Psychosynthesis is not simply a model of pathology and treatment, but a developmental approach which can help guide a person to understand the meaning of their human life within the broad context of synthesis - the drive towards the harmonisation of all relationships, whether intrapersonal, or interpersonal, between individuals and groups.

In 1911, as a pioneer of psychoanalysis in Italy, Roberto Assagioli began developing the insight that even as the psychological past exists in the present, so too does the psychological future. In other words, just as childhood is affecting our present living, so too is our vast human potential for healing and change. Indeed, repression of this higher potential can lead to psychological disturbances every bit as debilitating as repression of childhood trauma.

Assagioli maintained that just as there is a lower unconscious, there is also a superconscious. He describes this as a realm of the psyche that contains our highest potential - the Self, the source of our unique human path of development. This is the realm of values and of peak experiences, later to be studied by Abraham Maslow, which gave birth to the field of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology.

Assagioli formulated his discoveries into an approach he called psychosynthesis. This term of course distinguishes it from psychoanalysis, but Assagioli did not mean thereby to replace the insights of psychoanalysis, but rather to include the past within the context of the awakening of the Self.

Plumbing the depths of the past and healing childhood traumas is as crucial to psychosynthesis as it is to other psychological orientations. In psychosynthesis this uncovering work is carried out within the context of discovering and expressing the rich inner resources of the unfolding Self.