Roberto Assagioli: (1) On the Healthy Individual; and (2) On Techniques

Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy. An interview with Roberto Assagioli published in 1973.


Interviewer:  What are the characteristics of the whole, healthy person from the point of view of psychosynthesis? What would I be like?

Assagioli:  I don’t think one can list these qualities because each of us is different and has the right to be healthy in his own way. This is another basic point in psychosynthesis: the uniqueness of each individual; at the present stage of his life and also at different stages of evolution, of development; no generalizing, no labeling. What is healthy for an adolescent is no more healthy for a young man or for a mature man. So it’s very individual; according to the make up of the individual and his stage of realization. Psychosynthesis is very “individualistic” in this sense. It tries to deal with the present unique situation in the interplay between therapist and patient.


Assagioli: There’s one point I should like to emphasize further: generally these techniques for transpersonal realization are bound with specific religions and philosophies; Christianity, especially Catholics, have their techniques of meditation, contemplation, union with God; the Hindus have various techniques: Raja Yoga, Vedanta and others, and so on. Thus people are apt to believe that those practices are necessarily linked with their religion or philosophy. But it is not so; one can use the same techniques without their theological or philosophical, metaphysical framework. Thus, I try to extract the common elements of the various techniques, independently of their respective frameworks. This is important with patients: I can work very well with a Catholic or a Protestant, with an agnostic and anybody else, because the work is empirical—discovery, adventure.


Assagioli:  This gives me the occasion to say that I never give an opinion on any technique because I think it’s unrealistic, all depends on: who applies it, how he does it, to whom, for what purpose. That’s true for every technique. And anyhow, the theory behind a technique for me is not important. Some can do very good work with rather debatable techniques and some can do indifferent or bad work within a good theoretical framework. It is the specific application to each individual; that is distinctive of Psychosynthesis. We have no pet technique. I accept every valuable technique which I can find. I test it and see how it works.


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