The goal of Depth Therapy is to help the individual coming for help diminish the conditioning of the self from all the defense mechanisms and conditioned responses that are based on the concept of “right,” “wrong,” “good,” and “bad.” The process helps expose the buried self to stimuli and utilize the feeling aspects of our system rather than the intellectual aspects as the basis for survival and creativity.
In attempting rediscovery of the feeling self, the environment in the therapeutic milieu becomes one of womblike security and safety, later to become a source of environmental acceptance. Finally,the therapeutic relationship provides encouragement to the new found self to separate the real in the relationship from the distorted (transference)part. To accomplish this final goal of separation,the process of therapy becomes the process of growth into a creative, separate self. All this, of course, cannot be totally accomplished since contamination of conditioning is great by the time the person seeking help comes into the office. Yet one can succeed in helping individuals reach a level of functioning that is much more creative, satisfying, and even exciting.
The therapeutic process is as follows:
The first stage is that of establishing an intense relationship with the therapist. It is vital that, above all, the therapist must be talented beyond the average in the ability to accept and even enjoy individual differences. In this first stage, this acceptance of differences must only be hinted at. The goal of the first stage is to help the individual enter into a symbolic, womblike existence with the therapist (on an emotional level). This helps to motivate the individual to enter, in future work, into the “dangerous” territory of feelings that were never allowed before.
The second stage helps the individual to begin to get in touch with his or her feelings. Within the safety of the new found intensive relationship and the therapist’s acceptance of the individual’s unique feelings, the person in treatment becomes more accepting of his or her own feelings.
The third stage is the working through of the new experiences caused by the new feelings, i.e., what to do with one’s feelings of rage, anger, frustration, love, hate, fear, sexuality, tenderness, and so on.In this stage, the individual works through these feelings, with the therapist acting as a representative of reality.
The final stage is one of separation,and it is extremely difficult both for the individual seeking help and for the helper. Despite his or her professional background, the separation is difficult for the therapist in this particular approach, due to the intensity of the relationship that has existed for several years. The pain and anxiety of separation are part of the process that engages both the helper and helpee. Yet it is ultimately the helper who must involve the individual coming for help in a process of separation and let go of the newly alive person.
Due to the brevity of this paper, the complex, intricate, and complete explanation of the psychoanalytic and Rankian basis for this therapeutic approach cannot be dealt with. Yet the reader surely notes the relationship of the theory and process to the above-mentioned approaches. One of the most significant differences between Depth Therapy and similar approaches are that it emphasizes more fully the use of the therapist’s own talent, capacity for intensity, appreciation of difference, and love of the uniqueness of life.
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