The school of psychology developed by Roberto Assagioli is exceptionally useful and versatile. I have utilized components of it in many of my endeavors over the years, including my model of mediation. And some of the most remarkable people I have known in my life are psychosynthesis practitioners, both locally and in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Last month I met several other practitioners from around the country at an intensive seminar I attended.)
As I have blogged before, I was fortunate in the '80s to be part of a two-year intensive in California during which our small group (6 to 8 lawyers) studied mediation and other modes of conflict resolution. A constant underlying melody of this group's activities and discussions was psychosynthesis.
The group was facilitated by Gary Friedman, and sometimes Jack Himmelstein when he was visiting from New York. Last October, I learned from Gary that he has created a group similar to our intensive which he calls Self-Reflection for Conflict Professionals (SCPI). SCPI has been in existence for several years.
I found the camaraderie, conversation, and challenge of my two-year intensive with Gary to be both formative and unusually high in quality. Hearing about SCPI, I wished we had such a group in Colorado. Late last year, I thought about forming a local group of similar nature and purpose, but never moved forward. Being (and thinking)
If you are involved in conflict resolution and would like to join this Denver group, which will based on psychosynthesis, please contact me soon. I plan to begin no later than mid-September. We will meet at a space to which I have access near Santa Fe and Hampden; we will begin mid-afternoon and be done before 6 PM. The meetings will be twice a month, at least in the beginning. The fee for the space and my organizational time will be nominal.
If you are not in the Denver area, and are interested in this group, e-mail me anyway. I will keep a list for any conferences or tele-events we'll hold in the future.
You may be asking "What is this thing you rave about called psychosynthesis?" Because the multi-faceted approach created by Assagioli is flexible and adaptable, one may find several definitions of his creation. However I agree with him that there are seven components which must be included for a psychology to be called "psychosynthesis."
These seven are described well in "Assagioli's Seven Core Concepts for Psychosynthesis Training" [pdf] by John Firman and Ann Gila. If you read this article, you will have a good grasp of psychosynthesis. For a shorter overview, click here, then click on "What Is Psychosynthesis?" over to the left. Also look here.
I typically recommend a handful of books to people who want to learn more about psychosynthesis. The first, and best in my opinion, is What We May Be by Piero Ferrucci. Two others are by Assagioli himself:
I recently read another book on psychosynthesis that I will begin to recommend (despite a title I don't like): A Psychotherapy of Love by John Firman and Ann Gila.
As a 21st-century update: I will be writing an article for the Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis on the neuroscience of psychosynthesis. This is a topic we will be discussing in our local group, too. I am excited to look at the many ways neuroscience and psychosynthesis fit together; they are like hand and glove. Each can inform the other in a way that will enhance our understanding of the mind, the brain, and the soul.
Note and image credit: One of the people who attended last month's intensive is a very talented photographer. I thank Dianne Mekelburg for her kind permission to use photos she took at the event! Aren't they great?
This last photo is of me talking with the lead trainer of the intensive I just attended; click on her name to learn more about Molly Young Brown. Molly's books are listed here. I've not read any of them yet, but hope to in the future. [Note added August 6, 2012: Molly's book Unfolding Self: The Practice of Psychosynthesis is a very good overview of psychosynthesis.]