Saving the world one patient at a time: Psychoanalysis and social critique

Psychotherapy and Politics International, Vol. 7, No. 3, Pg. 190-205.

 Jennifer Tolleson

In contrast to its revolutionary beginnings, the psychoanalytic discourse has abandoned its potential as a critical, dissident force in contemporary life. It is imperative, in our efforts to engage in socially responsible clinical practice, that we restore the sociocritical function to our professional mandate, and that we apply such critique to our symbiosis with the dominant organizing social and economic order. In our close encounter with the tragedies and profundities of the human subject, we are uniquely poised to inhabit a critical, dissident and ardent sensibility in relation to the larger political world. Our immersion in human subjectivity makes possible a vivid and poignant perspective on human experience in contemporary life, and yet our valorization of the subjective and the individual, and our difficulty looking beyond the dyad as the site of human suffering and human transformation occludes a broader social and historical inquiry. So, too, does our preoccupation with holding onto our professional legitimacy, staying viable in the marketplace, which tempts us in morally dubious directions and dampens our freedom to elaborate a more oppositional, or dissident, sensibility. Arguably the profession has a responsibility to make a contribution, practical and discursive, clinical and theoretical, to human rights and social justice. A contribution along these lines requires tremendous courage as we push back against the gains afforded by our conformity to the status quo.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Oct 01 2009, 12:00 AM by nick stock
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