Depth Psychology

Our imagination is the most important aspect of who we are. Imagination is the means by which the most essential and substantial aspects of ourselves are expressed. Feelings, thoughts, language, intuitions, inspirationss, love, purpose, character, calling, are all presented to us through the medium of the imagination. The imagination is also the way by which sense perceptions are made conscious. Nothing passes through our psychological awareness without first becoming represented within the imagination. The imagination is the field of interaction between our physical and psychological functioning so that without it, we cease to be human.

Imagination, substance, and soul, are all interchangeable descriptions of the same idea. Bodies can be technically alive but their soul can be diminshed, such as major depression or trauma. Or, as is the case of near death experiences, the body may technically be dead, but the life essence of the imagination still functions by reflecting awareness to an observer who reports being outside of their physical body . The ancient Greeks argued of looking for ‘essence’ or ‘psyche’ (soul) within specific areas of the body, but to locate the soul in a specific organ became logically and empirically impossible to demonstrate. This left them with the conclusion that the soul is an immaterial substance such which permeates and animates the entire organic structure of physical life. The soul cannot be removed and dissected, or taken apart. Yet it can wax and wane which directly impacts the body’s material functioning.

In modern

Rationality and reason are components, or functions, of the imagination, and are highly developed inside of us, but should in no way be considered to represent who we are substantially. We live in a historical age in which rationally constructed systems dominate our social, economic, political, educational, and medical landscapes. We have backed ourselves into a corner by imagining that rationality would lead us out of the darkness all by itself. Instead it has resulted in alienating ourselves from the soul. People inside and affected by these systems know it … we have known it for a long time … yet it has a life of its own that doesn’t seem to stop. rationality and reason became overly emphasized, and the resulting consequences has alienated us from the depths of the soul. Reclaiming the honor and dignity of soul, imagination, and psyche, is the purpose of therapy. We are not treating the concerns of the ego, we are instead seeking to build relationship between the ego and the greater Psyche.

of information and machines, of economic, educational, and political systems, all built upon rules and programs which are antithetical to the individual human Soul. The Soul cannot truly be defined or captured, placed within a system, or controlled by our ego wishes and desires. We can fight against and refuse the Soul, but this will make matters for us even worse. Depth psychology intends on preserving space to care for the needs of the Soul by opening the poetic, ethical, and aesthetic side of life for real consideration .

It is impossible to see directly into the nature of the Psyche, for it can only be known through secondary effects and the imaginative use of metaphor.  The common understanding, or misunderstanding, of psychology is the kind trapped in literalizing theories and over-emphasizing rationality.  We believe psychology has found existential categories of psychological states and conditions within an etiological framework that has been pieced together through careful and exhaustive empirical means.  Diagnostic categories are like the heavenly constellations of old referring to them for explanation and description of who you are as an individual and what your fate could be if you do not follow prescribed recommendations.  This system relies upon the deeper belief that who we are as substantial humans is a brain that operates according to logic and reason.  From a depth psychological perspective, rational psychology is a cult of reason, deeply engaged in a top-heavy, narrowing field of vision that cannot see the soil from which it is born.

Depth psychology would ascribe rationality its own mythologem, a distant and unperturbed Apollonian vision, cool in its emotional detachment, serious in its power to organize order in chaos, and gifted with creating heavenly music.  As wonderful, useful, and necessary as this may be, it is not to be confused with human substance or reality.  There are many other levels of being, with corresponding myths, that can easily be brought into the panoply of what it means to be human within the Psyche. 

Depth psychology does not fixate on one area of the soul as representative of the whole, but is fixed on tending to those areas in which we are fixated. The medium between our subjective awareness and the object of experience is the imagination.  There is nothing that may pass into our psychological awareness that is not first filtered and reflected through the organ of imagination.  Reasoning, morality, language, ethics, self-agency, are all seeds that grow from the imaginary soil.  We can explore ourselves and the imaginary ground through the apertures and appendages of imagination.  The perception of the outer world with all of its movement, color, textures, sounds, tastes, etc.  are likewise mediated and represented to us through imaginary sensations.  Ascribing a specific area of the body as generating the imagination is likewise misdirected, it cannot be conceived of as holding a form, yet its activity permeates the entire physical structure of organisms.  This is very analogous to the ancient arguments around soul, whether or not it exists, what is its nature, function, how does it connect with the body, and is it eternal.  Yet in these older Platonic arguments they did not fold into their observations the ‘reflective’ qualities of the soul which are so fundamental to the development of consciousness and self-identity. 

Psychology is meant to heal.  It is a sub section within the healing arts.  If you are unwell psychologically then you defer to a psychotherapist to help you feel better.  The ultimate test of any psychological approach is based on its ability to alleviate suffering.  Depth psychology orients its subject for healing on the level of soul, Psyche, and imagination.  If there is disturbance along this area, then the subjective experience of the person will feel the various manifestations of its pain.  Yet it is not physical ailment, it is a pain that can be located somewhere in the vastness of the psychic landscape.  Therapist and client join together to seek out the area that needs attention.  Theories and models can help frame the exploration, but in the end, we must always make room for the imagination to speak for itself.  In doing so, we preserve the uniqueness of our humanity, as opposed to turning our humanity into an extension of a fixed theory of explanation.