There are five main groups of people that psychosynthesis can reach. These groups are in no way exclusive or separate from each other, but are nevertheless distinct.
By Roberto Assagioli, date unknown. From the Assagioli Archive in Florence. Original Title: Ampiezza e Portata della Psicosintesi. Translated with Notes by Jan Juniholm
There are five main groups of people that psychosynthesis can reach. These groups are in no way exclusive or separate from each other, but are nevertheless distinct. One should not regard them as “absolutes;” however, they can help guide us on how to better enter into relationship with humanity.
These classifications help us to determine what is the “right” approach to different individuals and groups. Each of these groups should be approached in a specific way. This requires openness and sensitivity on the part of the guide in relation to the specific needs and past experiences of the individual in question. Keeping true to the psychosynthetic attitude, we must adapt our way of working to the specific needs and existential situation prevailing.
The most effective way to learn how to do this is to “listen” to individuals or groups with an open mind and clear awareness. We try not to have predefined agendas or expectations in order to be totally present and welcoming. This is an important quality for a good guide or leader; the ability to let go of planned techniques and get in tune with the situation of the moment.
Let us now look at the five groups. The first and second groups are similar. They include: 1. Those who are mentally or intellectually polarized; and 2. Those who are scientifically oriented. These two groups are found frequently; they represent the majority of those who want to come in contact with our work. Both groups are predominantly mentally-oriented and are likely to need the development of their feelings and intuitive functions. With them it is advisable not to introduce esotericism in any way, as they tend to oppose it. In due course, they may be taken to the transpersonal plane, but they may also be entirely content to work on the level of personal self-actualization alone.
The third group concerns those who gravitate to the general area of religion, whether in a personal or professional capacity. Here there is usually some awareness of spiritual or transpersonal reality. With them it is important to emphasize the fact that psychosynthesis does not interfere in any way with their religious practices or beliefs. Rather, it operates perfectly within any religious context. We should always keep in mind that the psychosynthetic process is “additive” rather than “subtractive.” The techniques of psychosynthesis can facilitate and clarify one’s religious journey. Psychosynthesis provides useful tools for those who aspire to a truly religious life. It provides the “means to an end.” In their highest sense, religion and psychosynthesis are naturally in agreement. Even with the religious group we must avoid the use of esotericism: always try to make it exoteric.
Please note that it should be considered wise to take what is “esoteric” and make it “exoteric.” By doing so we give an example of the usefulness of what is esoteric, and its validity in the ordinary world. Until we bring the esoteric teachings and philosophies down to a practical level, they are of little use to us.
The fourth category includes those who can be called, or who call themselves, “esotericists.” This group must be treated in a special way. Often they have studied esotericism and neglected to work on and develop their personalities. This group definitely needs personal psychosynthesis. It is needed as a balancing factor for their often excessive transpersonal yearnings. They often experience inner conflict as a result of avoiding personality problems, and this makes them ineffective in the world. This group usually needs psychological and physical “anchoring.” They need to be “brought down” and connected more solidly with good functioning on the physical plane. Resistance may arise, as there may be negative judgment regarding the personality and its limiting manifestations. Ego inflation and attachment to the esoteric are common experiences and should be wisely disassembled.
A fifth (and rapidly expanding) group we are dealing with includes those who: a) have psychic sensitivity; b) are interested in psychic phenomena; or c) seek to develop psychic powers. There are two general types of psychics: those who are inclined to spirituality, and those who are not. Those who have this inclination to spirituality can often be traced to the group of esotericists. The other type of psychics presents difficulties. They are usually immersed in the world of psychic phenomena and often get “stuck” there. For this group, the responsibility factor must be emphasized. The psychic realm implies a responsibility to use their gifts (if they are genuine) for the purpose of service, and not for curiosity, personal satisfaction or gain. Psychosynthetic work can be both a “pulling up the personal;” and, from above, a “pulling down the transpersonal.” Let us keep this in mind, and make it clear to psychics that psychic activity does not in itself imply spirituality. For here again we are dealing with the problems of ego inflation and attachment to phenomena.
We must always keep these general categories in mind in the groups we are working with. Whenever possible, it would be preferable and more profitable to choose groups that are homogeneous in terms of prior experience and basic needs. What is esoteric for some may be exoteric for others. As frequently as possible, the group should be selected in relation to the level of development, growth and evolution of its members. This will allow for better results, due to the corresponding work most appropriate for each.
THE FIVE MAIN FIELDS OF PSYCHOSYNTHESIS
These provide us with a broad context in which to work and can be most useful in providing clarity, direction and choice. Thus we have five general groups with five areas; which gives us 25 aspects to work on.
- The first area is self-realization. It involves personal and individual preparation. This is fundamental and should be practiced by everyone, including leaders.
- The second is the therapeutic field: it concerns doctors and physicians, who are in great need of it. This connects with the humanistic medicine project in the US which is being organized and carried out by Stuart and Sara Miller. This is a huge field that is emerging in America, but may extend to England in the future. This is psychosynthesis therapy that is scientific, reputable and up-to-date.
- As a third there is education, educational psychosynthesis, and this is a huge field. In America there is an “Educational Project” headed by Prof. George Brown.
- The fourth is interpersonal psychosynthesis; interpersonal meaning between only two individuals. It can be father and son or daughter, mother and son or daughter, then “the couple,” therapist and client (from the point of view of their interpersonal relationship and the problem of transference). Or even of the teacher with respect to each pupil, or of the office manager with the employees. It is the problem of the relationship between “those who direct” and “those who are directed.” This is also a huge field.
- The preceding is different from inter-individual and social psychosynthesis, which is the fifth field. Here we are dealing with group relationships, not interpersonal ones; and it is very different in attitude, and especially in the techniques used. In this field is the relationship between the individual and the group, and between the group and the individual. It works both ways. Then the relationship between groups, which is very difficult. There are gradually larger groups, professional categories, military ranks and so on until you get to national groups (national personalities and national souls), leading to the psychosynthesis of humanity. All this is very different from the interpersonal. Often this difference is not well emphasized. Some people work very well in interpersonal psychosynthesis but not in group or social psychosynthesis, and vice versa. The social area also includes new types of communities, as well as cooperation in industries. So does, in part, the work done in England by Ridell and Bader. This as well a very useful field.
For the purpose of clarity, the following outline is proposed:
 The Italian word used here is psichismo, which could be translated as “psychism;” however this term has a more specific meaning in English related to certain beliefs. Therefore I have chosen “psychic phenomena” as more closely representing Assagioli’s intent here. —Tr.
 Stuart Miller, PhD (1938-2014) was (in 1974) the founding President of the Institute for the Study of Humanistic Medicine, but this organization no longer exists. Miller was also Vice President of Esalen Institute and a student of psychosynthesis, having interviewed Assagioli several times for publication. —Tr.
 At least in the United States, the term “medicine” does not usually include psychotherapy, and in the US “psychosynthesis therapy” is currently considered to be a variety of psychotherapy. However also in the US a group called the American Holistic Medical Association approaches medicine in a way that is largely congruent with psychosynthesis, and other groups of physicians elsewhere also practice in a holistic context. —Tr.
 George Isaac Brown, EdD (1923-2011) was the creator of “Gestalt-concluent education.” He worked with Fritz Perls, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers as co-presenter and co-therapist at Esalen Institute and elsewhere, and initiated several experimental projects in humanistic and affective education. He was the author of Human Teaching for Human Learning: An Introduction to Confluent Education —Tr.
 Ernest Bader (1890-1982) founded the chemical company Scott Bader, Ltd. in 1921 and gave it to its employees, under terms of common ownership, forming the Scott Bader Commonwealth in 1951. He was the author of “The Third Way in Industry,” in Works Management, The Journal of the Institution of Works Managers (UK), May 1957, a copy of which is found in the Assagioli Archives in Florence. —Tr.