Where Politics, Psyche, and Community Converge: An Interview with Andrew Samuels

U.K.-based psychotherapist and activist, Andrew Samuels has a long history as a consultant to political clients on the presidential and prime ministerial level. While Samuels first published Politics on the Couch in 2001 and The Political Psyche in 2015, his newest book, A New Therapy for Politics? delves ever more deeply into the intersection between psychotherapy and politics and lends a critical eye to his own chosen profession in an effort to bring the two together.

Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, both pioneers in the field of psychotherapy, wrote about politics over the course of their careers, Samuels points out, but psychotherapists have generally been “magnificently unsuccessful” in creating a significant contribution to the political arena.

Jung was very aware of “how the political world penetrates into the silent, pure space of the consulting room,” Samuels maintains, but most psychotherapists don’t have much of a reach outside their own community of therapeutic professionals.

Notably, they tend to be completely caught up in their own language and their own concept. The inclination to maintain that “everything is psychological” results in hierarchical dynamics where psychologists or therapists place themselves above the everyday fray that makes up politics. This positioning weakens their capacity to add value or engage in a meaningful way, a position that is exacerbated by... READ the full post here

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