Personal bias: I am a 71 year old person who has been doing psychotherapy for 40 years and astrological analysis and counseling for the same amount of time. I have been dis-identifying from my former occupational identity (semi-retired), not counting on my strength from my physical body, and facing losses of relatives and friends through natural deaths. So when I explain mental health solutions, it is from the standpoint of a partial withdrawal from outer world engagements that enables me to eventually strive for spiritual goals. I realize for younger persons, they may not see my solutions the same way. For them psychosynthesis of basic needs is the order of the day. One of the advantages I have, is that I can see the illusions so clearly of the ego-attachments that prevent those from finding the light.
A. Development of psychic maturity
1. Mental health problems are caused, in part, by an imbalance between obsessions with our ego dependent desires and our needs; traumas; substance abuse disorders; and serious mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder; bipolar I disorder; and schizophrenia. Cognitive disorders can be helped with medication; psychotherapy based on the down-regulation of nervous system disorders; and enhancing adaptive coping skills. All these interventions are to increase healthy ego development as far as possible. These issues, if not addressed render psychic maturity delayed/postponed. These problems are best addressed by psychotherapy/psychiatry.
2. For those without mental health problems: In a free democratic society, there are seemingly unlimited choices to be made that can lead to the wrong choices and immature development. One is challenged to differentiate between one’s wants and needs. Wants are caused by obsessive thoughts of ego-dependent desires for fast gratification. These are usually illusions/distortions based on poor ego development, i.e. poor self-esteem and/or self-aggrandizement from ego inflation. Poor self esteem results in not having one’s needs met for self-confidence, positive self-image and self-worth. To a certain degree for younger persons, narcissistic gratifications lead to proper and healthy ego development. But where the wants or passions are unbalanced (violence and non-consensual sex), then the needs of the individual are ignored; and there are major discrepancies in development. Abraham Maslow identified primary needs in the pyramid below. maslow (1).
In all cases , these must be met ; and if only wants are gratified, there will be lack of fulfillment and an obsessive search for desire gratification. Furthermore, the above needs may be ignored.
Below is an outline of how to meet each of these above needs and this is especially pertinent during the COVID-19 crisis in Pennsylvania, USA.
- Physiological Needs: Housing referrals (HUD); food banks; Office of Attorney General: https//:www.attorneygeneral.gov/consumer-complaint Clothing through Goodwill; Water, heat and electricity Utilities cannot be cut off- Attorney General’s Consumer Advocate at 1-800-684-6560, 8:30am to 4:30 pm; Grace period for Mortages, contact PA CARE Package to see if your bank provides this financial protection. Student Loan relief: no payments for 6 months till Sept 30,2020 contact https//:www.attorneygeneral.gov/consumer-complaint
- Safety Needs: Evictions in Pa halted till July 25,2020; Unemployment compensation https//:www.uc.pa.gov/; Stimulus Checks https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/covid-rights; call IRS for social security recipients stimulus checks: 1-800-824-1040
- Love and belonging: contact family or psychotherapist for support ; Friendship through social media; Domestic abuse/sexual assault hotline- 814-944-3585;
- Esteem: Psychotherapy MBTI couple counseling for equitable, reciprocal relationship advocacy (814-215-3999); MBTI recommendations for occupational preferences; Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for disability evaluation and job searching: 814-946-7240 (voice); Suicide hotline- 1-800-273-8255; Drug and Alcohol hotline (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-4357
- Self actualization: Psychotherapy Services- Psychosocial Treatment, 814-215-3999 appointments
The above identified Needs are the basic issues leading to a personal Psychosynthesis. So psychic maturity depends on meeting these basic needs first in my judgment.
B. Barriers to Psychosynthesis which are addressed by Psychotherapy/referral:
1. Barriers to meeting these needs are passions that are acted out which are thought-illusions/distortions motivated by poor ego development (poor self worth) or ego inflation (grandiosity), don’t address real needs. Obsessive thoughts lead to actions and behavior which create an errant path. Substance abuse and/or a weakened will can open doors in the nervous system that invite intrusion or possession by entities that may lead to addiction.
2 Deprivations in the need for love and self-esteem can lead to social isolation as a defense against rejection in social interaction, real or imagined. Crippling anxiety symptoms are generalized and can prevent exploration into even normative social interactions.
3. Variables that prevent/ impair healthy psychosynthesis are:
a. Heredity which gives one innate abilities /liabilities . Either the individual talents are greater than the environment wants and there is a surplus of untapped potential or there are weaknesses due to health problems that cause mental/physical disability and functional impairment.
b. The environment pressure (socially, culturally) on the individual causes stresses that are beyond the individual capacities or endowments resulting in a person being constantly stressed out, developing autoimmune disorders, and perhaps living in poverty.
c. Trauma can prevent/slow down meeting of psychosynthesis integration. This of course depends on resilience and proper treatment of the underlying trauma.
d. Serious mental illnesses with delusions, hallucinations and maladaptive behaviors may retard psychosynthesis.
An individual’s ego identity is a moving target that changes based on collective social, cultural, parental, and karmic influences. Finding a stable ego -identity demands an integration of the personality in which spit-off parts (sub-personalities), lessen their influence and power. Integration demands a stronger ego development leading to feelings of security; calmness; self love and intimacy; and clear thinking for problem solving. (2)
Reality testing ability, adaptive functioning in an occupational role, satisfying love relationships, and feeling secure physically are measures of success; and evidence that psychosynthesis can occur. Beyond that when we really become aware of self-actualization we reach about 54-60 years years of age. By that time we are aware that even though we may have ego attachments to our body, to our feeling values or to our mind as a problem solver; those identifications and attachments loosen and as they weaken. This sets us up for our ability to dis-identify with whatever ego attachments were prominent. And sets the stage for an awakening of our self that is beyond our little egos, as cute as it is. Wherein lies a soul experience in the here and now which can trigger an awakening.(3)
C. Awakening to an expansion of consciousness beyond gratification of ego desires
“The symbol of awakening is from a group of symbols which are found among those of light, of illumination. Just as ordinary waking marks the passage from darkness of night to the light of the sun, so the awakening transpersonal awareness marks the transition that has been designated ‘illumination’. The first stage is to see clearly within ourselves; the second, of illumination is the solution of problems hitherto appearing insoluble, and this by means of the specific instrument of inner vision, intuition. Thus intuitive awareness comes to replace intellectual, logical and rational consciousness, or better, to integrate and transcend it.” (4)
According to Maslow, self-actualization is the pinnacle of mature psychological development based on the need for self-realization and potency in the outer/ inner world. Through reflection and inward looking, one begins this journey.
As one becomes his/her own authority, to the awakening of trans-personal development skills are developed. Once accomplished, these skills can yield increases of intuition, inspiration, illumination into the intrinsic unity between object and subject.
Humanitarian ideals, universal and unconditional love, and submission of our little egos to Divine will are the three initiations will be discussed in part 2. These are rituals which can lead to higher states of a Christ consciousness and an expansion of our ego.(5)
1 Maslow, Abraham, “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Psychological Review, 1943.
2 Grove, John Life Passages: When Age Points Aspects and Dreams Coincide, Chapter 2, pps: 37-61, Hopewell Publishing, Knutsford, UK. 2017.
3. Parfitt, Will The Something and Nothing of Death, PS Avalon, Gastonbury, UK. 2008, p. 121
4 Assagioli, Roberto, Symbols of Transpersonal Awareness in Course I The Elements of Psychosynthesis, Course by Will Parfitt, Avalon Distance Learning, UK, 2018
5 Huber, Bruno and Louise, The Planets, Hopewell Publishing, Knutsford UK, 2006, pps. 106-118