• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This stimulating book explores the long-standing relationship between psychotherapy and politics and argues that from the beginning psychotherapy has had a political face. Documenting instances where ideas from psychotherapy have been incorporated into the political agenda, the book demonstrates the practical value of psychotherapy as an instigator of social and political change. Related to this, attempts to understand and evaluate political life through the application of psychotherapeutic concepts are examined. The author poses a number of key questions, including: What is human nature? Are aggression and violence innate in us? Is the therapeutic relationship inherently unequal? And, is the political an a

Psychotherapy under Totalitarianism
Psychotherapy under totalitarianism

This chapter brings together accounts of therapy in Nazi Germany, Latin American dictatorships, and the Soviet Union. In each of these different forms of ‘closed society’, therapists attempted to continue their work, with varying degrees of success and compromise.


‘Where the history of psychoanalysis under Nazi rule in Germany is concerned’, writes Chasseguet-Smirguel,

it is almost as if one had quite literally obeyed the order: ‘ou are requested to close the eyes’ appearing in one of Freud's dreams. … One must not see. A most tenacious legend, the validity of which, because of its very great likelihood, was not questioned for a long time, holds that analysis was ‘liquidated’ under the Third Reich. (Chasseguet-Smirguel 1988, 1059)

This ‘likely legend’ was based on the authority ...

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