Central to Assagioli’s thinking is the notion of “I” (or personal self)—our true or essential self. This self is often deeply buried by childhood wounding, hidden by various social roles, masked by psychological symptoms, and lost in the rush of modern living. That is, “I” is often identified with various contents of consciousness, and so is lost in strong feelings, dominating images, and chronic patterns of thinking.

However, “I” is distinct from all such contents and thus has the potential to disidentify from them. In a number of different ways, “I” may emerge from such identifications, allowing a greater experience of authenticity, freedom, and wholeness in our lives.

In this process of disidentification, our consciousness and will become increasingly free of limiting patterns, allowing us to open to the full range of our authentic ongoing experience. The paradox of disidentification is that it is a detachment which facilitates a deeper engagement with experience—whether the heights or the depths of human existence.

Furthermore, as “I” emerges, we are in a better position to heed the invitations from a deeper source of being, the Self of which “I” is a projection or reflection. (See the stages of psychosynthesis.)