• 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

Challenging the Therapeutic Relationship
Challenging the therapeutic relationship

In this chapter, we will look at some attempts to alter the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship, so as to meet the sorts of criticisms which we have just been discussing. As we shall see, these attempts have been many and varied.

Mutual Analysis

Sandor Ferenczi (1873–1933) was a leading figure in early psychoanalytic history, a close friend and confidant of Freud. In his last years, Ferenczi became increasingly critical of some of the central tenets of psychoanalysis, including infantile sexuality and the emphasis on fantasy rather than actual trauma; this led him to accuse psychoanalysis of retraumatizing its clients rather than helping them (Ferenczi 1949; Stanton 1991; Totton 1998, 67–8). Freud and the analytic movement were unable to hear ...

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