Abstract Lotta Fiedel

Critique of psychotherapy – psychotherapy as critique? 

Asking for critical perspectives in psychology often leads – as in the mentioned examples in the announcement of this workshop – to different critiques of psychology. And yet the question can be turned around in order to ask whether psychology, psycho-analysis or more generally the analysis of psychic phenomena, could also be a form of critique. This idea isn’t new, though. For several decades now, social-psychological and psychoanalytical approaches have been adopted in order to analyse the psyche as a hinge between power relationships and subjects, advocated for example by critical theorists like Erich Fromm, feminist psychoanalysts like Jessica Benjamin or in political psychology. In this perspective, a critique of social relationships is bound to the analysis of psychic structures and processes as they are considered to be mutually constitutive. Following this line of thought, I will seek to think psychotherapy as a form of critique. This approach raises several questions that I want to address in my talk: What are the theoretical „experimental conditions“ under which the question can be asked? With that said, which forms of critique can be thought in the framework of psychotherapy and how does their relation to critiques of psychotherapy look like? What are the implications of these reflections for the concepts of psychotherapy and critique and how can they be assessed?

In my talk I will therefore focus on the theoretical conditions of this experiment (1), ask for the resulting opportunities of thinking psychotherapy as critique (2) and finally consider the results of such an experiment (3). Doing so I would like to put up for discussion whether adding psychology as critique could complement the suggested systematisation of cultures of critique in psychology.

 

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