THE THIRD PILLAR: INSIGHT
This third principle is arguably the most important of Freud's contributions to modern psychotherapy. Freud maintained that access to the unconscious, the out-of-awareness mind, is not only essential but possible. He insisted, and the same thing is just as true for modern practitioners of psychotherapy, that in order for the individual to attain "maturity", it is necessary to learn the things hidden in his or her unconscious. Because the unconscious supposedly controls every area of our lives, it is only as we begin to understand it that we can control the influence it exerts over us.
Freud was certain he could gain an understanding of a patient's unconscious by means of various techniques, including recollection, free-association, dream interpretation, symbolic interpretation, hypnosis, facilitated recall, and revivification. (Revivification as a form of treatment was first popularized after World War II, and even more so after the Vietnam War. Combat veterans of these two wars had faced some horrific experiences and the mental and emotional effects they suffered became fodder for a whole new area of psychotherapeutic treatment. The rationale was, and still is, that the symptoms caused by traumatic experiences--what has become known as post-traumatic stress disorder--are suppressed by the unconscious. Veterans are treated by encouraging them to recall and relive their experiences. The method is supposed to be especially effective when accomplished in group settings among other 'survivors.')
Freud also insisted on what he termed "catharsis"--the dramatic release of repressed mental content. Such content has to be vented so that a person can be released from bondage to the unconscious. (This notion is what led to various treatment therapies such as so-called 'scream therapy', in which a person loudly vented his frustrations and inner turmoil.)
It should be stated once again that there are absolutely no experiments capable of proving or disproving these hypotheses. Psychoanalysis/counseling therapy is no more genuinely scientific--a word many, if not most, people accept as the final authority on any topic--than is evolutionary biology, because neither discipline (if we can even call them that) don't play by the rules of empirical, verifiable science. The observable data of both fields, whether we're talking about rock formations or human behavioral problems, are not measurable. The conclusions that have been arrived at are completely descriptive and subjective--in other words, they are purely speculative, which is nothing more than a term for human guesswork.
If all of this is true, then why are the pseudo-scientific theories common to the various psychotherapies so widely accepted as science? How does psychotherapy manage to avoid being exposed as the false religion it really is? I think it is that because of the denial of God's existence--which is an integral part of psychotherapy--man can now be his own god. Biblical concepts such as original sin and the Fall are dismissed as being primitive and irrelevant. In place of the Biblical worldview, man has bought into the idea that he can find solutions on his own, leading to a bright and glorious future built and controlled by man himself. That idea undergirds all of the foundations of modern society, including educational theory, political science, the law, economics, and business theory, to mention but a few. It is nothing but a grand deception--Satan's particular specialty--but a very palatable one for the person who rejects his Creator. As a quote attributed to G. K. Chesterton put it, "The man who doesn't believe in God will believe anything."