psychology How important are the contents of the unconscious mind to the understanding and treatment of mental health problems

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Despite the plethora of theoretical discourses and thousands of empirical studies exploring every imaginable aspect of different mental conditions, aetiology of most mental disorders still remains unknown. However, the general consensus is that the causes of mental health and disease have multiple aetiologies produced by the complex system of interactions between three types of factors, namely: biological, psychological, and socio-cultural.


The complex aetiological structure of mental problems implies that each potential cause must be carefully studied to understand its role in the onset of a disorder and eventually design an effective treatment strategy. However, despite the increasing body of scientific studies in the field, it is rarely the case that the research equally addresses each of the three major types of causes. Probably the most noticeable tendency in this regard is that the recent advances in the field of genetics and neuroscience have led to a situation when the biological causes of mental health and illness receive overwhelming attention while the psychological and socio-cultural aspects remain relatively understudied.
Fortunately, the increasing use of psychotherapeutic interventions in both understanding and treatment of mental problems suggests that modern researchers and practitioners are taking efforts to finally rectify the imbalance and acknowledge the role of unconscious in psychiatric discourse. Thus, the latest edition of the American Psychiatry Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) clearly demonstrates that "the concept of the unconscious is re-emerging in psychiatric discourse" (McAndrew and Warne, 2005, p.172). ...
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