Stage 1, Exploration

We move from Survival into Exploration via a crisis of transformation (The Primal Wound), an experience in which our old survival way of being begins to falter. This can happen in many ways, such as: losing a loved one, a career, or a marriage; facing our own mortality in a serious illness or accident; or even being surprised by hitherto unknown peak experiences, creative inspirations, or a spiritual awakening. Whatever the trigger, our old way of being begins to destabilize, and we realize that our normal everyday lives are far from satisfactory, and that there must be a change in our way of living.

Moving through a crisis of transformation, we become “de-tranced” and begin exploring our experience with new eyes.


Rather than having our consciousness limited and entranced, our consciousness is expanding in order to discover who we truly are. In psychosynthesis personality theory, this is the emergence of the consciousness function of “I.”

This stage generally involves some amount of exploration of the middle, higher, and lower sectors of the unconscious as well as the state of our relationships with ourself, other people, and the world at large. This can include an exploration of, for example: personal history; family of origin; intergenerational history; ethnic, class, and national background; talents, skills, and subpersonalities, and even “the present collective psyche of humanity as a whole” (Assagioli, Psychosynthesis, p. 72). This is a stage in which serious self-exploration takes place, as one struggles with the question, “Who am I?”