Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Depth Psychotherapy vs. Psychology: What’s the Difference? – 1

July 27th, 2014 · psychotherapy vs. psychology

Depth psychotherapy vs. psychology: people are confronted with so many “psych” words today that there is real value in clarifying the differences between these two things.

psychotherapy vs. psychology

I was a little reluctant to use “versus” or “vs.” in the title of this blog.  The word can tend to make it sound like depth psychotherapy and psychology are “opposed”.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The differences between them are a question of priorities and emphasis.  And certainly, psychotherapy depends upon the knowledge gained through psychology.

The American Psychological Association tells us psychology is the scientific study of mental functions and behaviours.  In this broad sense, psychology is a fundamental foundation of psychotherapy.  Clearly, it’s essential that psychotherapy be informed and structured by clear understandings of mental functions, and how they relate to human behaviour.  But, by its nature, psychotherapy must go beyond mere study of the human mind.

University of Florida’s Prof. Michael Herkov identifies two special things about psychotherapy: the nature of the relationship; and, the nature of the communication.

The Psychotherapy Relationship

The relationship between a psychotherapist and a client has a special character. It  exists solely for the purpose of helping the client, and is designed to ensure that the therapist is completely “there” for the client.  The client is listened to, carefully — quite possibly more carefully than they have been listened to at any point in their lives.  As Jungians like to say, the relationship is a temenos, a Greek term used for the sacred enclosure around a temple.  The relationship is “sacred” and protected.  People can and do reveal things that they have never said to anyone before — because it’s safe to do so.

psychotherapy vs. psychologyPsychotherapy Communication

An old truism states that: “When a therapist asks how you are doing, he really wants to know.”  This is especially true of communication with a depth psychotherapist.

The depth psychotherapist doesn’t just listen for the sake of it!  He listens to help you make key connections with the deepest parts of yourself.  Feelings, thoughts and attitudes of the client, which may never have come to light before, may very well surface in the course of the dialogue between therapist and client.   Some of the connections and realizations the individual makes, may well be profound and life changing. psychotherapy vs. psychology

As you can see from our discussion so far, there are some very important differences relevant to the distinction of “depth psychotherapy vs. psychology “.  Where psychology works extremely hard at being a science, and expanding the scientific knowledge of human mental functioning and behaviour, depth psychotherapy is a healing art.  It uses psychological knowledge, but is also aware of broader human dimensions that necessarily go beyond the purely scientific to create the bond with the client that makes for effective psychotherapy.

In my next post, I’ll be looking at two other dimensions which make the depth psychotherapy vs. psychologist clarification even clearer: the psychotherapeutic understanding of individuality and the “depth” in depth psychotherapy.

PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  Jorge Láscar  ; Alan Cleaver
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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Emotions, Spirit, Mind & Body: Jungian Holistic Psychotherapy, 2

July 4th, 2014 · holistic psychotherapy

In my last post, I started  to explore the nature of holistic psychotherapy, and how Jungian therapy is truly holistic.

holistic psychology We can see this even more clearly if we look at some of the ways in which radically different elements of the personality interact — or conflict!  Jung, in his work on psychological types, showed that the functions and attitudes that exist in our psyche can often show us very different aspects of who we are.  Sometimes this can seem so true that different aspects of who and what we are can seem completely opposed.

Feeling and Rationality

For instance, there’s a fundamental split between rational, logical thought, and our own subjective reactions to things.  Could two things be more fundamentally opposed?  Yet here’s the important truth: both are parts of our journey to wholeness. It’s not enough to say, “Oh, I’m a thinking type” or “I’m a feeling type”.  To experience psychological wholeness, essential that we have the experience that both of these capacities co-exist within us.  They both are part of us, and a person needs both.

Intuition and Sensation

We experience a similar pair of opposites when it comes to intuition and sensation. Sensation refers to our perceptions by means of the sense organs.  Sensation is awareness grounded in the here and now.  It’s very present-oriented.  Sensation puts its faith in the kind of hard facts that are immediately available to the senses.  It sees a situation in terms of the details, rather than a comprehensive pattern. Intuition is pretty much the opposite of sensation.  It’s perception by way of the unconscious.  Intuition is our sense of things often guided by hunches and things the individual “just knows” — although he or she would have a hard time putting into words just why.  Intuition is future-oriented, and sees situations in terms of large, broad patterns. Again, to truly experience psychological wholeness, it would be essential that we experience our capacity for both intuition and sensation. holistic psychotherapy

Body and Mind

Another significant pairing explored in depth by key Jungian figures in holistic psychotherapy such as Marion Woodman and Joan Dexter Blackmer is the need to integrate mind and body Mind and body aren’t really opposites.  Yet in the 2,000 year history of the Christian west, it’s been very easy to ignore the body.  As Blackmer reminds us, …in order to develop the spirit and rational consciousness, Christianity had historically to declare the body untouchable — a kind of second-class citizen….  Untouched, repressed, denied, the body moves into the shadow, where dwell those aspects of ourselves we are loathe to look at.  Then the ego loses a direct connection to the body as a source of natural wisdom and energy. This kind of splitting produces excruciatingly painful dilemmas and divisions for modern people:     Rationality and feeling, sensation and intuition, body and mind — all form part of a comprehensive unity in a Jungian holistic psychotherapy.

PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  ©  Talita Ribeiro  VIDEO: © 2014 Brian Collinson
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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