Treatments & Therapies

Depth Psychology – Treatment, Effect & Risks

Depth psychology

The existence of an unconscious is controversial. In depth psychology , it is assumed that, in addition to conscious processes, there are also unconscious ones that have a strong effect on human behavior, although they are not perceived.

These unconscious mental processes should be uncovered bit by bit in order to gain insights into the behavior and needs of a person. Therefore, depth psychology wants to get as far below the surface of consciousness as possible to analyze unconscious processes that could affect conscious life.

What is depth psychology?

In this sense, philosophers like Nietzsche, Leibniz or Schopenhauer assumed a psyche that lies hidden. The first scientific approach to a systematic investigation was made by Sigmund Freud, who founded psychoanalysis . He dealt extensively with human behavior and experience in order to discover certain patterns, for which he developed a corresponding treatment method.

He put forward the thesis that repressed and unconscious feelings can make you ill and even cause physical symptoms. Freud attributed the conflicts particularly strongly to the suppression of sexual needs, which are then converted into other types of energy. However, if this does not happen, physical and mental disorders occur, of which mental symptoms such as anxiety and depression are just a few. The treatment he proposed involves the psychotherapist sitting behind the patient, out of sight, so that the patient can concentrate fully on himself.

The concept of depth psychology itself was developed by Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist who also coined the terms schizophrenia and autism . He assumed that there was no separation between illness and mental health. One of the greatest representatives of depth psychology was Carl Gustav Jung, who assumed archetypes that unconsciously guide behavior in every human being. Finally, processes of drive regulation and conflict processing were assumed, which always underlie conscious behavior.

Depth psychology soon divided into three major schools. In addition to Jung, which Freud developed, Analytical Psychology and Alfred Adler soon after brought Individual Psychology into being. All schools follow the thesis that in the depths of the unconscious there are psychological processes of drives and similar motivational processes, which differ from school to school as the respective driving force. Freud assumed the sex drive , Jung, a student of Freud, presupposed a non-specific drive energy and Adler the simple striving for power of man.

Treatments & Therapies

Depth psychology is therefore not synonymous with psychoanalysis. They differ in the treatment and accordingly in the form, in the goal and in the duration. While psychoanalysis wants to change the entire personality, the treatment often takes place lying down on the familiar couch and lasts for several years, depth psychological treatment takes place while sitting and lasts no more than two years. In doing so, she pursues the goal of discovering conflicts that e.g. B. lead to depression without wanting to reshape the patient or change it from the ground up.Humans usually develop such relationship patterns in childhood. These determine how he approaches other people or perceives the environment. At the time he developed these patterns, they made sense and determined responses. They only become a problem when the behavior is suddenly inappropriate.

Discussions and upbringing by the parents, as the most important reference persons in childhood, are maintained according to a certain pattern and determine later in life the contact with other people and also the relationships that a person enters into. The same mistakes are often made again and again without the person being able to interpret this behavior themselves.

The relationship that the patient then builds up with the psychotherapist, who tries to uncover these patterns and make them conscious through the treatment, is similar. That’s called transmission. It is one of the most important means of such therapy.

A transference is always to be sought where ideas, expectations, fears or desires exist that have previously formed and are revived again and again like a template. These patterns and fears are deliberately revived and evoked in therapy. The psychotherapist pays more attention to his own behavior and his emotional reaction to the patient. This is called countertransference in psychoanalysis. It is also used for treatment.

The aim is then not a complete analysis of the patient’s life to date, but solely the change of certain unfavorable living conditions so that complaints and symptoms disappear. Accordingly, the symptoms are not treated directly, but their causes are resolved in the treatment of the deeper layers.

Diagnosis & examination methods

Depth psychology is used in people who B. suffer from sleep disorders , depression, concentration disorders , obsessions , acute crises, states of exhaustion or disorders of sexual functions. People who have had stressful experiences in the sense of a trauma can also find help in depth psychology. Scientifically proven, these procedures are extremely successful. Patients with eating or acute anxiety disorders , on the other hand, are less suitable for depth psychological treatment.Most therapies follow the usual pattern. From time to time, however, the psychotherapist also recommends taking medication temporarily, which has an effect on the mind and psyche and must always be prescribed by a doctor. This includes various psychotropic drugs that are useful in particularly severe crises to make the patient more stable in advance and to enable treatment that does not run the risk of being blocked by mental flare-ups and breakdowns.

Depth psychology can take place as an outpatient therapy, but also as an inpatient. For the latter conditions, there are psychosomatic clinics that specialize in it. Such measures are appropriate if the person concerned z. B. needs a certain distance to his everyday life, job or to his family. During therapy, the patient can then concentrate on the treatment in peace and find the courage to change.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.