Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human Relationships

Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human Relationships

Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human Relationships

Psychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human Relationships

Synopsis

This volume offers a psychology of human personality and behavior created as a function of the politics practiced by the social structure in which they are based. Simon demonstrates the dangers of the psychiatry and therapy industries from a variety of political, religious, and scientific perspectives. He argues that the mental health field, as currently dominated by psychiatric thinking entrenched in the "myths of mental illness," is acting as a social control agency and a force in the development of a totalitarian state.

Excerpt

The field of psychology, its main application, psychotherapy, and the self-proclaimed jewel in the crown of therapy, psychoanalysis, are all involved in major struggles between and within their respective enterprises. While the terms of these conflicts are restricted to language common to science and the fields themselves, this monograph explores the thesis that what is also involved are inevitably battles between forces representing democratic/humanistic forms of political expression and relationships and those which stand for authoritarian and totalitarian political structures. The struggle to define the proper human relationship to authority and the manner in which societies are to be structured is as old as civilization itself and finds expression at all levels of human interaction. An examination of psychology and its applications from the lens of political theory is an outgrowth of what has been termed the “post-modern revolution,” an intellectual development in which various sciences, humanities, and liberal and fine arts became the object of intellectual and critical examination. Louis Sass (1992) has suggested that postmodernism is, in reality, the next logical step in modernity’s maturity. I suggest that postmodernism (at its best) can be understood as science grown self-conscious (Simon 1998), allowing us to examine psychology or any field from the vantage point of any other. This book is an attempt to develop a critique that throws light on the relationships of psychology, its applications, and society.

One of the goals of this book is to demonstrate that in the conflict between democratic/humanistic and authoritarian practices the democratic are losing ground to the politics of authoritarianism. I suggest that I.Bernard Cohen (1985) is correct when he postulates that the rise of science both reflected and enhanced Western culture’s move toward

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