Depth therapy penetrates to the roots of personality. These roots include early attachments to parents, and the disruptions, interruptions and traumas that prevent those attachments from forming a secure base for integrated personality formation. Modern psychotherapy began in the psychoanalytic tradition pioneered by Sigmund Freud and his followers, including Carl Jung and those who followed him. Freud’s understanding combined his theories of basic instincts and unearthed early childhood experiences back to infancy. Freud had many followers who contributed important innovations. Among those I particularly appreciate the discoveries of Melanie Klein. Jung was at first Freud’s heir apparent, but he diverged from Freud in his fascination with the universal symbolism of dreams and imagination, and in his respect for inner spiritual needs.
Clients may spontaneously move toward depth in several ways. They may instinctively follow their sense of connection with a therapist so their relationship stirs unfulfilled early attachment needs or conflicts. These are addressed through the therapist containing and respectfully offering interpretations of the client’s attachment dynamics with the therapist (aka “transference”). Sometimes the client and therapist may unconsciously enact a relationship dynamic. If that is recognized it can be an opportunity for healing.  They may bring dreams that show an emergence of depth issues. These are addressed through dream interpretation. Depth issues may also emerge in their intimate relationships whose dynamics can be interpreted in therapy. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can also address depth issues by tracing symptoms and attachment wounds to their roots and helping heal them. Attachment-Focused EMDR TM can provide a better foundation for healthy functioning by using the client’s resources to form secure and nurturing early attachment figures.
I often introduce depth interpretations to provide a more comprehensive map of the emerging therapy process. This approach can help brief therapy for symptom resolution. Understanding clients’ strivings for wholeness and their attempted healing of depth issues can help make sense of disparate symptoms and challenges, decrease anxiety, provide hope, and potentially attune them to guidance from within.
My approach to depth psychotherapy is influenced by my Ph.D. program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, which immerses its students in a comprehensive exploration of depth therapies. I have worked extensively with Jungian analysts for my personal therapy and with depth psychologists as consultants and supervisors. Also I have benefitted from the guidance of spiritual mentors and meditation teachers from ecumenical traditions who have supported my own inner process, following a spiritual awakening in 1977.
To schedule a first appointment please select this link. Although experienced with emergencies, that is not my practice focus. As an outpatient therapist I work with people who can reliably cope, are not at risk or in crisis, do not have thoughts of self-harm, and are seeking to grow.
Attachment-Focused EMDR is a trademark of Laurel Parnell, Ph.D.
- Wallin, David J. (2007). Attachment in psychotherapy. The Guilford Press. New York, NY.