Psychoanalytic and Depth-Oriented Psychotherapy

At the beginning of the past century Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) developed the basic principles of psychoanalysis in his neurologist and psychiatrist practice. His insight into the existence of unconscious psychic phenomena and their meaning for healthy and sick psyche became the most important assumption for the development of the different kinds of psychotherapy. His disciples and successors developed numerous depth psychological schools. The best known are those of Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) and Alfred Adler (1870–1937).

The analytically oriented psychotherapy founded on depth psychology deals mostly with

  • unconscious motives for human behaviour,
  • the way how people have learned since their early childhood to perceive themselves and their environment and to react to it,
  • the fears and blockades that bar them from developing and changing conformingly to their nature.

In the protective context of individual therapy the focus lies mainly on infantile aspects that have emerged from the early parents/child relation and that partly complicate situation-conforming action and perception.

In group therapy the attention moves rather to the force of habit which makes the individual tend to create familiar relationship patterns even if they consciously don’t conform to their mind. Thus the group becomes like a second family in which these relationship patterns can be treated.

The psychotherapist interprets associations, dreams and reactions the patient has towards the therapist and the other group members. Thus inconscious phenomena which influence the patient’s current feelings and behavious can be dealt with consciously.

Depth psychological insight and methods can also be applied to other techniques, e.g. focal, couple and family therapy and group analysis.