Assagioli, Roberto (1888-1974)

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Assagioli, Roberto (1888-1974)

Psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and parapsychologist. He was born February 27, 1888, in Venice, Italy, and educated at University of Florence (M.D.). As a young psychiatrist he became disenchanted with first Freudian and then Jungian psychoanalysis. Thus he turned his attention to the development of a new psychology he termed psychosynthesis. Psychosynthesis assumes that in addition to the conscious self, or "I", every person also has a pathway to a "Higher Self," which is a reflection of the divine. The purpose of each human life is to participate as fully as possible in self-evolution along that pathway. The system was left open so that both individuals and any psychologists could participate in developing psychosynthesis and incorporate the various occult tools of transformation.

Assagioli founded the Institute of Psychosynthesis in 1926. He met Alice Bailey during the early 1930s, and they became friends; their organizations have retained a working association. Psychosynthesis was suppressed during World War II, and Assagioli was arrested. He spent his prison days exploring meditation and altered states of consciousness. After the war he revived his work and promoted the founding of institutes in the United States, Greece, and England.

In 1958 Assagioli became chair of the Psychosynthesis Research Foundation at Greenville, Delaware, and editor of Psiche-Rivista di Studi Psicologici. During his mature years, he authored a set of books which became the major statements of psychosynthesis. He died in Capaiona, Italy, on August 23, 1974.


Assagioli, Roberto. The Act of Will. New York: Viking/ Penguin, 1973.

. Parapsychological Faculties and Psychological Disturbances. London: Medical Society for Study of Radiesthesia, 1958.

. Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles and Techniques. Rev. ed. New York: Viking/Penguin, 1971.