The Political Psyche

The Political Psyche

The Political Psyche

The Political Psyche

Synopsis

What can depth psychology and politics offer each other? In The Political Psyche Andrew Samuels shows how the inner journey of analysis and psychotherapy and the passionate political convictions of the outer world are linked. He brings an acute psychological perspective to bear on public themes such as the market economy, environmentalism, nationalism, and anti-semitism. But, true to his aim of setting in motion a two-way process between depth psychology and politics, he also lay bare the hidden politics of the father, the male body, and of men's issue generally. A special feature of the book is an international survey into what analysts and psychotherapists do when their patients/clients bring overtly political material into the clinical setting. The results, including what the respondents reveal about their own political attitudes, destabilize any preconceived notions about the political sensitivity of analysis and psychotherapy.

Excerpt

As I understand it, the purposes of a Preface are to tell how the book came to be written, to position it in relation to the writer's previous work, and to convey the importance of the book to the writer on a personal level. Some explanation of terminology, especially in a discipline-crossing work like this, may also be helpful.

In Jung and the Post-Jungians, I used a politicized methodology to draw together an overview of the analytical psychology scene since Jung's death in 1961. Debate and dispute between the schools of post-Jungian analytical psychology delineated the field itself. In The Plural Psyche, I refined my approach and called it 'pluralism', extending my purview to straddle internal psychological life, theory-making in psychology, and the psychology of certain moral themes that I thought had social significance. This book takes up the wider issues touched on by The Plural Psyche and foregrounds them in an unambiguous attempt to create linkages between depth psychology and political theory and practice.

Why has my writing become 'political'? It can be seen that this has not been a sudden whim and that the roots of this book lie in the previous books (not forgetting anthologies on the father and on psychopathology, nor a dictionary of analytical psychology, which had as their 'political' project the communication of analytical psychology to non-Jungians). As far as I can tell, in answering the question 'why politics?', it has been a question of conscience. In simple terms, the worlds I live in, or have experienced on my travels, have disturbed me. Inequality, prejudice, violence and a lack of imaginative vitality have affected me and worried me. I felt I wanted to do something about it and could not contemplate going back to the left-wing splinter group politics of late adolescence. Then it gradually dawned on me that the profession I had 'chosen', for whatever reasons, offered a particular way of making the contribution that my conscience was demanding. Once embarked on the work, I found that the movements of mind and heart were in two directions: The planned one

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