As we state in the Introduction, we have made the decision, after 30 years, to close the Institute in December 2018. There are many factors we have considered. NZAC’s privileging of academic qualifications, the increasing burden and costs of regulatory requirements, the difficulties of funding longer term counselling and psychotherapy in an environment that demands quick fix solutions that cannot address all trauma, or existential and psychospiritual concerns appropriately – these signal to us that it is time to complete the current training programmes, close the Institute, and support whatever new initiatives emerge. We have decided to retain our contextual description of psychosynthesis counselling and psychotherapy, as well as the programme outline, as this information is pertinent to anyone seeing a psychosynthesis practitioner.
Training to be a psychosynthesis counsellor and therapist involves a commitment to a larger healing principle than that of simply wanting to help people change themselves. It involves commitment to trusting the process of human evolution, which includes the pain of suffering and the challenge of the shadow, as well as the often mundane experience of ordinary reality.
Sometimes people enter the caring, healing professions as a way of avoiding their own pain, shadow, and day to day relationships, and this motivation will eventually limit their effectiveness as healers. Psychosynthesis training requires a willingness to explore one’s own journey of individuation so as to be more fully in relationship with the explorations of clients.
To facilitate this self-knowledge, trainees participate in the Foundation Year. Experiential learning of some maps and models within a coherent structure provides a solid knowledge base for trainees which they have time to assimilate before using in a counselling context.
The Therapeutic Relationship
Even though there may be clear presenting issues, an explicit contract and an articulated context for work, at the heart of the therapeutic relationship is a mystery. It is the mystery of what happens in the space between client and guide. Training in psychosynthesis seeks to facilitate the magic of the therapeutic process by helping the guide allow uncertainty about what is happening in the relationship. This challenges the therapist to use the fullness of who they are in working with this uncertainty and not hide behind techniques and theories which would limit the creative process of unknowing.
I have come to think that the uncertainty about what the patient and I are really there for is in fact what we really are there for.
– James Hillman
However, the therapeutic mystery is best facilitated when the therapist understands a comprehensive theoretical framework of levels of process and is not just ‘winging it’ with intuition. Psychosynthesis training emphasises developing a strong mental field in conjunction with intuitive knowing, the ability to see with the heart, awareness of energetic shifts and heightened observation of levels of process.
These skills are used within a systemic framework – one which pays attention to what is attempting to emerge within the system. This means a client’s issues are looked at within the context of their individuating future. This honours the uniqueness of each individual’s experience and affirms that they alone know what is best for them. As therapists, we seek to guide, support, and empower them on their life journey.