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Depth Psychology

What is depth psychology?

depth psychology

Ask a depth psychologist to define this psychological orientation, and you’re likely to hear concepts such as being thorough, going deeper, delving into areas that instigate an awakening, encouraging a greater self-awareness. Somewhere in the explanation, you’ll also hear talk of the soul, the psyche, probing the unconscious -finding life’s meaning and purpose.

In other words, placing the word “depth” before psychology is not an accident. According to Louis Hoffman, Ph.D., and a licensed clinical psychologist, depth psychology means going deeper with individuals than many other forms of therapy or approaches. It’s a form of psychology that seeks a “different type of change,” he said.

Hoffman, a founding psychology faculty member at the University of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colo., said that the title depth psychology really is an umbrella term that includes many different psychological approaches that share similarities and values, approaches that borrow from each other.

One of the more well known approaches in depth psychology is existential psychology, an orientation that Hoffman identifies with, calling himself an existential psychologist.

But Hoffman said that those working in the depth psychology area often combine two or more depth psychologies, creating an “integrative” depth approach.

Psychology

For example, James Bugental, one of the key figures in the development of the depth psychology field, called himself a humanistic-existential psychologist. But regardless of the approach or title of the approach, Bugental called all the depth psychologies “life-changing.”

Why life changing?

The roots depth psychology draw from the work of the 20th century Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung who focused the development of his psychological theories on understanding the unconscious mind. He believed that central to healing was the individual’s personal encounter with the unconscious, and the psychologist’s role was to help others explore and travel the depths of this mysterious realm that many consider inaccessible. 

Jung also developed the concept of a collective unconscious, another major concept in depth psychology. This concept along with psychological principles based on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, and theories of Alfred Adler and Otto Rank form the basis of depth psychology’s emphasis on delving into a person’s psyche not only to correct dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors, but also to pursue ideals of social justice and equality for communities.

Adlerian psychology bases its thought on human interconnectedness and interdependence. This theory states that an individual’s welfare and self-actualization depends on the welfare of others. As one translates positive, healthy thoughts and behaviors into finding one’s passion and purpose in life, those actions can help others achieve a sense of personal fulfillment and well-being as well.

Ultimately, depth psychologists see the integration of the conscious and unconscious, two parts of the human psyche, as healthful and healing.

However, many different approaches to depth psychology exist because not every school of thought agrees on how to define the unconscious, nor how to access what exists there.

What is the collective unconscious? What are archetypes?

Much like humans have hearts, kidneys, and lungs, Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung theorized that they also possess a collective unconscious, given to them at birth - a layer of the unconscious from humanity’s primordial past.

Jung theorized that the unconscious is divided into the personal unconscious and the collective. The personal unconscious is composed of suppressed and forgotten memories, traumas, and experiences. It is personal, meaning that each individual has acquired, through living, unique material in his or her personal unconscious.

But everyone shares the same collective unconscious, a holding cell for religious, spiritual, and mythological symbols, a deep enclave of all hidden, universal truths; psychic structures or forms given to all people across the globe. Jung called these structures or forms archetypes.

Models of people, personalities and behaviors are all archetypes in psychology. The hero, for example, is an archetypical personality, and the careful, destructive plotting of a murderer is an archetypical behavior. Similarly, the mother-child relationship symbolizes people and relationships found in every culture.

Jung also believed that dreams provide a gateway for these archetypes to appear, and therefore a lot of Jungian psychological theory and practice rests on dream interpretation.

Types of depth psychology:

  • Existential psychology
  • Humanistic psychology
  • Transpersonal psychology
  • Gestalt psychology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychodynamic

Other names for depth psychology

Analytical psychology, Jungian psychology, and Archetypal psychology are sometimes called “depth psychologies.” The reason for the seemingly interchangeable nature of these psychological orientations stems from their Jungian roots. Similar to depth psychology, these three orientations base their development on Jung’s psychology of unraveling the mysteries of the unconscious.

As researchers continue to expand on Jung’s theories, other psychological orientations continue to develop. The psychology community today categorizes many of these approaches as post-Jungian, and while they hold many similarities to the depth psychology orientation, they are becoming unique and distinctive in their own schools of thought.

Careers in depth psychology

Some individuals pursue advanced degrees in depth psychology to become psychotherapists employing a particular depth approach, such as existentialism or humanistic. These individuals usually purse Ph.D.’s in Psychology, Jungian Studies or Depth Psychology, and many combine private practice with teaching and research at universities and colleges.

Still others with Master’s degrees in Psychology, Jungian Studies or Depth Psychology find that the degree provides excellent credentials for those who work with others on a deep level - teachers and educators, activists who work for community, ecological and environmental organizations, politicians, and therapy professionals, such as art, music, theater, and writing therapists.

Colleges and universities that offer degrees in Depth Psychology or Jungian Studies usually offer master’s or Ph.D. degree programs. If you are interested in pursuing depth psychology to work as psychotherapist or to work in a number of “people-oriented” careers, request information from schools offering degrees in Depth Psychology or a related Psychology field.

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  • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
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  • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
  • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
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  • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
  • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
  • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
  • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
  • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
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  • Transferable Credits
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year received some form of financial aid.
  • Student to faculty ratio is 13:1, with an average class size of 15.
  • 104 full-time faculty members, and more than 71% of them hold the highest degree in their field.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year received some form of financial aid.
  • Student to faculty ratio is 13:1, with an average class size of 15.
  • 104 full-time faculty members, and more than 71% of them hold the highest degree in their field.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Try Your Introductory Course Risk Free
  • Lower Tuition Cost Than Many Other Universities.  Classes Start Soon.
  • Engaging, manageable 8-week classes start every month
  • Curriculum developed by academic and industry professionals
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
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  • Provides career services that help students find careers that match their interests and map out a personalized career plan.
  • Offers mentorships and networking opportunities through an Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
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  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Gives students the chance to earn credits for applicable military training and education.
  • Locations nationwide and online options.
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  • Provides career services that help students find careers that match their interests and map out a personalized career plan.
  • Offers mentorships and networking opportunities through an Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Has flexible start dates and class schedules.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Gives students the chance to earn credits for applicable military training and education.
  • Locations nationwide and online options.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
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  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Programs in
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
  • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
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  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
  • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
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  •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  •  Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
  •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
  •  Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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  •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  •  Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
  •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
  •  Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits