It is not against psychoanalysis or even behavior modification, but it insists that the need for meaning, for higher values, for a spiritual life, are as real as biological or social needs.(4) Here is the "egg diagram," which Assagioli created to show the interrelatedness of the various dimensions of personality:(5) Assagioli's view of human beings is more complex and richer than Freud's.
As the diagram suggests, the unconscious has three levels.
Moreover, many important realities and functions have been neglected or ignored: intuition, creativity, the will, and the very core of the human psyche -- the Self.(3) Psychosynthesis affirms the natural drive of persons to grow by integrating their lives at higher levels.
The fact that the growth drive can become conscious in us human beings enables us to cooperate with this drive and thus to accelerate the process of actualizing our potentials.
Assagioli accepted many insights derived from Freud's brilliant exploration of the "lower unconscious." Yet he saw Freud's conception of persons as incomplete and inadequate.
When asked about the difference between psychosynthesis and psychoanalysis, in an interview not long before his death, he responded with a striking metaphor: In one of his letters Freud said, "I am interested only in the basement of the human building." We try to build an elevator which will allow a person access to every level of his personality.But it also aims at helping them use "the potent superconscious spiritual energies, which have a transforming and regenerating influence on the whole personality." Assagioli emphasized the remarkable potency of these spiritual energies when he declared: "This release may be compared to that of intra-atomic energy latent in matter."(6) The energies of the higher Self exert a continual pull toward the actualization of our higher potentialities. producing changes both in the inner and the outer world. The will is a muscle-like part of the personality that can be strengthened and developed by will-training exercises.For Assagioli, the spiritual growth drives are as natural as the sexual and aggressive drives of the lower unconscious: May I emphasize the fact that the elements and functions coming from the superconscious, such as aesthetic, ethical, religious experiences, intuition, inspiration, states of mystical conscious- ness, are factual, are real in the pragmatic sense . Therefore, they are amenable to observation and experiment, through the use of the scientific method. Decision and action, guided by an effective will, are the main thrusts of growth toward higher levels of integration.Psychosynthesis recognizes and respects the need of many people for formal religion.But its goal is to help people enrich their lives through direct spiritual experience.After all, a building with only a basement is very limited.We want to open up the terrace where you can sun-bathe or look at the stars.Until relatively recently, his work was not widely known outside of Italy.But in the last decade his books have been translated into many languages, and psychosynthesis institutes have developed in various parts of the world.In this country his ideas are influencing a growing number of therapists as well as persons in the human potentials movement. This is indispensable for maintaining the sanity and indeed the very survival of humanity."(1) Psychosynthesis is also explicitly spiritually oriented.Psychosynthesis is a whole-person approach to healing and growth. Many of its methods are useful in facilitating spiritual growth.