At the beginning of the last century Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) developed the basic principles of psychoanalysis in his practice as a neurologist and psychiatrist. His knowledge of the existence of unconscious mental phenomena and their importance for the healthy and the ill mind became the most important prerequisite for the development of psychotherapy in its various forms.
His students and successors developed numerous schools of deep psychology. The best known are the schools of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) and Alfred Adler (1870-1937).
The analytically oriented or deep psychological therapy is mainly concerned with:
- the unconscious motives of human behaviour,
- the way people have learned from an early age to perceive and respond to themselves and their environment,
- the fears and blockages that prevent them from developing and changing in accordance with their nature.
- Within the protected framework of individual therapy, the focus is primarily on emotional components that have developed in the early parent-child relationship and sometimes make it difficult to act and perceive appropriately.
In analytical or deep psychological group therapy, attention shifts more to the power of habits in daily life. People tend to create persistent habitual relationship patterns that can unconsciously and unintentionally influence the way that person acts. The therapy group can become a type of second family in which dysfunctional relationship patterns can be changed.
The psychotherapist interprets associations, dreams and reactions of the patient. This way, the unconscious patterns of behaviour are uncovered and can be changed.
Deep psychological knowledge and methodology can also be applied to other therapeutic procedures, e.g. focal therapy, couples and family therapy or group analysis.
Historically, psychoanalysis has undergone a lot of change and development and is now divided into different traditions and schools. It has lost much of its importance in Germany's current health care system, mainly because of the very low number of psychoanalysts and the often long treatment duration over several years.
Because of this difficulty, psychotherapy based on deep psychology has developed in parallel with classical psychoanalysis. It does not attempt to deal with all aspects of the unconscious personality structure of the patient, but focuses on emotional conflicts instead. Of course, unconscious factors are also dealt with. The process is problem-oriented and resembles the procedure of behavioural therapy.