Marxist theory and psychotherapy

Authored by: Ian Parker

Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138225473
eBook ISBN: 9781315399584
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines how psychotherapy either contributes to the circulation and expansion of capital or enables us to envisage another world beyond capitalism. The first part traces the reactionary role of psychotherapy by way of two transformations of capitalism since the end of the nineteenth century, concerning reification and emotional labour. The second part then considers psychotherapy as a practice which functions as part of the superstructure of society which has a reciprocal influence on the economic base. It is concluded that, for there to be any chance of a liberating form of psychotherapy, it is necessary to link therapeutic practice to the wider socio-political struggles against the individualising tendencies of capitalism.

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