Questions

What is Psychosynthesis?
 
Like most ‘talking cures’, Psychosynthesis seeks to integrate separated elements of our psyches which we have learnt to supress in order to get our needs met, for example, love, approval etc. Roberto Assagioli, who founded Psychosynthesis, came up with a very nifty tool to aid in the re-integration of these separated aspects of ourselves which he termed subpersonalities.

Assagioli, like Jung (with whom he corresponded for almost 20 years), gave as much credence to our imaginative, creative and aspirational selves as to our past; who we may be, not merely who we have become. People often seek out Psychosynthesis when they find the everyday things they’ve strived for that gave their life meaning and purpose e.g.work, family, maybe material possessions, just don’t tick the boxes in the same satisfying way for them anymore. They want to explore existential questions about life and death. This is where the transpersonal and holistic elements inherent in Psychosynthesis come in. The therapy recognises the inter-connectedness of the individual to the far larger whole; the micro and macro – and that the issues which trouble or cause us pain, as individuals, are often our soul’s messengers ushering us onwards to further integration and towards a broader, more enriching life.

What’s the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Counselling tends to be a shorter process focused on a particular issue and dealing with the day-to-day practical management of that issue. Exploring how our thinking affects feeling and behaviour. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be a useful tool. 

Psychotherapy is the process of getting to know and understand yourself and your relationships through exploring your past, your feelings, thoughts and behaviours as they manifest both outside and inside the therapeutic relationship.

In psychotherapy, the psyche, (as it manifests itself in dreams, imagery, or the symbolic power that some of our childhood stories hold for us), is considered - as the psychoanalyst Freud maintained – ‘the royal road’ to the unconscious or deeper self. 

How can I tell if a counsellor or therapist is right for me?
Perversely perhaps, I’d say experiencing a mix of feeling comfortable, and a bit on edge. Ask yourself the following: How was I welcomed? During the session did I feel I was being really listened to, understood and responded to appropriately? Did I feel safe with her/him? Did I feel they were being REAL, or just hiding behind a mask of professionalism.

I’d advise asking whether the therapist’s training required them to undergo personal therapy. A therapist who has not done so, can have no idea of what it is to be a client. And perhaps, more worryingly, will not have had the opportunity to mine their own psyche. Can someone be a good guide if they have not themselves walked the territory?
  
Trust your intuition. Don’t judge a book by its cover! See more than one counsellor or therapist before deciding.