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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Assagioli, Roberto

(1888-1974). Psychiatrist and founder of Psychosynthesis movement. He was born in Venice in 1888 and educated as a medical doctor and psychiatrist. He was a member of the Italian Section of the Theosophical Society (TS).

In 1910 Assagioli began to formulate his original approach to human psychology which he named “Psychosynthesis.” His theories did not exclude other approaches such as psychoanalysis, but rather employed those aspects of other theories that seemed to him to be valid and appropriate to a more “holistic” system. He devoted his life to elaborating his system which includes the existence of the soul, the imagination and the will. Out of his theorizing grew a practical method of self-improvement. His practice includes meditation, encounter groups, and inner-imagery; these procedures are focused around the concept that there is a “self” at the center of each individual that can direct the harmonious development of all aspects of the “personality.” He maintained that beyond that personal harmony lies access to higher realms that are the source of creativity, transpersonal experience and spiritual development.

While Assagioli attempted to work, like Jung, within the strict disciplines of orthodox psychology so that his theories might gain the acceptance, to some degree at least, of the psychological establishment, it cannot be denied that much of his work took him outside orthodoxy and close to a theosophical view of the nature of the individual. It can be suggested, without much fear of contradiction from theosophists, that he recognized the existence of the Buddhic plane in nature. He died in 1974.

An authoritative introduction to his system is Psychosynthesis (Turnstone Books, London, 1975).

P.S.H.

 

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