• 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

Conclusions to Part III
Conclusions to Part III

It is clear that, as a group, psychotherapists and counsellors can claim no special political qualities – except, conceivably, an above-average degree of argumentativeness. We have seen therapists adapting with greater or lesser success to the demands of totalitarian regimes; competing viciously with each other for power, prestige and income; and manipulating institutions and training programmes in order to maintain hegemonic control.

Does this undermine the claim of psychotherapy to have some insights into political processes? Not intrinsically – one can understand a problem without being able to surmount it. But the evidence is certainly not encouraging, if we are hoping for psychotherapy to show us some means of progress in human affairs: it cannot even organize itself politically ...

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