‘It is surely worth reading, not only by the author's fellow psychiatrists, but also by psychologists in general’ — Contemporary Psychology. ’I found this book a joy to read. Each chapter sets out the orthodoxy in question, then proceeds to explain lucidly the author's difficulties with this orthodoxy and to suggest an alternative way of looking at the issues’ — Self and Society Psychotherapy's influence seems all pervasive today. But to what end? Is helping people really therapy's main mission? This provocative book explores the alternatives to psychotherapeutic orthodoxies on such vital issues as sexuality; the self; the unconscious; creativity; and the dilemma of evil. Erensto Spinelli challenges psychotherapy, asking if it has retreated from its early promise of being a pivotal agent in our attempts to discover what it means to be human, in exchange for its current role as a pacifier of personal and social unease.

Do We Really Need the Unconscious?

Do we really need the unconscious?

Nearly a decade ago now, I wrote a paper entitled ‘The unconscious: an idea whose time has gone?’ which was subsequently published in the Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis and, later, in the Society's first collection of outstanding papers.1 As its title suggests, my thesis sought to reconsider psychotherapy's overwhelming acceptance of, and reliance upon, the psychoanalytically derived hypothesis of a particular and distinct mental system – the unconscious – whose active influence upon our lives (as we enact and consciously reflect upon them) was both substantial and requiring of primary attention by psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. In addition, my paper attempted to provide an alternative means to understand, and work with psychotherapeutically, ...

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