Mental kinesiology fitted well into the established work with the unconscious psyche. It would turn out that there was a correspondence between psychosynthesis and neuroscience, a new and paradoxical fact: the principles that Roberto Assagioli and his students enunciated over the last hundred years have now found a precise correspondence in the data and models of neuroscience1. The article you are reading is also about the HBP HOLOGRAPHIC BIO-PSYCHOSYNTHESIS® approach, which was born out of a life crisis, and why we need to include our past incarnations when healing.
Psyshosynthesis and mental kinesiology
The Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) was the founder of psychosynthesis or bio-psychosynthesis, as he called it first. Assagioli (1967)2 realized the necessity of including the body (hence “bio”), as he understood the close ties that knit body and psyche and the reciprocal actions and reactions between them.
“The experience- and insight-based education to become a psychosynthesis therapist gave me many insights, allowing me to process my wounds. Toward the end of four years of intense training to become a psychosynthesis therapist and loads of therapy hours, I discovered that my deepest wounds were still there. It was devastating, so much so that I didn’t know how to survive. How on earth was I supposed to take back my power and be me? And just as importantly: How was I to help my clients with their deepest wounds if I couldn’t understand or heal my own?
I realized that psychosynthesis, traditional therapy, and logical approaches would only get me so far, and I kept searching – and found mental kinesiology as a means of finding my own truth. Mental kinesiology offered what I was searching for, a more concrete way to get in contact with the unconscious. What’s more, the method fitted with psychosynthesis. When I tried mental kinesiology treatments myself and experienced the result, I decided to educate myself in the method, partly to be able to help myself and partly to use the method as a complement in my client work as a psychosynthesis therapist.”
Kinesiology is a method in which the therapist muscle tests the tension in the autonomic nervous system in order to correct imbalances in the body. The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts mainly unconsciously, regulates bodily functions, and is not directed by the will. A simplified way of looking at it is that the autonomic nervous system steers your energy-intense response (fight or flight) and energy-saving actions (rest and digestion).
Mental kinesiology is a method that communicates with the brain and connects with the brain’s internal structure, the limbic system, which is more emotionally controlled than the more logical parts as the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala, part of the limbic system, is considered our brain’s watchdog, steering our life based on emotional memory. When muscle testing the tension in the autonomic nervous system, we communicate with the unconscious and your truth to explore your thoughts and feelings.
Our unconscious psyche rules and limits us
The unconscious psyche is always stronger than the conscious and is beyond the control of the will. Even if we train the will, which is a central part of psychosynthesis, the unconscious psyche will be stronger and take over the conscious in a split second, especially when we are emotionally upset. In his article on biopsychosynthesis, John H. Parks3 refers to what Assagioli4 meant by the specific purpose of the exercises, which is to become aware of and train the central nervous system’s functions. Oddly enough, during my whole education to become a psychosynthesis therapist, nothing about how the nervous system works was mentioned, even though we worked with different techniques and body exercises adapted to the individual’s unique needs.
We always do what we believe is the best based on our unconscious decision-making processes, which are controlled by the brain’s inner parts and the brainstem through the spinal cord. The expression: “it becomes second nature” makes sense indeed. As long as we cannot change our behaviors, they control and restrict us based on our experiences.
Working with the unconscious in the psychosynthesis therapeutic process
With mental kinesiology, I could work with and reach the different levels described in the psychosynthesis egg diagram, which illustrates the human psyche:
- The lower, middle, and higher unconscious.
- The field of consciousness.
- The conscious Self or “I”.
- The transpersonel Self.
The client is asked questions that she wants to explore during the process, and these questions are muscle tested. The answers come in the form of the force (reaction to the question) in the autonomic nervous system becoming strong (a yes) or weak (a no), which is the nervous system’s only way to express itself. Based on the information from the muscle testing, which identifies the cause of the blocking, a formulation is created that is in sync with the client’s nervous system. The client reads the formulation, then there is reconciliation with muscle tests to ensure that the autonomic nervous system changes.
The will, which is central in psychosynthesis, is the basis for transformation. The will is encouraged automatically throughout the work with mental kinesiology and the unconscious, as the client is highly involved in finding her trough. Seeking answers in the unconscious with muscle tests around resistance, motivation, motivation, roles, relationships, conflicts, what controls and limits the client to develop their inherent potential provides answers beyond logic.
Some of the advantages of working with mental kinesiology in the psychosynthesis therapeutic process include:
- It’s possible to work with all levels, conscious and unconscious, in the psychosynthesis egg-diagram in a very concrete way.
- The client develops insight into the cause of the block and understands the limitations that came with it.
- Muscle testing works even if the client is doubtful at first and does not believe in it, for the simple reason that the unconscious is in opposition to the conscious and it is the unconscious that we muscle test.
- Muscle testing is a way for the client to understand that she has the answers about herself within herself, which also contributes to the practice of using the intuition.
- The method leads to increased self-knowledge and trust in the client’s own power to change.
- The client’s will and commitment to her development are encouraged throughout the whole process.
- Throughout the process, the client gets in contact with her unconscious psyche in a very concrete way and gets access to what is otherwise is difficult to reach in the psychosynthesis therapeutic process.
My understanding and experience are that this concrete way of working with the unconscious can reduce the length of the psychological process and consequently the therapy time. I learned to use mental kinesiology in the same nuanced way that I used different psychosynthesis methods and techniques adapted to the client’s unique needs, processes, and goals. When I brought mental kinesiology into the process, the relationship with the client changed. The client understood that she was the one who had the answers about herself within herself. Based on that insight, our relationship became equal; the client gained a higher trust in herself.
My understanding is that mental kinesiology fits very well into the psychosynthesis therapeutic process. When the time came to write my final work to become a certified psychosynthesis therapist, it was obvious that I should write about just that.
I searched for knowledge to see if I could find a correspondence between psychosynthesis and neuroscience. I found an article by Piero Ferrucci that gave me further confirmation that I was on the right track: there was a correspondence between psychosynthesis and neuroscience. Ferrucci writes about a new and paradoxical fact: the principles that Roberto Assagioli and his students enunciated over the past hundred years have now beend found to have a precise correspondence in the data and models of neuroscience.
My examination work to become a psychosynthesis therapist, completed in 2015, was about how mental kinesiology fits into psychosynthesis, and outlined the benefits that I, at the time, experienced as it is a very concrete way to work with the unconscious. This area may belong in what Assagioli called the plasticity or “plastic unconscious” (malleable unconscious), which Ferrucci highlights in his article1.
Ferrucci1 highlights some fundamental themes that psychosynthesis and neuroscience have in common. A couple of these themes, the will and the malleability of the brain and the malleable unconscious, are highlighted below, as I believe these themes are the foundation and prerequisite for change.
“Psychosynthesis in the light of neuroscience”
Ferrucci’s article “Psychosynthesis in the light of neuroscience”1 discusses how recent developments in neuroscience research have highlighted a new and paradoxical fact: the principles that Assagioli and his students enunciated in the past hundred years now find an exact equivalent in the data and models available in neuroscience. The paradox is that psychosynthesis, which focuses on the uniqueness of the individual, has always been based on soft, subjective evidence from results of stories at the individual level and in group sessions during different techniques and exercises. Now there indisputable evidence confirming the experiential ground rules; that is, the knowledge and the result depend on the senses’ experiences.
This development is part of a vaster tendency. Whereas psychotherapeutic practice and neurophysiological research were largely strangers to one another in the past, now we find communication and convergence between the two worlds. As a consequence of this upheaval, we are witnessing changes and radical revisions that would have been unthinkable in earlier times and have radically altered and amplified the scientific image of human nature. This development is mainly due to advances in techniques for examining the brain itself, particularly images of the brain, which allow scientists to observe ongoing brain activity, enabling them to study the relationship between subjective states and physiological events.
Ferrucci1 writes that many neuroscience studies show us “psychosynthesis in action” (without calling it that), in all its essential aspects. And that studying neuroscience in this context is like learning psychosynthesis again from a different, more concrete perspective.
The will is central for psychosynthesis; it is closer to our identity than everything else and has the most significant importance for us humans. The will is often not developed enough, or else it is oppressed and deadened throughout life. Ferrucci1 writes that Assagioli believes that this is not only an essential reason for discomfort and pathology; it is the main cause of pathology. Assagioli believes that free will exists and can be developed.
Free will is, by definition, unpredictable. The view that free will is predetermined seems to contradict our subjective experience of having the power to choose freely. Many have adopted the hypothesis that free will does not exist, that it is a by-product of another phenomenon, a mental event which, though existing, has no influence on reality. The will is thus impaired to the status of a subjective illusion: we believe that we choose, but everything is already decided.
Several studies show that there is will activity in the brain. Particularly interesting is an essay by Adina Roskies5 on free will. Roskies wonders if neuroscientific studies undermine the idea of free will. Her answer is that, first of all, the term “will” or “a decision made by the free will” is too vague and that it must be divided into five different meanings: as the beginning of an act that comes from within the individual herself (as opposed to a reaction to what comes from external causes such as the environment, physical or psychosocial), or as intention, decision, executive control, or subjective experience. Roskies says that no neuroscientific discovery doubts the existence of the will in each of the senses mentioned above.
Many studies have begun to look at the possibility of influencing the brain in terms of commercial choices – so-called neuromarketing. This method, whose ethical implications are undoubtedly questionable, uses brain images to study the brain’s reaction to different images and logos. The images linked to identity are most promising from a commercial point of view because they evoke essence with the logo and lifestyle it symbolizes: hence the phenomenon of brand loyalty. The brain reaction is not related to the product or service offered by the logo, but only to the logo and the emotional content it represents. Brain research for commercial purposes assumes that free will exists but can be manipulated.
The plastic or the malleable unconscious
Basic studies of the brain previously showed that once we reached maturity in adolescence, the brain would remain the same until the gradual senile degeneration started. These studies were something that hindered communication and the exchange between neuroscience and psychotherapy. Assagioli4 spoke of the plastic unconscious starting in 1909, and formulated a series of laws that allow us to influence the unconscious and change our feelings and behaviors with our will.
Since the 1990s, the idea of brain structural immutability has been replaced by the idea of its malleability. The work of Eric R. Kandels6 within neuroscience and memory is at the origin of this monumental change. Experimenting on the marine snail aplysia, endowed with particularly large neurons, and subjecting these creatures to a series of electric shocks, Kandel noticed that their nervous system changed and the synaptic connections between motor and sensory neurons multiplied. He thus found that a strengthening of the connections between neurons became structural. “What particularly fascinated me…,” says Kandel, “was the possibility that psychotherapy, which presumably works in part by creating an environment in which people learn to change, produces structural changes in the brain and that one might now be in a position to evaluate those changes directly6.”
The famous studies comparing London taxi drivers (who must memorize vast quantities of information on roads) to bus drivers (who habitually drive the same route) show that the taxi drivers’ brains formed more developed neural circuits because of their learning, internalization, and prolonged use of road maps. The same results were found in other areas comparing cerebral maps of the brains of people who actively practice their profession and those who do not. In all cases, the neural circuits show differences due to the repetition of thoughts and behaviors. In short, the brain is plastic. It can be formed by what we do and what we think. Repeated activities and thoughts leave a deep trace in the organization of the neural circuitry. These findings force us to review the concept of human nature. What before seemed rigidly unchangeable now is seen as susceptible to voluntary transformation.
This orientation coincides with the thoughts of psychosynthesis. The new frontiers of neuroscience provide a broader and more complete picture. The subjective feelings, which have long been known to our clients and us, suddenly become clearer and take on a more detailed physical dimension.
It is as if the events in our inner world receive confirmation of their existence and its importance; they are not vague, undefined processes, but concrete events and mental functions that can be put in relation to specific parts of the brain. Our inner world takes on a new status by enabling us to see which brain areas are activated by an inner event and which reflect an exact external graphic representation of the same event.
How FYSAP FREE YOUR SOUL AND PERSONALITY®, HBP HOLOGRAPHIC BIO-PSYCHOSYNTHESIS®, and FREEBLOCKING® was born
Through mental kinesiology, I was able to reach my unconscious psyche in a very concrete way; I discovered that I had access to the answers about me within myself, and realized that I had the power to change. As big changes often do, this step had a big impact. I finally made the decision, after years of hesitation, to leave my marriage. It was that moment in life when I closed my eyes, followed my instinct, and leapt. The implications of this decision led me to realize that I once again needed to reconsider my acquired knowledge; this time, it was about mental kinesiology.
I did not understand the resistance I faced in my nightmare divorce. Untill that day, I realized that I needed to let go of what I had learned and immerse myself in my soul’s bigger picture, the lives she has lived, the relationships she has traveled with, and its painful challenges.
I had been seeking healing for my wounds for many years, and when I found psychosynthesis, I felt I had found a home. When I did not find the answers I sought in psychosynthesis, I traveled on and explored new lands. Neuroscience and mental kinesiology contributed with pieces of the puzzle that fit into my ethos and were compatible with psychosynthesis. My nightmare divorce, which lasted nearly four years and the life crisis it represented made me once again travel further in my search. I once again let go of all acquired knowledge, went my own way, and thought freely – as I understood that I could not find the answers on a logical level but rather in the land beyond the known.
It led me to past incarnations, and I gained a greater understanding of my soul’s journey and my life lessons. I understood that many answers I struggled with, questions about freeing myself and finding my inner power, could be found in past incarnations. I also sought knowledge in ancient teachings and found pieces of the puzzle here and there, which partly gave meaning to my own experiences and became part of the FREEBLOCKING® method.
The challenges of my nightmare divorce were an opportunity for me to grow as a human being, but it was sometimes difficult to accept. It felt more like a punishment (which is also true). The fact that I had chosen this way of life was also a challenge to accept. However, I understand that the only way to heal your wounds and become whole is to learn from your life lessons. That means looking beyond the known and understanding your soul’s bigger picture and perspective, the relationships she has traveled with, and the pain and difficulties it involved.
The only duty we have here on earth is to get to know ourselves and LIVE our truth. It means having the courage to walk the path of life and face the obstacles (our life lessons), even if it hurts. And releasing the blocks that no longer serve us. To be able to walk toward who we really are meant to be, with less effort and more energy.
It has been my mission to sort out my present and past powerlessness for many years, by releasing blocking beliefs that no longer serve me. It was the only way for me to survive my nightmare divorce and the years that followed – and to set me truly free. The inevitable way was to identify and release one block after another.
Answers to many existential questions and meaning beyond anything else
By understanding my soul’s bigger picture and perspective, I found my truth, power, and highest potential. And, from this experience, the FYSAP FREE YOUR SOUL AND PERSONALITY®, HBP HOLOGRAPHIC BIO-PSYCHOSYNTHESIS®, and FREEBLOCKING® method were born. Releasing blocks (FREEBLOCKING®) is not only how I set my soul and personality free: it is also how I want to serve other people.
When we work with the FREEBLOCKING® method, you reach a spiritual and universal level throughout the process. I would argue that this is what psychosynthesis calls the transpersonal perspective, which is considered a mystery and difficult to understand. When I asked questions about past lives during my training as a psychosynthesis therapist, the answer I got was that everyone gets to believe what they want, and that it was not something psychosynthesis took a stand on. Psychosynthesis claims to be psychology with a soul, but they did not want to discuss past life. It was difficult for me to understand and accept this. My journey has led me to believe that we all, to a considerable extent, live our lives through the magnetic pull of our soul’s historical past and the unconscious, and that these significant, painful, and challenging events characterize us. And, it determines how we relate to ourselves and others in this life.
Understanding my soul’s journey through her incarnations has given me answers to many existential questions and meaning beyond everything else. The challenge is to have the courage to travel through the painful incarnations of the soul, to resist the opposition and opinions of others because you walk your way, to dare to free yourself from what no longer serves you, and to dare to look beyond the known. The reward is to become who you truly are meant to be and be able to LIVE your truth and highest potential.
Why we need to include our past incarnations when healing
The amygdala is considered our brain’s watchdog, steering our life based on emotional memory. Any strong emotion – sadness, anxiety, pain, rage, or fear – sets off the amygdala and impairs the prefrontal cortex’s working memory. In other words, the power of emotions overwhelms our rationality. That is why when we are emotionally upset or stressed, we can’t think straight. Now, the emotions stored in the amygdala seem to have a “life of their own.” To put it metaphorically, it’s a soul baggage that’s a mix of new and old memory files from this life and past incarnations. We do what we believe is best, but unconscious emotions will always overrule conscious decisions. So in order to create permanent change, you need to connect with the part of you where emotions and beliefs (old and new) are rooted – the amygdala.
When you experience strong feelings, you cannot argue with the amygdala to make it stop what it was designed to do, to protect you. This is the reason why logical approaches fail in the long run.
The HBP HOLOGRAPHIC BIO-PSYCHOSYNTHESIS® approach is rooted in humanistic and transpersonal psychology and offers a complete method, including body, mind, and soul perspectives. The holographic view mirrors the aspect that everything in the universe is a whole, of which all parts are interdependent. Therefore, this aspect must be considered when healing, as all of us are part of the universe and its laws. Synthesis means combining separate elements in order to form a coherent unit. When including past incarnations in who we are and release blocks from these negative past and painful experiences, we create a synthesis in our personality and become who we’re truly meant to be. It means to release all old roles that do not serve you any longer. You become clearer in who you are, and can be yourself in all contexts – with less effort and more energy. The method is called FREEBLOCKING®, where we use kinesiology as a doorway to the unconscious psyche’s truths and beliefs.
The purpose of FYSAP FREE YOUR SOUL AND PERSONALITY®, HBP HOLOGRAPHIC BIO-PSYCHOSYNTHESIS®, and FREEBLOCKING® is to create a synthesis in our personality. We can release the old roles that no longer serve us by considering the universe and its laws and including our past incarnations when healing. To become who we truly are meant to be, with less effort and more energy.
∼ Kina Bergman
- Ferrucci, Piero (2012) AAP Psychosynthesis Quarterly, Vol1 No.3. September Psychosynthesis in the light of neuroscience.
- Assagioli, Roberto (1967) Psychosomatic Medicine and Bio-Psychosynthesis, Issue #21, Psychosynthesis Research Foundation.
- Parks, John H. (1943), Biopsychosynthesis. PRF Issue No. 32.
- Assagioli, Roberto (2006) Psykosyntes – grundläggande principer och tekniker.
- Adina Roskies “Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will,” 31 August 2011│Nature 477, 23-25 (2011).
- Kandel, Eric R. In Search of Memory. Norton: New York, 2006, p. 367.