What is Depth Psychology?

Depth psychology is a field of psychoanalysis, pioneered by Carl Jung, that looks at a person’s unconscious and semi-conscious mind as well as his or her conscious mind. It’s been around since the early 1900s, and it has mostly been updated by the more modern psychological theories of cognitive and behavioral psychology.


Its Influence on Modern Psychology

In depth psychotherapy, patients are analyzed regarding their repressed experiences and spirituality, and one of the main tenets of this branch of psychoanalysis is that all people are spiritual, whether they want to be or not. As a result of this inborn spirituality, people instinctively create myths to explain their experiences, which are contained in the same deep level of the unconscious mind as the source of their spiritual emotions. There are new schools of this line of teaching, such as the Neo-Freudianism of Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott, but for the most part, it doesn’t receive a lot of attention in today’s world of modern medical psychological therapy. However, as an academic study, it has spurred many influential papers in the field of psychological research, and it retains a lot of value as a work of early psychological literature.

Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud were responsible for popularizing this method of interpreting a person’s motives based on fears, emotions and memories hidden in his or her unconscious mind, and they had help from contemporary researchers Pierre Janet, William James and Alfred Adler. There are three main lines of thinking within the broader field of depth psychology, and each school of thought is associated with a different psychologist. The modern view, called object relations theory, is led by researchers Klein and Winnicott and has its roots in Freud’s psychoanalysis of the early 20th century. The second approach is based on Adler’s research into individual psychology, and the last and most famous perspective is based on Jung’s analytical style of psychology.

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Carl Jung’s Thoughts on the Unconscious Mind

Jung believed that there are essentially three parts of the mind: the unconscious, semi-conscious and conscious mind. He wrote that repressed memories are stored in the unconscious mind, while personality characteristics are stored in the semi-conscious mind. This half-aware part of the mind is responsible for all aspects of our behavior, from the way we act within social groups to the way we present ourselves to strangers, although its value in modern times is mainly academic.

Jung wrote extensively on this area of psychoanalysis, and his theories were extremely influential throughout the 20th century. They came about at a time when psychology was a new branch of science, and researchers at the time didn’t have an established methodology. The scientists who came after Jung improved on his ideas quite a bit, and the new schools of thought based on the work of Jung and Freud have themselves been very influential. However, there are critics of Jung’s work, such as the Esoteric psychologists, who believe that behavior can’t be adequately explained by repressed experiences in the unconscious mind.

Psychology is one of the newest and most important branches of science, and studying the way the unconscious mind affects a person’s behavior is one of the main objectives of psychoanalysis. If you have a natural understanding of the way people process experiences and emotions, you may be interested in learning more about depth psychology.