Depth psychology respects the inherent nature of the individual, and of each culture. In this way, depth psychology does not bind its concepts to the individual mind, but instead extends them to include how individuals, groups, cultures, nations, and the planet are each affected by the ways in which we all interact. Respectful of culture, tradition, and belief system, depth psychology is asking the deeper questions: What is the next level of consciousness that allows a person to sit with the pain, and endure the insufferable? How do we shift from healing as a goal to one of a journey? Depth psychology’s primary focus is on the human psyche’s tendency toward wholeness and calls attention to the importance of what lies below the surface of conscious awareness.

Depth psychology encompasses many theoretical orientations, including psychodynamic, Jungian, archetypal, and eco-psychology. For me, it is a “holistic” view of the person, taking into account pre-natal experience, early development, cultural and archetypal implications, and the current context within which the individual exists. Making conscious what is often unconscious, this tradition allows for the non-traditional modes of seeing and being, both in life and therapy.

Historically, depth psychology began with the works of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and has continued with post-Jungians such as James Hillman, Nathan Schwartz-Salant, Marion Woodman, Edward Edinger, Stan Marlan, and Donald Kalsched. Though varied in approach and specialization, depth psychologists often share a common thread of tending to the soul of the individual and the world.

Depth psychology invites us to expand our capacity to be with pain instead of numbing emotions, to grieve losses in place of seeking substitutions, and to empathize instead of pathologize. This approach truly allows for me to step into clients’ shoes, to walk alongside their path, and attempt to understand psyche’s process of healing. it invites me to feel their internal state, while remaining conscious of my own; to be open and hold a non-judgmental space for shadow material to become known; to move from psychological naivete and solution focused therapy into a way of being, allowing for answers to emerge from the depths of the psyche. It is an approach for having faith in the unknown, whether in life, love, or work.

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3 Responses to “Depth Psychology”

  1. gregorylent says:

    would love anything that takes into account the whole world .. one small example, sanskrit has five separate words for aspects of "mind" and consequently provides a basis for a far more sophisticated understanding of person or being or awareness or qualities of personality than anything english-based …

    so as you go along with this project please try to be as universal as possible … the world needs that, far more than more culturally-specific academia ..

    enjoy, gregory

  2. In reading this introduction and the following comment, I find myself excited about the possibility of more Depth Psychologists developing the container to hold both the socio-political and the universal at the same time. To me, Depth Psychological theories can be both severely limited AND the most able to bring together both aspects of life; far beyond any other psychological theories I have studied. The tension in these opposites is moving toward a bursting point as our world is rapidly changing. Conflict is inherent at this point in history's development of these opposites. At this time, purposeful attempts at transcendence based in fear or lack of understanding would only serve as a defense, temporarily blocking the full birthing process. It is my belief that what is meant to be birthed will be birthed. My hope is that I will sit with my fear, while actively facing the pregnant conflict that occurs when we allow ourselves to view the separation that is required prior to transcendence.

  3. Nice article, It was inspiring.

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