A New Theory of Knowledge | Dr. Gregg Henriques
They don't call it "Depth Psychology" for nothing!
ABOUT DR. HENRIQUES
Today on BEST MEDICINE, I had the pleasure to speak with esteemed professor Dr. Greg Henriques. He’s been teaching at James Madison University since 2003.
We discussed the origins of the field, and the way psychology has expanded over the years. Greg is legendary in his field for developing a revolutionary theory of knowledge.
Learning this theory has changed my world in ways that have drastically changed the way I communicate with patients in a very positive way.
I can not recommend his wisdom more.
Information about his theories and work can be found at TOKSociety.org - This is the website of the "Theory of Knowledge Society," an organization which Dr Henriques founded.
I reached out to Dr. Henriques because of a revolutionary diagram he drew out of the tree of human understanding. It reminded me immediately of a book I recommend to everyone “Panpsychism in the West” by David Skirbina, where it's argued that the universe itself is conscious, and the individual’s consciousness is a reflection of that universal consciousness.
Where the Big Bang is a point of energy singularity (a theory most scientists agree on) - Dr. Henriques describes this energy as “energy information," translating all the way down the tree of knowledge that he has described.
WE DONT KNOW WHAT PSYCHOLOGY MEANS
During our discussion we ventured down the rabbit hole of depth psychology.
First off, Dr Henriques and I agree that it's certainly not called "Depth Psychology" for nothing.
The term "Depth psychology" typically refers to a group of clinicians and theorists in the early to mid 20th century which includes folks like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Their work is far too expansive to cover in depth here (no pun intended!). The basics include:
- Understanding the psyche as multiple parts, not all of which are evident to us at any moment in time
- Knowledge that interactions with others, particularly family members, love interests and prominent childhood figures (traumatic or otherwise) can lead to projections and complexes that cause us all sorts of trouble
- Belief that dreams have deeper meanings which can be interpreted and then used to self-analyze
- An acknowledging that humans are far deeper in all the "good" AND "bad" ways than mainstream psychology gives credit for
- A use of myth as demonstrative metaphor to help explain and teach the basics of the above points
There's thousands upon thousands of pages written on the stuff.
However, as it's impossible to isolate a complex in a microscope, many scientists and medical professionals dismiss Jung, Freud and co. as "pseudoscientific hacks."
It is my experience that many of the theories of psychology we base our medical work on today are highly imprecise and very shallow.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for instance, is essentially a form of doing mindset work or affirmations, but in a much more boring way than Tony Robbins would recommend.
Nothing against that work, but it clearly takes the point of view that human psychology is a computational phenomenon.
While many would see this discrepancy as troubling - like two totally different worlds, I simply see it as a "level of resolution error."
One wonderful piece of knowledge that effective depth psychologists AND modern medical experts would agree to use is the "Bio-Psycho-Social Model" for human health.
This model was first written about by George Engel. And if there's one little piece of information to take away from my discussion here with Dr. Henriques it's this:
Human Beings are a series of systems nested inside each other, at various levels of resolution, all effecting each other constantly in manners large and small.
The Bio-Psycho-Social model gives us a way to zoom in and out. We can bring the issue of someone's lung cancer, for instance, all the way up to the social level that encouraged them to smoke through social norms - or we can drill even deeper than the organ level to see how individual cells respond to treatments.
One thing Dr. Henriques pointed out, however, is that there are a series of systems nested between the social level and the biological level. These systems include the cognitive, the instinctual, the behavioral, the emotive and more.
Essentially, we can't agree on a "psychology" because psychology itself is a number of sub-systems interacting in a complex arrangement.
Perhaps Dr. Henriques' theories will help you make some more sense out of this constellation of confusion as they have for myself.