Depth psychology and depth therapy are unique. Most of Western psychology and therapy focus on treating psychological problems and maladies. The "medicalization "of psychology and therapy defines human problems and difficulties as if they were medical conditions that require medical like intervention and treatment. This is a short-sighted bias that leads us astray. Sometimes motivated by vested interests. For example, If you tell your physician that you feel depressed, chances are good that she or he will suggest an antidepressant medication, based on a presumed diagnosis that you have a biochemical illness. A diagnosis that is rarely accurate. (see this).
We now know that much depression is caused by stress hormones that seep into your blood and tissues. Moreover, depression can be a signal message from our soul, from our inner life, that we are not living a life we actually believe in. Drug companies would prefer that you think your feelings of depression are an illness that requires medication. (see this). The fact is that life is hard for many of us today because we live in a materialistic nightmare. Money, status, winning and power mean more than love, connection, wisdom and satisfaction. Medicine has been colonized the the drug and insurance industries. Physicians and nurses are run ragged and have to answer to bean counters.
Freud was an important founder father of the depth psychology tradition. Yet his work has been sorely misunderstood. Even by many practicing as "Freudians." focused on finding cures for mental disorders. If we consider Freud's work carefully, we discover that it was co-opted. It was wrongly positioned by medicine and the academe.. Few people, including psychologists, understand how badly Freud’s ideas were misunderstood and used poorly by others completely unaware that he was not a physician in search of cures for mental maladies.
Freud explained, in his own words, who he was and what he was really up to.:
Everybody thinks…that I started by the scientific character of my work and that my principal scope lies in curing mental melodies. This is a terrible error that has prevailed for years and that I have been unable to set right. I am a scientist by necessity, and not by vocation. I am really by nature an artist… And of this there lies an irrefutable proof: which is that in all countries into which psychoanalysis has penetrated it has been better understood and applied by writers and artists than by doctors. My books, in fact, more resemble works of imagination than treatise on pathology. (Giovanni Papini, “A Visit to Freud” Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry 9, no. 2 (1969) 130-134)
Freud tells us in the quote above that he is an artist at heart, not a scientist. Freud’s ideas can’t be scientifically known, validated or refuted for the same reason that a Matisse painting can’t be judged as true or false. Freud’s theories, like Jung’s, and other significant depth psychologists, are works of art.
Viewing Freud’s work through a lens needed to understand art, we’re welcomed into Freud’s world anew. Ditto Jung. I’ll use them both as representative figures for the depth psychology tradition. For our purposes here, they both provide sufficient wash for our canvas.
For clarity and simplicity’s sake, I subsume both Freud and Jung’s work in all forms, as well as that of their followers and colleagues, including psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts, under the category of depth psychology and depth psychotherapy.