I was recently talking to a friend about where he stood in the world, and he said he was studying psychosynthesis, which is a stream of psychology which aims to allow man to integrate with his spiritual self. It draws on a range of traditions from Freud’s psychoanalysis to Gestalt therapy and meditation. It goes back to a student of Freud’s, Roberto Assagioli.
It seems that psychosynthesis draws on “Buddhism with a smattering of Taoism” and uses certain concepts from various religions to illustrate its principles, according to my friend, but it’s not so easy to tease out the direct relations. I found this abstract from the Christian perspective which might be helpful:
Pastoral psychologists have long tried to establish a working model that encompasses the seemingly conflicting disciplines of science and religion. Psychosynthesis, a transpersonal psychology and therapeutic approach, offers such a model of the human personality, in which the psychological and spiritual perspectives can converge. This article explores psychosynthesis psychology and therapy as a theoretical framework for pastoral psychology. Although psychosynthesis psychotherapy relies on an array of techniques, it fundamentally works with the clients’ will while emphasizing, exploring, and cultivating their relationships on all levels—intrapersonal, interpersonal, and with the Higher Self. In addition to the subconscious, psychosynthesis includes a higher psychological plane, called the superconscious, from which our higher ethical, aesthetic, scientific, and spiritual values are derived. This article begins by introducing psychosynthesis concepts and techniques. It then provides qualitative findings showing that psychosynthesis counseling helped to awaken spirituality in three out of eleven clients who had formerly identified themselves as atheists. In addition, testimonies are included that show that psychosynthesis counseling also helped all eleven clients to attain personal growth. Finally, the counselor describes her experience of psychosynthesis as a Christian in the therapeutic setting. The framework of psychosynthesis psychology and its techniques are viable methodologies for anyone searching to incorporate spiritual growth into a psychological working model.
So psychosynthesis basically includes a more sophisticated model of the human mind, drawing on a range of influences, with as goal making for explorers a kind of map of the mind, allowing greater understanding of the role of elements like the subconscious.