Counselling and therapy are powerful ways of getting clear perspective on issues and effecting change in our lives. Issues commonly dealt with include:
- problems with relationships
- experiences of separation, loss and grief
- dissatisfaction with the experience of work
- sense of something missing
- search for self-direction and meaning
- desire for greater creative expression and fulfilment
- crisis of identity caused by spiritual/religious experiences
- difficulty expressing one’s vision
- inability to change old patterns of behaviour
These issues are often experienced through their symptoms – such as feelings of inadequacy, being trapped, powerlessness, doubt, anger, depression and a sense of life having no meaning.
Psychosynthesis approach to symptoms
The psychosynthesis approach is not to see these symptoms as bad, necessitating their removal or cure, but to take a more systemic view. Symptoms carry a lot of information about what is going on at a deeper, inner level, and can be valued for alerting us to the necessity of paying attention to our inner being.
Exploring symptoms in this way involves discovering what is seeking to emerge in our knowing of ourselves, and then integrating this discovery into our day to day living.
Uncertainty & transition
Sometimes this discovery and integration can be achieved relatively easily. At other times it seems to require radical change and transformation of how we experience and know ourselves. We are faced with making a life transition. We need to let go of known, and therefore safe ways of being, and enter the uncertainty of the unknown.
If we do not engage this process, we compromise our integrity, impoverish our experience of both inner and outer worlds, and restrict ourselves through fear.
Often our fear is about feeling alone in the process, as well as about going into what is unknown. There may be little to support us in the culture.
Why work with a psychosynthesis counsellor or psychotherapist?
Working with a psychosynthesis counsellor or psychotherapist means there is skilled support available. Often people feel they should be able to work through issues and life passages by themselves or with the help of friends. Sometimes this is possible, but often it is safer, more effective and more nurturing to make inner explorations with a guide who can choose from a range of methods and techniques, the most appropriate ways of facilitating that exploration.
Psychosynthesis specialises in adapting diverse methods to the person rather than the person to the method. Not applying pre-set techniques to everyone means the uniqueness of each individual can unfold organically. The dynamic process of psychosynthesis means that people actively experience making choices for themselves rather than being given advice or interpretation upon which they may or may not act.
Knowing ourselves more fully helps us to make creative responses to difficulties and opportunities. Responding in this way allows more passionate engagement with life, a richer experience of meaning, and increasing ability to use the integrative power of Will.
What makes psychosynthesis different from other therapies?
As with all therapies, the main difference is in the qualitative experience of the client. Having a holistic framework which articulates that Self is the unifying centre of the psyche, and that the personal centre of identity is consciousness and will, profoundly affects the energetic context of therapy and the interpersonal dynamics. This is so even when the client has no spiritual practice, vision, or language. In particular clients experience being met, rather than experiencing technique.
Because psychosynthesis addresses the spectrum of our experience – heights, depths and everyday concerns – the issue that the client is bringing can be addressed at the appropriate level. A psychosynthesis therapist will keep these levels distinct. This allows the context for work to be clear between client and therapist. Consequently change at an everyday form level as well as transformation at a more profound level is effected and integrated.
Words often used to describe the qualitative experience of psychosynthesis are gentle yet powerful, accepting and challenging, still and contained, subtle and profound. People respond to being encouraged to look at ‘What’s seeking to emerge, what’s calling me on, what’s beckoning me forward?’ as well as exploring ‘What’s holding me back, what’s blocking me, what’s my experience of pain about?’
It is the point of tension between what was, what is, and what could be, held dynamically in session, which excites, challenges and empowers clients.
People learn to monitor their process fluently on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. They develop ability to contain and honour their process. Through working with the integrative power of Will (which is not just choice and determination but an awakening to the experience of observing and directing the psyche) people begin effectively to hold, explore and express their personal and collective vision of the world.