Depth psychologies are set apart from other schools by a belief in the unconscious. This means taking it for granted that much of what we know, think, or believe is predicated on processes and influences hidden from our conscious awareness. We simply can’t know ourselves completely. Though we might like to believe that we understand are own motivations, and that our conscious personality is in actually steering the ocean liner of our psyche, this is not in fact true.
This fact was intuited by early things of psychoanalysis such as Freud and Jung. Jung was able to operationalize this intuitions into an instrument for detecting unconscious disturbances in his word association experiment. Today, modern neuroscience is validating these insights.
Jung wrote about the dangers of forgetting our dependence on the unconscious. Doing so inevitably leads to dangerous inflation and overvaluation of the conscious perspective. This week, I wrote a piece for PSYCHED Magazine on the growing interest in nonmonogamy. In it, I explain that my reluctance to endorse nonmonogamy without critical examination arises in part on my skepticism about motivations for seeking such an arrangement.
At least according to my experience, those choosing consensual nonmonogamy appear to have motivations of which they are not aware. When we mistake the illusion for the thing itself, we set ourselves up for a potential fall.