Roberto Assagioli

A few words about Dr. Assagioli by Piero Ferrucci, a student of Dr. Assagioli and a prominent psychosynthesis teacher and author in his own right. From his foreword to A Psychology with a Soul by Jean Hardy, "As far as I know, Roberto Assagioli is the only individual who has participated personally and actively in the unfurling of two distinct and fundamental revolutions in twentieth century psychology.

The first revolution was the birth of psychoanalysis and depth psychology in the beginning of the century: Assagioli, then a young medical student, presented his MD dissertation on psychoanalysis, wrote in the official Jahrbuch side by side with Freud and Jung, and was part of the Zurich Freud Society, the group of early psychoanalytical pioneers. The idea of unconscious processes in the mind made a lasting impression on him, an impression which he later developed into a variety of hypotheses well beyond the boundaries of orthodox psychoanalysis.

The second revolution in which Assagioli participated was the creation of humanistic and transpersonal psychology in the 1960s. A. H. Maslow was the pioneer of these new developments. The main idea was simple: rather than focusing on pathology in order to define the human being (as psychoanalysis had all too often done), or on the structural similarities between the human and the animal nervous system (as behaviorism suggested), the humanistic and transpersonal point of view, while not denying the findings of the other schools, put the main emphasis on the organism's striving for wholeness, on the human being's potential for growth, expansion of consciousness, health, love and joy.

Richness in contacts and interchanges was quite important in Assagioli's background: consider such diverse acquaintances (some of them brief, others lasting) as Italian idealist Benedetto Croce, Russian esotericist P. D. Ouspensky, German philosopher Hermann Keyserling, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, Sufi mystic Inhayat Khan, Zen Scholar D. T. Suzuki, Tibet's explorer Alexandra David Neel, plus psychologists Viktor Frankl, the founder of logotherapy, Robert Desoille, creator of the guided daydream, and C. G. Jung himself, before and after his break with psychoanalysis. Such contacts, coupled with a life of experimentation and reflection, provided an undoubtedly wide perspective for Assagioli's creation, which he called psychosynthesis."

Assagioli’s impact continues through modern day as his work and his creation of psychosynthesis are recognized and practiced throughout the world. Psychosynthesis principles and practices have made their way into many current theories and the profound impact of Roberto Assagioli’s work has been felt and noted. Assagioli was one of the founding editors of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, a journal still active today, leading the way towards a psychological view, in line with Assagioli’s own inspiration—one that sees the human being as resilient, evolving and carrying both humanness and divinity in the quest for a life of purpose, meaning and values.