In Psychosynthesis, a stable centre of identity or personal self is called our ‘I’. It is an experience of our ‘I’ or sense of identity that gives us the experience of being deeply connected with ourselves – in other words when we feel at home with who we are.

This ‘I’ is also what connects our everyday experiences with our Transpersonal Self and gives us awareness of our own personal Selfhood.

The ‘I-Self’ connection is what gives us a sense of continuity and provides us with an inner empathy. In other words, an empathic connection with ourselves or a sense of self acceptance and self-esteem. In Psychosynthesis we recognise this ‘I-Self’ connection as fundamental to psychospiritual health.

This empathic connection with ourselves is first experienced through an empathic connection with our mother or other primary care-giver, who are meant to provide a holding environment which adequately mirrors to us this connection. Quite often however, our primary care-givers fail, in some way, to provide that environment to its fullest capacity and so all or parts of ourselves are not ‘seen’ or accepted. When this happens, a break in our ‘I-Self’ connection occurs which often creates an experience of worthlessness, of having no right to exist, of not being a valuable and worthwhile person in our own right. This in turn causes us to experience a ‘Primal Wounding’ or to form a ‘survival personality’ in order to mask, hide and avoid this threat and the depth of our insecurity.

A Psychosynthesis counsellor will, for a time, provide this mirroring function for clients who’s empathic mirroring didn’t occur or was interrupted for some reason. They make themselves available as a model of the ‘I’ for their clients, becoming an indirect but true point of connection between the client and their ‘I’ until their ‘I-Self’ connection is reestablished within their own psyche.

(Whitmore, D – 2004. Psychosynthesis Counselling in Action. 3rd Edition, Sage Publications, London: 21-22)

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