As many of you probably know, Roberto Assagioli was the first psychoanalyst in Italy. However, not long after presenting his doctoral thesis on psychoanalysis, he found Freudian thought to be limiting and went onto becoming the visionary founder of psychosynthesis.
Undoubtedly, Assagioli had great respect for Freud as a pioneer of modern psychology, but he also believed that psychoanalysis actually forced you to live in only two dimensions as opposed to psychosynthesis, which opens up a third, higher dimension of the psyche.
One can actually see this profound difference in the two doctor’s consultation rooms – Freud liked to surround his patients with statues of primitive images, while Assagioli prominently displayed a photograph of the Mother of Horus (the original is at the Louvre in Paris).
When Isabelle Bagdasarianz Küng, a student of Assagioli’s, asked why he had placed this photo where all his clients couldn’t help but see it, he told her it was there to “see what patients might associate with it, and thus better understand their spiritual inclinations.”
But perhaps the best summary of the differences between psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis is by Assagioli himself. The following is a note from his archives, in which, in his own clear, simple way, he distinguishes the two:
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PA AND PS
PS differs from PA in that:
1. It doesn’t limit itself to the elimination of complexes, resistances and other obstacles, but brings about the training of insufficiently developed functions and of latent energies and possibilities, through the use of active PS techniques.
2. The recognition and awakening of Superconscious facilities.
To read my entire blog outlining Assagioli’s association with Freud and psychoanalysis, visit “A Brief History of Assagioli, Freud, and Psychoanalysis.”