Such use of words represents the simplest and most basic application of a general method, which is used psychic energies to make changes and direction to ‘states of mind and human behavior.

From: The Act of Will, A Manual of Principles and Techniques, Roberto Assagioli

Is that meant to me?

Recently there is a small standard with cards in my practice. Cards with evocative words. Ordinary white cards with about 25 different words in all kinds of colors. I can remember that such a set of cards was also in the hall of the training institute. Every week when I entered the hall my attention was drawn to the cards and I was also curious which word would ‘fall my way’ this time. The use of these sets of cards is known in psychosynthesis practice as the technique of evocative words. Last week, a client asked if I had put out that card especially for her. The card that was on the standard at that time was: Dare. She asked: “Is that meant for me?”

Set with cards in practice

Words are symbols and symbols are carriers of meaning and energy

Although I hadn’t put the card with the word Dare especially for her, it still felt like the word was meant for her at this moment to indicate attention. It became the theme during this session that we looked at and worked on together. Coincidence? Maybe….and maybe not. Assagioli writes of the technique of provocative words in his book on the Will as follows: “All words are symbols which not only denote or indicate objects or psychological facts, but which also possess the power to stimulate and act upon the activity associated with them.” to awaken. “

The polarity of desire and fear

My client became very aware at that moment of what her desire was right now. The desire to develop more ‘daring’, to put into the world the choices she would like to make. In the counseling there had already been a lot of attention for the fear and uncertainty that hindered this. The desire for daring presents itself here as an important ‘counterforce’ that asks to be given more space and to become visible. The longer I work with clients, the more I see how, as a kind of law, one force (fear or uncertainty) evokes a counterforce (courage, daring).

Online personal client portal

Below you can see how I make notes on the wall with my client and together look at the map of her personality where this inner tension between the different polarities takes place. In this way, the client becomes more and more familiar with her own inner world and is therefore better able to place her own experiences, feelings and thoughts. After the session, these notes, together with any photos that are made of the notes or of an arrangement, are included in the online client file, to which the client has access via their own account.

Psychosynthesis Egg Diagram

You can see the inner dynamics between the different polarities in personality and thus the layers of our personality. Fear versus desire, hope versus fear, joy versus sadness, etc… In psychosynthesis guidance we work with the map of the personality, the egg diagram, in which this layering is made visible.

Psychosynthesis Egg diagram as a map of the personality


I just mentioned that there are certain laws in the use of these kinds of techniques, such as working with stimulus words. The most famous use of these laws is in advertising. Slogans, posters, advertisements, etc. According to these laws, any idea or image easily produces the state of mind, the physical state and the actions corresponding to it; attention and repetition enhance the efficacy of the idea or image; the effects of the idea or image, i.e. the activation of that which it represents, are produced without being aware of it. By using the stimulus-word technique we can use these laws under the conscious guidance of our will. We also use this law when working with EMDR when, for example, we ‘install’ power sources in the so-called RDI (Resource Development and Installation) protocol.

Psychological Laws

In the book The Act of Will, Assagioli outlines 10 Psychological Laws that are worth taking note of and paying more conscious attention to because they play such a huge role in how we relate (usually unconsciously) to the forces inside and outside ourselves. Below I mention 1 of these 10 laws that plays a major role in the use of evocative words.

Law 1 Images or mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the corresponding physical conditions and outward actions.

From: The Act of Will, A Manual of Principles and Techniques, Chapter 5, The Skilled Will: Psychological Laws, Roberto Assagioli

What would you like to give more space to in your life?

Using evocative words is a simple method that you can easily apply yourself. Make a list of words that are important to you and write them individually on a sturdy card. You could add an image or drawing to each word that is appropriate for you. Put them in a clearly visible place in your home, office or maybe even in your car if you are on the road a lot. Be creative and be surprised by the simplicity of the words and/or images that you would like to give more space in your life.

Online library Institute for Psychosynthesis

At the Institute for Psychosynthesis in Hilversum (The Netherlands) they have a wide range of psychosynthesis books. Through this online library you can download for free Roberto Assagioli’s book on ‘The Will’ and his article on ‘The technique of evocative words’ so that you can delve into it even more. And if you want to investigate and help you learn to relate with “force and counter-force ‘, then you’re welcome to practice for Psychosynthesis Amsterdam.