San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy
Depth psychology is a broad term that refers to any psychological approach examining the depth — and the subtle or unconscious parts — of human experience. It includes the study and interpretation of dreams, complexes, and archetypes, and it encompasses any psychology that works with the concept of an unconscious mind.
Depth psychology is a psychotherapy approach that states that psyche is a process that is partly conscious and partly unconscious.
The unconscious in turn contains repressed experiences and other personal-level issues. The psyche spontaneously generates symbolism and is therefore spiritual as well as instinctive in nature.
Depth Psychology in Practice
In practice in psychotherapy, depth psychology seeks to explore underlying motives as an approach to various mental disorders, with the belief that the uncovering of these motives is intrinsically healing. It seeks the deep layers underlying behavioral and cognitive processes.
Archetypes are primordial elements of the collective unconscious in the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung. Archetypes form the unchanging context from which the contents of cyclic and sequent changes derive their meanings.
The initial work and development of the theories and therapies by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Otto Rank came to be known as depth psychology. In modern time, the three best-known depth perspectives are psychoanalytic, Adlerian, and Jungian.
Psychoanalytic Depth Psychology
Psychoanalytic theory and the other models of depth-psychotherapy that have grown from Freud’s initial theory, emphasize the critical importance of the relationships we form with our mother, father, and other family members in terms of their influence on our personality development.
While individual approaches to depth psychotherapy emphasizes what is going on within the individual, family therapy shifts the focus to include what is going on between individuals. This includes both the spoken and unspoken aspects of communication.
In individual depth psychotherapy a primary goal is helping the client gain insight or awareness of how their internal thoughts and feelings influence behavior. Likewise, a depth-influenced family therapist works to bring the family to an awareness of how each individual’s concerns influence the behavior of the family, and how the behavior of the family in turn influences each individual.
By integrating these areas, what is going on within the individual and what is going on around the individual, family therapies models which incorporate depth-psychology provide both breadth and depth to understanding the individual and their family.