Dr. T. Craig Isaacs
7 Mount Lassen Drive, Suite A-134
San Rafael, CA 94903
What Is Depth Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?
Depth Psychodynamic Psychotherapy refers to approaches that are open to the exploration of the often elusive, unconscious, and transpersonal aspects of human experience. It is possible to conceive of a problem in our lives as due to blocks or hindrances on our paths to true fulfillment. They can even be conceived as due to missing those paths. To be frustrated in reaching our destiny results in the common experiences we know as depression, anxiety, and even acute psychoses and spiritual crises. A multitude of reasons may be the cause: trauma, relational issues, and personal choices being but a few.
This type of approach is less "pathologizing" than many others. A person is not seen as a diagnosis or pathology, but as an individual on a journey to completion. This is the goal of our lives: to be complete, to be whole, to be healed. Jesus once said, “become perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” We understand that the word translated as “perfect” is better understood as to be complete or whole. This is even a good definition of healing: to be completed, to be whole.
A discouraging aspect of our attempts to find our health and fulfillment is that we often do not even know that we have taken the wrong path. All we know is that we are suffering. When we attempt to correct ourselves, we feel lost. We are unsure even what choices to make. This is because much of that vital information lies just outside of consciousness. It is common sense that if we were truly conscious of the answer, we would be acting upon it. It is, therefore, obvious that the ego (the center of consciousness) does not have the answer. Rather, the answer lies deeper within; in the space of our selves found beneath consciousness. The task of depth psychotherapy is to uncover these deeper areas. It is to find the wisdom to walk the path that leads to our destiny and fulfillment.
This is accomplished through a deep, trusting therapeutic relationship exploring both historical memories as well as these deeper, mostly unknown, parts of the present self. Techniques such as dream interpretation, meditation, and active imagination are often useful. Other modalities such as cognitive restructuring, behavioral inventions, and mindfulness are also important aspects of our work.
The difference between depth psychodynamic psychotherapy and other well-established forms such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Therapy, Family Systems, and the like, is that each of these latter forms tend to stay within their own camp of techniques and theories. The depth psychodynamic approach incorporates and embraces the techniques employed by these approaches as they assist in the inner journey, while still retaining a broader understanding of the soul than is often encountered in these other modes of psychotherapy.
The field of psychodynamic psychotherapy is itself broad. Encompassing theoretical orientations which include Psychoanalytic, Existential, and Transpersonal to mention a few. My approach is from a Jungian orientation. Such an orientation is more in-line with a classical Christian world-view, since the Jungian approach embraces a teleological understanding of human development. A person is seen as governed by their future destiny rather than merely being determined by their past. They are being drawn toward wholeness not driven by past experiences. It is the finding of a way to that wholeness that brings healing rather than solely attempting to resolve the conflicts of the past.