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January 17, 2014

Health and Well-Being: An in-depth look at depth psychology

The word psychology originally referred to a “logos of psyche,” i.e., self-knowledge. Not so today. Yet, according to the “depth psychology” view, developing self-knowledge is among the most important challenges you face.

Why? Because without it, we run the risk of living from a script that we have not written. True individuality, which is based on self-knowledge, is essential if we are to author our own lives. Moreover, unless humanity comes to honest terms with its own nature, it will continue to run the risk of destroying itself. All the rational reasons that we use to justify war, for example, are often just stories that we tell ourselves to make believe that we understand what is going on.

Mainstream psychology is weak because it’s been invaded and colonized by science. And psychology has been made worse still by science’s marriage to commerce and their errant child — materialism. Psychology used to be, and should be once again, more art than science. Then it will regain its soul. Science is good; it’s important. But science is a method that can’t see the deeper dance of life, let alone hear the music that drives it.

“Depth psychology” regards inner life, wisdom and meaning as the rightful domain of psychology and therapy. Depth psychology is based on the idea that for therapy to have any real value, it must see its duty to, as the composer Schumann put it, “send light into the darkness of men’s hearts.” We need that light to craft our life into a work of art that can be well-lived, loved and understood.

Only those called to the deep interior of life are willing and able to do the arduous work needed to connect to their own essential core identity — to their “soul.” If we are to become free and truly sane, we must do two things:

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