• 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

Deconstructing Mental Illness
Deconstructing mental illness

The historical relationship between psychotherapy and psychiatry – psychological treatment by doctors – has been complex. Although psychotherapy often supports orthodox psychiatric views of ‘mental illness’, it can also question the whole concept, and the dehumanizing ways in which mental patients have often been treated. Much of the radical politics of mental health has been survivor-led – that is, organized and theorized by those defined as mentally ill, rather than by ‘experts’ of any sort (see Parker et al. 1995, 112ff.). In this chapter, I am looking only at the contribution of therapists to the critique of mental health work We will see how two kinds of politics coexist here: a very practical empowerment politics, and arising out of that, ...

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