Psychosynthesis Center San Francisco

Last night I was together with some fellow students in an online training of the Psychosynthesis Center San Francisco. We have been on the road together since September last year and each participant follows this learning path in Psychosynthesis from their own desire and intention. One does it for his or her professional development and the other does it more out of a need for personal growth and development. A development that is nourished by the ideas of Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis.

Personal development and growth

I no longer need a diploma or certificate as a coach, counselor or therapist. I am now authorized and competent to my profession as a counselor in a professional way to exercise. But the process of personal development and growth does not stop the moment a training or learning route is completed. The process continues and it is also special to see the development I have gone through as a person and as a counselor in recent years. And in order to nurture and maintain that personal and professional process, it is nice if you can anchor yourself every now and then so that knowledge does not stay with concepts but can manifest itself in experiences. And how nice it is to be able to share those experiences with colleagues and fellow students and to be on the road together.

Spirituality or belief systems as an escape route

It has been over twenty years since I first became acquainted with psychosynthesis. Those first years of this learning path were, in retrospect, a repetition of what I had actually always done, which was to avoid really connecting with life itself. In the initial period, psychosynthesis as a transpersonal learning path was, in addition to finding a new ‘handhold’, an escape route, a survival strategy to avoid the tensions of daily life, the actual encounter with the other. I fled into spirituality just as I did as a child, tending when it didn’t feel safe and familiar, to run away into the imagination or anxiously cling to the belief system I grew up in. I was going to do my best and adapt so that I could at least “earn” to be part of the group or community.

Reaching out without the fear of losing connection with yourself jezelf

It took years before I could gradually feel the confidence and safety in myself again and no longer depended solely on the other person. I want to emphasize that this does not mean that the other person becomes less important as self-confidence increases. The other remains important in the process of personal development and growth. What arises when you can stand more and more in your power is that you can increasingly make a movement that can reach out without the fear of losing the connection with myself. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen in a few sessions with a therapist. It takes quite a bit of guts to really get moving.

A good enough ‘opposite’

And… that requires security and trust. It happened by allowing life itself and allowing myself to make new experiences in the encounter with myself and the encounter with the other. I have experienced that life itself is the best medicine against ‘survival’. And I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people, therapists or trainers who could and wanted to support me in that process. Which could be a temporary ‘good enough opposite’ for me.

External Unifying Center

I dare say that most of the clients I work with go through the same process. The process of becoming so ‘occupied’ with a complaint, symptom, survival or addiction that the healing power of life itself is hindered and can hardly be experienced anymore. It is then important to have a healthy and good enough ‘opposite’ that you can mirror in the healing power of life itself, Love. A boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or therapist can be such a good enough ‘opposite’. In psychosynthesis we know the term ‘External Unifying Center’ for this. It was also often said in the training that in our practice we would attract and encounter the clients who resonate with our own experiences and injuries.

How does the transpersonal manifest itself in your life?

Back to the online meeting last night with my psychosynthesis travel companions. Didi Firman, trainer of this learning route, asked us the question: “How does the transpersonal manifest itself in your life and how does this become visible in working with your clients”? Before that, she had started the meeting with a guided visualization of the encounter with the sage on the mountain. A classic psychosynthesis exercise to meet and experience the transpersonal dimension in ourselves.

Psychosynthesis Visualization

During this exercise I did not see myself in a landscape with a mountain but I was immediately in the landscape of my childhood. I saw myself climbing the seawall as a toddler. Not really surprising because in my experience that was the only ‘mountain’ I had ever seen and climbed.

On the seawall together with my brothers. (I’m second from the right)

The wise man/woman as a symbol for the transpersonal dimension in ourselves

I still remember the panoramic view after the (in my experience at the time) steep climb to the top of the dike. The panoramic view over the salt marshes (the land behind the dike) and the water of the Wadden Sea in the distance. In the visualization I received a small flower from the ‘wise’, who did not present himself as a person but as a presence. I couldn’t think of the name right away, but it was a simple flower on a stem. A flower with a yellow center and white narrow petals that were around the center of the flower. After the exercise, when I had returned to the here and now with my attention and let the image fade into the unconscious again, I saw before me next to my computer a picture of myself as a little boy with a bunch of these flowers in my hand which I had just picked somewhere in the grass on my way to my mother or my grandmother.

Light and shadow

The photo has been on my desk for years. I already took this photo to a therapy session once because I had a focus on the shadow that is so visible in this photo. The shadow as a symbol of my inner shadow sides, of that which could not/should not be visible or felt. It is special to notice now that another aspect of the same picture is brought into my consciousness through this exercise. Namely the light side, the side of my childish joy and innocence. And it is hopeful to know that shadow can only exist because light is present.

Madeliefjes (Daisies)

Suddenly I knew again. They are Daisies (Madeliefjes). It was as if I was surprised by a childlike joy and wonder. For me, this is an example of the transpersonal forces that I occasionally feel connected to. As if it lifts me above the ordinary, everyday and personal. As if a message is delivered directly to me, sender unknown but at the right address. It’s a personal message to me! A power that I am becoming more and more aware that from the moment we arrive in this life will touch and enrapture us in a way that fits with who we are and what we need. Will make known to us as we open ourselves to what is needed and what is healing. As a child you are much more open to the transpersonal. As we grow older we often lose part of this natural attunement with that which is beyond our understanding and which is greater than ourselves. Our brain and cognition is going to take over from our imagination. The personality adapts and goes into survival mode for many.

Madeliefje (Daisies) /Made of Love

That same strength and wonder is also sometimes visible in working with my clients at the moments when we can really meet each other so that we become visible to each other in who we really are. (Madelief)Daisy / Made of Love, made of Love. When we are able to free ourselves from what keeps us ‘occupied’, the healing power of who and what we really are, namely Love, can begin to heal our wounds to life itself. And for that we need the connection with the other, healthy and good enough opposite.

How does the transpersonal manifest itself in your life?

“Ultimately…a psychosynthesis of humanity in which all the human potential – personal and transpersonal – could be forthcoming in new forms of enlightenment, love and beauty.”

Dr, Roberto Assagioli