Historically, depth psychology (from the German term Tiefenpsychologie), was coined by Eugen Bleuler to refer to psychoanalytic approaches to therapy and research that take the unconscious into account. The term was rapidly accepted in the year of its proposal (1914) by Sigmund Freud, to cover a topographical view of the mind in terms of different psychic systems.
Depth psychology has since come to refer to the ongoing development of theories and therapies pioneered by Pierre Janet, William James, and Carl Jung as well as Freud, which explore the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious (thus including both psychoanalysis and Jungian psychology).
Summary of primary elements
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Depth psychology states that psyche is a process that is partly conscious and partly unconscious and partly semi-conscious. In practice, 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. The initial work and development of the theories and therapies by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Otto Rank have resulted in three main perspectives on depth psychology in modern times:
- Psychoanalytic: Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott (among others); Object relations theory; Neo-Freudianism
- Adlerian: Adler’s Individual psychology
- Jungian: Jung’s Analytical psychology; James Hillman's Archetypal psychology
- The unconscious contains repressed experiences and other personal-level issues in its "upper" layers and "transpersonal" (e.g. collective, non-I, archetypal) forces in its depths. The semi-conscious contains or is, an aware pattern of personality, including everything in a spectrum from individual vanity to the personality of the workplace.
- 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. Duration is the secret of action.
- The psyche spontaneously generates mythico-religious symbolism or themes, and is therefore spiritual or metaphysical, as well as instinctive, in nature. An implication of this is that the choice of whether to be a spiritual person may be beyond the individual, whether and how we apply it, including to nonspiritual aspirations.
- All minds, all lives, are ultimately embedded in some sort of myth-making in the form of themes or patterns. Mythology is therefore not a series of old explanations for natural events, but rather the richness and wonder of humanity played out in a symbolical, thematic, and patterned storytelling.
- Fredric Jameson considers postmodernism to reject depth models such as Freud's, in favor of a set of multiple surfaces consisting of intertextual discourses and practices.
- Esotericism criticises the depth psychologies (including the Jungian) for reducing the numinal to the inward alone, and for excessive reliance on the experiential.
- Henri Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970) p. 562
- Sigmund Freud, On Metapsychology (PFL 11) p. 175-6
- Chalquist, Craig. "What Is Depth Psychology?". terrapsych.com. Re-engaging the Soul of Place (Spring Journal Books, 2007). Retrieved 2013-02-19.
- Dr. Fredricks, Randi. "Depth Psychology". Theoretical Approaches: Depth Psychology. Dr. Randi Fredricks Ph.D., LMFT. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
- M. Hardt/K. Weeks eds., The Jameson Reader (2000) p. 198
- Eileen Barker, Of Gods and Men (1983) p. 173-5
Ken Wilbur Integral Psychology (2000)
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- Depth Psychology List: Find or List depth psychology oriented therapists, coaches, and practitioners of various types
- JungNet The Writings of C. G. Jung
- Depth Psychology Alliance: Online Community for exploring Depth Psychology topics, news, discussion, events
- Depth Insights: Media for Depth Psychology including podcasts and the semi-annual scholarly e-Zine, Depth Insights
- The Institute for Cultural Change
- Pacifica Graduate Institute
- Sonoma State University M.A. program in Depth Psychology
- Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
- Integral Science
- Depth Psychology Explained
- What is depth psychology?
- Center for Depth Psychology. Newport Beach, CA. USA
- What is Jungian Psychotherapy?