and sinner alike without any recognition of normal human weakness. "

The conclusion is this: Exaggerated behaviour in a person usually means just the opposite of what it implies. Very often we accuse dogmatists of pride we feel "called" to help them learn sweet humility. In fact, they are not at all sure of themselves, and the more we try to defeat them, to cultivate doubts in them and expose their errors, the more they have to compesate. Their dogmatism will probably become even more extreme and obnoxious.


A second ego-defense mechanism is called "displacement." It usually refers to the indirect expression of an impulse that the censoring conscience (Freud's superego) prohibits us from expressing directly. For example a child may develop seething hostility towrd his or her parents. Our social programming usually will not allow direct expression of this hostility. I mean, you can't hate your own parents. So, not in touch wiht the hostility that the child felt forced to repress, he or she smashes public property, bullies younger children, or does something equally irrational. The apparent homicidal-minded boxing fan, who stands up at ringside and vociferously yells "Murder the bum!" as a helpless, senseless boxer is sinking to his knees obviously harbors some subconscious hostility. The anger had to be repressed because the person just couldn't live with it or express it.

"Scapegoating" is a common form of displacement. We react with uncalled-for violence when someone looks at us the wrong way, because there is a hostility in us that we cannot express directly. For some reason the person to whom we would like to express hostility seems too formidable to us. A man with a violent temper in the office may well be expressing the hostiluity he feels for his wife or for himself but cannot bring himself to express it at home. Or the woman who has been unjustly upbraided by her empleyer (of whom she is afraid because her job is at stake) may come home and take out her hostility on her husband and children. Prudes, who cannot admit their sexual drives directly, will take great interest in "scandals" of a sexual nature. lonely, isolated individuals, who cannot admit directly to their need for love and affection, will profess to be "madly in love" wirh someone else (whom they do not really love at all).

A second meaning of "displacement" is the device of disguising unpleasant realities to which we cannot admit (and therefore repress) by consciously stressing something else which is not so embarrassing to the ego. We profess to worry about some triviality to conceal some greater fear ro which we cannot honestly admit. Or let us say that I am jealous of you, but cannot really admit it, not even, not even to myself. So I "zero in" on some trivial annoyance, like the quality of your voice. I find it very grating. The husband and wife who have come to despise each other, but cannot openly admit to the real sources of their mutual agony, usually bicker about trivialities with great vehemence.

The man whose mother dominated his father is usually programmed to treat his own wife as an inferior to treat his own wife as an inferior. However, he cannot admit to his resentment for his mother and her treatment of his father, or that he definitely wants his wife "under" him. So he will usually complain about small and inconsequential habits of hers. He will deny the value of her opinions and the wisdom of her actions. He will bitterly criticize her for her "stupid way" she plays cards.


Another ego-defensen mechanism is called "projection." All of us tend to disonw things in ourselves and to "project" them into others. We try to rid ourselves of our own limitations by attributing them to someone else. Adam explained his sin to God by saying "The woman tempted me." Eve ascribed the whole calamity to the serpent. It is also projection when we blame other things for our own failures, like the circumstances, the tools we had to work with, the position if the stars. We are tempted to ask, "Why don't you look where you're going?" when we bump into people.

It is a very common human inclination (projection) to dislike in others what we cannot accept in ourselves. The real mystery of this projection is that we don't recognize these things in ourselves. They have been repressed. We can therefore stronlgy condemn in others what we cannot admit in ourselves. The stronger and the more exaggerated the dislike of anything or any quality is manifested, the more it might be suspected as projection.

When we get a bug on "hypocrisy," and often condemn it, and proclaim that it is widespread among the human race, it is most probable that we must repress all conscious recognition that we ourselves are hypocritical. Vain people, who can't admit to their own inclinations, suspect everybody of wanting attention and publicity. Ambitious men and women, who cannot honestly admit (and therefore repress) their own driving ambitions, usually feel that "everybody is out for No.1; all that most people want is fame and money."

Then there are the paranoids (persecution complex victims) who project their own self-hatred into other people and feel that others don't like them. Prudes think that every attractive person of the opposite sex is making improper advances; they project their own concealed (repressed) longings into others. People with an uneasy conscience feel that others are suspicious of them, watching the,. Very often, too, when someone puts a finger on a weakness in us, for example, being too temperamental, we counter by chargin, "You're the one who is temperamental."


"Introjection" is the ego defense by which we attribute to ourselves the good qualities of others. Introjection is prominent in what we call "hero worship." We identify with our heroes. Also, we identify our possessions with ourselves. We take great pride when someone praises our home, or we thing that we are "big time" because we come from a famous city, belong to a well known fraternity, or have traveled to many places. Many women identify with the tragic heroines of soap-opera programs on television. A Manhattan psychiatrist noticed that very many of his women patients had relapses after becoming addicted to these shows. They identified with all the unhappiness of the suffering characters in these melodramas. This kind of identification provides an easy access into a world of fantasy and provide romance in our lives. However, often the result of this ego-defense is neither very profitable nor very consoling.


The most common form of ego-defense is "rationalization." As a technique for self-justification, it is hard to beat. We find some reason for our action that justifies it. We "think" (rationalize) our way to a preordained conclusion. Very often there are two reasons for everything we do: the alleged good reason and the real reason. Rationalization not only results in self-deceit but eventually corrupts all sense of integrity (wholeness). We rationalize our failures; we find justification for our actions; we reconciler our ideals and deeds; we make our emotional preferences our rational conclusions. I say that I drink beer because it has malt in it. The real reason is that I like it; it helps me feel uninhibited and secure with others.

As with all ego-defense mechanisms, there is always something that I cannot admit in myself, something that would make me feel better if only I could just believe it. Rationalization is the bridge that makes my wishes the facts. It is the use of intelligence to deny the truth; it makes us dishonest with ourselves. And if we cannot be honest with ourselves, we certainly cannot be honest with anyone else. Rationalization consequently sabotages all humnan authenticity. It disintegrates and fragments the personality.

Insincerity, as an interior state of mind, is a psychological impossibility. I can't tell myself that I do and don't believe something at the same time. Choosing evil as evil is also a psychological impossibilty, because the will can only choose the (apparent) good. Consequently, to deny the truth I cannot admit, and to do the deed I cannot approve, I must necessarily rationalize until the truth is no longer true and the evil becomes good.

Did you ever ask yourself the suprisingly difficult question: How does one choose evil? How do we commit sin? The will can choose, by its very nature, only that which is somehow good. I am personally convinced that the exercise or use of free will in a given situation of guilt is this: The will, desirous of some evil that has good aspects (if I steal your money, I will be rich), forces the intellect to concentrate on the good to be acquired in the evil act. The will impels the mind to turn away from the recognition of evil. And so the intellect must rationalize that which was originally recognized as evil. While I am doing something wrong (in the act of doing it), I cannot be squarely facing its evil aspect; I must somehow be thinking of it as good and right. Consequently, free will seems to be exercised in the act of coercing the intellect to rationalize rather than in the execution of the act itself.

Caution: Human Beings

In all these ego-defense mechanisms, please notice that there is something that people who operate the mechanism have felt the necessity of repressing. They cannot live with some realization. In one way or another, they keep their psychological pieces in tact by some form of self-deception. They just couldn't live comfortably with the truth, so they repressed it.

Therefore, and this is extremely important, the vocation of putting people straight, of tearing off ther masks, of forcing them to face the repressed truth, is a highly dangerous and destructive calling. Eric Berne warns against disillusioning people about their "games." It may be that they just can't take it. They sought out some role, began playing some game, took to wearing some mask, precisely because this would make life livable and tolerable.

So we must be very careful, extremely careful in fact, that we do not assume the vocation of acquaintin others with their delusions. We are all tempted to unmask others, to smash their defenses, to leave them naked and blinking in the light of the illumination provided by our expose. It could be tragic in its results. If the psycho-logical pieces come unglued, who will pick them up and put poor Humpty Dumpty Human Being together again? Will you? Can you?

The Greatest Kindness: The Truth

All that has been said in these pages would urge us to be open and truthful baout ourselves, our thoughts and emotions. It has urged us to be honest with ourselves and with others. Nothing is taken back here. But it is absolutely necessary to realize that nothing in these pages asks me or justifies me in becoming a judge of others. I can tell you who I am, report my emotions to you with candor and honesty, and this is the greatest kindness I can extend to myself and to you. Even if my thoughts and emotions are not pleasing to you, it remains the greatest kindness to reveal myself openly and honestly. Insofar as I am able, I will try to be honest with myself and communicate myself honestly to you.

It is another thing to set myself up as judge of your delusions. This is playing God. I must not try to be guarantor of your integrity and honesty: that is your work. I can only hope that my honesty with and about myself will empower you to be honest with and about myself. If I can face and tell you my faults and vanities, my hostilities and fears, my secrets and my shames, hostilities and fears, my secret and my shames, perhaps you will be able to admit to your own and confide them to me, if and when you wish.

It is a two way street. If you will be honest with me, report your triumphs and tragedies, agonies and ecstasies to me, it will help me to face my own. You will help me to become a real person. I need your openess and honesty; you need mine. Will you help me? I promise that I will try to help you. I will try to tell you who I really am.


Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? John Powell, S.J., Tabor Publishing

Transactional Analysis

The supposition of transactional analysis is that, in various interactions, we may well be acting in a different role or ego state.

These ego states can be divided into three categories: the Parent (a collection of all the messages stored in us from infancy and childhood)

the Adult (the real me, capable of thinking my own thoughts and making my own decisions),

and the Child ( a storehouse of all the emotional responses of my life: the fears, angers, guilt complexes, and also the joys).

None of us remains permanently fixed in any of these ego states, but we may fluctuate from one to another depending on the situation at hand and our needs of the moment.



To understand the aim of psychotherapy, and thereby evaluate its efficacy, one must first understand its subject. The terms "psychology", "psychotherapy", "psychoanalysis", and "psychiatry" all share a common etymological component, "psyche", indicative of this subject.

Derived from the Greek, psyche (4) (Latin, anima) originally referred to one's breath and eventually came to be associated with the soul or spirit. This was based on the belief that the soul departed from the body at death in one's last breath, a long-standing medical criterion of death. Hence psychology is the logos or study of the soul, psychotherapy attendance (therapia) upon it, and psychiatry the art of healing it (iartria).

Transpersonal means that there's more to you than meets the eye. Your "personal" sense of who you are - i.e., your name, your likes and dislikes, your opinions - is just the tip of the iceberg. The "trans" part of "transpersonal" holds the key to understanding what Transpersonal Studies is all about.

Think about these three meanings for "trans"

Beyond, as in the word "transcendent." The Transpersonal Self goes beyond the individualistic sense of identity and perception that is most familiar to your daily living.

Across, as in the word "transcontinental." The Transpersonal Self has connections and links (sometime invisible) to other people and everything else in the world.

Through, as in the word "transparent." The Transpersonal Self is made up of higher dimensions that can operate in and through your 3-dimensional, personal self - that is, the experience of the infinite working in and through the finite.


Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal psychology that encompasses the full spectrum of human experience, from the trauma and pathology, which demands healing, to the individual seeking integration, inspiration and spirituality.

Psychosynthesis embraces a broad perspective on human life. It seeks to create the future as well as to complete the past, with a particular emphasis on growth and transformation. Although it has its own unique models and methods, it also integrates principles and techniques drawn from many classical and contemporary approaches in Eastern as well as Western Psychology. It is concerned with healing trauma and neurosis, but also with the realisation of human potential: the ability for us to have good relationships, make free and conscious decisions for ourselves, to be creative, to experience joy, to be able to love and experience being loved, to find an inner peace, greater fulfilment and a sense of meaning and purpose.

Psychosynthesis is relevant to all aspects of life: psychospiritual growth, personal and professional relationships as well as broad social structures.

See Psychosythesis courses & links below & on courses page

Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal psychology integrates spiritual wisdom and practices with the insights and methods of psychology. Its interests include optimal mental health, transformation and self-transcendence, mindfulness and meditative practices, ritual, mystical and shamanic states of consciousness, and the applications of spirituality in the helping professions, healing, the arts, community-building, business settings, and environmental work. Transpersonal psychology is also interested in the difficulties, suffering, and obstacles related to these states and practices.

Transpersonal psychology draws from world wisdom traditions and indigenous knowledge as well as modern psychological theory and research. Overlaps between psychology and spirituality have been present in both psychology (for example, in the work of William James, Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli, and Abraham Maslow) and in the world wisdom traditions (which have their own sophisticated views of human development, psychological processes, and healing). Ken Wilber and Stanislav Grof, among others, are at the forefront of transpersonal psychology today. Its stance toward human nature is inclusive and optimistic. Transpersonal psychology offers both a fuller and richer understanding of human psychology and a more psychologically-sophisticated approach to spiritual development. - Master of arts in Transpersonal Psychology

Different Therapies and their filters - by Dr Joshua David Stone

Extracts from Dr Joshua Stone's 'Soul Psychology'

Freudian Psychology - through 2nd Chakra Lens and fight between ego, id and superego.

In humanistic psychology - everything seen through the lens of emotional body and the expression of feelings

In Gestalt therapy everything viewed through the lens of pro-experience and anti-intellectualism.

In Alderian therapy, it's the lens of social psychology.

In family systems counselling it will be the lens of the family system and not the individual psyche.

In the teaching of Abraham Maslow, life is seen through the ideal of attaining peak experiences and self actualisation.

Someone involved with behaviouristic psychology will see everything through the lens of positive and negative reinforcement, extinction of unwanted behaviours, and the effect of the environment for behaviour.

The psychiatrist's lens is a medical model within which psychological problems are caused by an imbalance of chemicals.

To a nutritionist, everything is seen throught the lens of nutrition.

Cognitive psychology uses the lens of the effects of thinking upon behaviour, and so on and so on,

It is important to remember that all of these filters will distort perception,

Professions and Filters

Every profession trains its practitioners to have a filter.

A comedian sees everything through a filter of humour and how to build it ito a comedy routine or just ot make people laugh.

A lawyer sees things through the filter of an adversarial legal battle with a win/ lose orientation.

A business person works through the filter of making money,

while an artist does so through the filter of beauty, which ties into the effect of the rays, each of the seven major rays being a lens that affects the soul and monad.

A healer may look at everything in terms of energy,and a social worker through the filter of social implications

A family counselor is focused on the family unity in terms of relationships and children.

An astrologer works through the astrolgical horoscope, and that is how all experience is organized.

As you can see we stack filters on top of filters on top of filters until very little if any light gets through. The ideal is to become crystal clear about which filters are affecting our consciousness, which means still being inclusive of accepting all filters as a part of the whole. The goal is to see through the lens of God, Christ / Buddha, and the Holy Spirit. This is the clearing work we are all involved in, and is this process requires great inrospection, self examination, and vigilance.

These filters, in a sense are archetypes,

The ideal is to integrate all of them and to use them all in their appropriate moment. We are always seeing through some kind of filter. The ideal would be not to overuse any one but to have them all at one's disposal, and to understand them all, which gives us more compassion and understanding for others.

The danger is becoming so accustomed to viewing things through one filter / archetype that we forget that it's there and that it's distorting the rest of the visual image. We can become unconciously locked into using a particular configuration of filters without realizing it. To truly achieve God consciousness, free from all filters, is a high goal to aspire to. At our level, just getting free of the planetary lens would be quite a spiritual accomplishment. In this regard a universal spiritual philosophy can be very helpful. All religions, all spiritual paths, all healing modalities, all forms of psychology, all nations, all cultures, all political systems, all Ascended Masters, and indeed all people become our teachers.

Every book, every poem, every song, and every artwork has been filtered through, and is a the product of, a particular perception of life.

The entire world is a gigantic mismash of filters, some stressing feelings, some thinking, some intuition, some of the five senses, some the right brain some the left brain, others heaven, still others earth and so on.

Above extracted from Dr Joshua David Stone - 'Soul Psychology'

Zen story (paraphrased from memory)

A young man came to a town and asked the gatekeeper, 'Is this a friendly town with lots of oppotunities?'

The gatekeeper replied, 'How was the last town you've been to?'

Young man answered, 'Trouble, anger, hostility, Unfriendly people, Ugly town etc.'

The gatekeeper said, 'not any better here' and sent him on his way!

The next day another young man comes to the same town and asks the same question. The gatekeeper enquires, as previously.

This young man tells the gatekeeper what a wonderful, beautiful city he had come from with lots of friendly people and much abundance.

The gatekeeper opens the gates wide open and says, 'you'll find much beauty and love in this town!'

This story is paraphrased from memory. Any errors are mine. However - I see the gist of it as to do with belief, filters & expectations.

We transfer / displace / project our previous experiences & expectations onto future experiences.

eg. If your ex-partner was unfaithful, you may project that onto your future partner - suspecting everything & being jealous. However your new partner is somebody completely different.

However also notice that we attract situations that reflect our childhood experiences. We are often attracted to partners that are like our opposite sex parents.

We are also attracted to qualities that we would like to acquire.

Sri Ramana Maharshi:


Disciple: How do the three states of experience, the three bodies, etc., which are imaginations, appear in the Self-light which is one, impartite and self-luminous? Even if they should appear, how is one to know that the Self alone remains ever unmoving?

Master: The example The exemplified

1. The Lamp - The Self
2. The door - Sleep
3. The door-step - Mahat-tattva
4. The inner wall - Nescience or the causal body
5. The mirror - The egoity
6. The windows - The five cognitive sense-organs
7. The inner chamber - Deep sleep in which the causal body is manifest
8. The middle chamber - Dream in which the subtle body is manifest
9. The outer court - Waking state in which the gross body is manifest

Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974)

Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974), the founder of Psychosynthesis, in his conception of the whole human being included both the discoveries of psychoanalysis and the wisdom of spiritual traditions. He saw that, although psychology and spirituality are distinct domains, those engaged in a spiritual search often need psychological help in integrating their experiences. Conversely a psychology which does not honour the spiritual dimension cannot speak for the whole person. He recognised the spiritual longing of persons in our present cultural wasteland. In connection with this he said:

"One major reason why the Self is coming back into currency is the tremendous search for self identity. Formerly an individual took himself so to speak for granted. He accepted himself as he was, or, more frequently, he identified himself with the group to which he belonged, family, tribe, clan, class, or nation or, if he was religious, with some great Being or God. But in our time, which may well be a time of total crisis, all these identifications fall away and the individual is thrown back on himself. This baffles him, he does not know who he is and this is the chief reason for the widespread 'existential anguish'."

A Height Psychology

Assagioli. talked of psychosynthesis as essentially an attitude, an inclusive approach to the psyche which began from the premise that the whole is. We do not make ourselves whole. In potential we are already whole and this unbroken wholeness within each of us can be recognised. Rather than trying to untie the knots of our alienation, we could create a new perspective for our identity by shifting our attention away from the habitual patterns of conditioning to the underlying wholeness of who we essentially are.

In many ways he was reiterating what spiritual teachers have said over centuries, namely that we are asleep to our true nature and we need to 'Wake up!'

Psychosynthesis offers a vision of 'What We May Be', as Piero Ferrucci has entitled his book. In this way Assagioli was seeking to give an optimistic and encouraging message about the capacities of the human psyche. This was in marked contrast to Freud's pessimistic conclusions about human nature as at best a compromise between our instinctual needs for gratification and social demands. Yet although he was dissatisfied with the Freudian approach Assagioli himself never intended to set up a separate school of psychology, but more of a wider perspective within which Freud's contribution would have its place. In a much quoted letter to Bingswanger, Freud described his work as limited to exploring the ground and basement of the 'house', leaving the attic to be explored by others. Assagioli did just that and often described his work as 'Height Psychology'.

In looking at the bias towards height in psychosynthesis it is important to place Assagioli's contribution within its historical setting. The beginning of the twentieth century marked the phenomenal success of science in explaining the world and the rise of technology in controlling nature. In a Promethean whirl of excitement with 'his' new found powers, 'man' was set to conquer all - even his own psyche. If the infant science of psychology was to be taken at all seriously, it needed to have scientific pretensions. Despite Freud's own artistic inclinations he embedded psychoanalysis in a mechanistic framework of drives and used hydraulic metaphors to explain the relationship between the conscious and unconscious.

Psychosynthesis is an expansionistic psychology rather than a reductive one. Instead of reductively analysing the psyche to a supposedly basic trauma in the past, Assagioli aimed to expand the client's awareness to include more of who they were. If psychology was losing its soul to the scientists, here was a movement in the opposite direction to link psychology with spirituality. Assagioli was clear that psychosynthesis could not pretend to be a spiritual teaching, but it could attempt to re-interpret universal spiritual wisdom into psychological insight. Although, like many spiritual teachers he made much of testing things out through experience rather than just believing them, his was not truly an empirically based psychology - despite claims to the contrary by such as Ferrucci. He took key principles from different esoteric spiritual approaches and put them into a psychological context. Assagioli based psychosynthesis on esoteric psychology and the work of Alice Bailey in particular.

This is part of what gives psychosynthesis that strange sense of revealed truth. New students intuitively recognise much of the archetypal ideas that are being presented but little is acknowledged about the roots of these ideas. It is as if these notions dropped out of the sky or in more modern terms were channelled. Yet for those who have studied the relevant esoteric literature, Assagioli's sources are clear. The power and beauty of psychosynthesis ideas and principles come from their spiritual roots and not from any empirical explorations. This may be no bad thing in itself, but it has its dangers.

Freud warned Jung against the murky depths of occultism and his fear of the occult may not have been all neurotic. Hillman has written on how the nature of the Spirit and that of the Soul are so different that a spiritual psychology may be a contradiction in terms. More particularly when the spiritual roots are hidden, a secret is installed that can distort power relationships and lead to the mythologisation of an individual. Despite the dangers and difficulties there is great value in the psycho-spiritual link that Assagioli initiated, provided that the ancestry of the ideas is acknowledged and not forced into the shadow.

From 'Re-vision':


Assagioli's Library Assagioli's Library in Florence, Italy. A letter from Phyllis Clay, Synthesis International. Dear ... -


Assagioli's "Star" diagrams the relationship of the personality (or psychological) functions to the will and the Self. The functions of the Self are awareness and will and it is through the interaction of will and the various functions that we interact in the world. The variety of functions allows us to note how complex and at the same time unique each person is, for each individual relies differently on the various functions, operating with strength in some areas and with weakness in others. This map also points to the variety of ways we have of creating change. One may impact on any psychological function and begin a process that changes the whole person. Techniques in psychosynthesis, likewise, draw on the various functions.

Assagioli's "psychological laws pertaining to will training" offer an elaboration of the processes by which change is created. For instance, his first law states that "images or mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts that correspond to them." The gift of this map is its vision of the wholeness and richness of the human being with the certainty that growth is possible.


Assagioli's original "egg" diagram offers a view of the human psyche in its many aspects. The layers of the unconscious include:

Kindly borrowed from: The Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis is a professional organization dedicated to the dissemination of the ideas and spirit of psychosynthesis throughout the world.


related books:

Soul Psychology : How to Clear Negative Emotions and Spiritualize Your Life Joshua David Stone

Toward a Psychology of Awakening : Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path O F Personal and Spiritual Transformation; Hardcover ~ John Welwood - Synopsis - An in-depth integration of psychological work and meditative practice, this book explores the integration of traditional "talk therapy" and meditation practice. (read more

related articles

1. Psychology degree programmes

In each newsletter I discuss one popular study area.

Psychology has again become an increasingly popular study area. There are many options including: Behaviour, Biology, Development, Language, Learning, Memory, Perception, Social Relationships etc,.

If you wish to follow a career as a professional Chartered Psychologist (Educational Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist etc) it is important you follow an accredited undergraduate degree programme (or pathway within a degree programme) that leads Graduate Membership (GM) and Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

On obtaining your undergraduate degree you will then be required to follow the appropriate postgraduate programme to be professionally qualified in a particular area of Psychology.

You can check the British Psychological Society's website for more detail. They list all the accredited degrees on their website. Also you could contact them direct by email. See at:

The BPS also has booklets about studying and career pathways in Psychology which are in pdf format and downloadable from their website.



What the Enneagram Is and Is Not


The Enneagram is a diagram for the cooperative functioning of the two fundamental cosmic laws, the Law of Three and the Law of Seven, so structuring the Overall Universal Law.
         The Enneagram is not a list of personality types.
         The Enneagram is a sacred, very powerful symbol, brought to us by Gurdjieff himself, and by no other.  It is not a Sufi symbol.
         If not correctly used, the enneagram can be harmful, due to its high power of transformation. This is why Gurdjieff left it only in the sphere of oral teaching.
         From this we conclude that the Enneagram is not to be used superficially, without knowledge of the laws.
         According to Gurdjieff's Five Being-obligolnian-strivings ( Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson , p. 386), only the last striving is concerned with helping others.
         Do no try to help other when you do not Know. Either you know and do things in the right way, or just do nothing, and live your life the way you can.
This is the point of view of this book.




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