Depth psychology broadly refers to a psychology that acknowledges the unconscious.  In other words, depth psychology is rooted in a belief that what we are conscious or aware of is only one aspect of the whole psyche.  While different varieties of depth psychology may have different assumptions about the nature of this unconscious part of the psyche, they all acknowledge that it is important to listen to and respond to what emerges from the unconscious—that is, to lean into the unknown and mysterious.

 

 "The psyche may be regarded as a mathematical point and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars."

Carl Jung

This work is rooted in the depth psychology of Carl Jung and the archetypal psychology of James Hillman.  Jung believed in the incredible value of cultivating generative dialogue between conscious and unconscious. 

 

In other words, what we know is transformed as we engage with what we don’t know—with what shows up on the edges and with what isn’t a part of our usual narrative about ourselves and the world in which we live.

Therefore, meaningful attention to dreams, myths, creative expression, somatic experience, and symbols—for example—offers us ways of engaging with what is going on below the surface or beyond our often rigid waking attitudes and beliefs.  It allows another perspective to have voice and perhaps show us something new.    

Below you will find brief discussions on a few important words and ideas related to these perspectives.   Since these are expansive words and ideas which can mean many different things in different contexts, brief introductions on the ways these words and ideas are used and understood in the context of depth and archetypal psychology are offered below.

 

If you would like to read about these perspectives in more detail please see the “Read More” tab for suggested readings.