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Theo Dijkman Psychosynthesis: the existence of Self and the personality

Over 100 years ago the Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli postulated that spiritual drives and urges are as real, basic and fundamental as the instinctive energies so well described by Freud at the time. He suggested that the individual holds a spiritual core that adheres to higher values. He also made a clear distinction between what is understood by spirit and organised religion. In his writing he equated spirit with Self as that which is above and unaffected by any content and layers of the personality and bodily conditions. Self is not an object of consciousness but the source of consciousness. Similarly, Self is not a being but the ground of Being from which springs a drive that seeks expression and wholeness. He saw the task of psychotherapy as a two-fold creative process, where one relates to the development of the personality and self-actualisation and the other as an unfolding process of Self-realisation and connectedness with this ground of Being.

Although initially formulated over 100 years ago his model of the personality is still relevant today, particularly since the growth of humanistic and transpersonal psychologies. This seminar will explore this concept of Self, the drive towards Self-realisation and what this means in terms of the therapeutic relationship. It will present perspectives from psychosynthesis, psychoanalytical as well as metaphysical sources including Bion, Jung and Buddhism. It will consider psychopathology from this non-religious spiritual perspective and in how far this informs what the client brings as well as the psychotherapist's interventions.  

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Theo Dijkman is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and organisational consultant working in private practice. For 10 years he was a senior trainer with the Institute of Psychosynthesis in London where he delivered seminars on the MA psychosynthesis psychotherapy programme. He has a background in senior management of mental health charities working with people with a history of trauma and complex mental health difficulties.

Part of the CCRI First Thursday Seminar Series