Presentation on theme: "Therapy … On trial. Opening statements: The prosecution The rise of the therapeutic springs from and contributes to ‘the fall of public man’ (Sennett,"— Presentation transcript:
Opening statements: The prosecution The rise of the therapeutic springs from and contributes to ‘the fall of public man’ (Sennett, 1986)
Opening statements: The defence Back to the Greek understanding of therapy The word ‘psychotherapy’ comes from the Greek ‘psyche’ meaning ‘soul’ and ‘therapia’ meaning ‘care of’.
The prosecution calls upon its first witness: Plato. ‘... they are hardly likely to think this sort of thing unworthy of them as men … They will feel no shame and no endurance, but break into complaints and laments at the slightest provocation’ (Plato, 1987: 84) If we encourage young men to read, feel and express their emotions through poetry:
The defence calls upon its first witness: Aristotle Understanding and expressing our emotions does not make us weaker. Instead, therapy, like poetry, can allow for a: ‘purgation of emotions’. (Aristotle, 1996)
The prosecution calls upon its second witness: Furedi. ‘Everyday disappointments – rejection, failure, being overlooked – are regarded as risks to our self-esteem’ Furedi (2004: 1). ‘Increasingly, we tend to think of social problems as emotional ones’ (Furedi, 2004: 24).
The defence calls upon its second witness: Persaud Furedi fails to: “acknowledge the growing work that ‘positive psychology’ and other new fields are doing in pioneering resilience enhancement and self taught coping skills” (Persaud, 2003: 327).
The prosecution calls upon its third witness: Martin Buber ‘The true community does not arise through peoples having feelings for one another (though indeed not without it) but through, first, their taking their stand in living mutual relation with one another …Living mutual relation includes feelings, but does not originate with them. The community is built up out of living mutual living relation, but the builder is the living effective Centre’ (Buber, 2004: 40)
The defence calls upon its third witness: Cigman ‘Self-esteem matters in education for the same reason that it matters in therapy: low self-esteem can be crippling. … teachers may identify children with low self-esteem as those who say ‘I can’t’, ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’m dumb’. Such children need help. To make helping them a priority is … to engage in the business of education’ (Cigman, 2004: 105).
The prosecution calls upon its forth witness: Lefebvre ‘so long as the only improvement to occur are technical improvements of detail … so long must the project of ‘changing life’ remain no more than a political rallying-cry to be taken up or abandoned according to the mood of the movement’. (Lefebvre, 1974/1994: 59-60)
The defence responds Therapy ‘offers a better answer than ‘pull yourself together’’ (Hodson, 2004: 412). Positive freedom: Taylor (1979/1997: 420): ‘obstacles [to freedom] can be internal as well as external’ Therapy allows us to be political
Why the rise in therapy culture? The prosecution’s argument: None of the art therapies ‘promises an authentic therapy of commitment to communal purpose; rather, in each the commitment is to the therapeutic end itself … That a sense of well- being has become the end, rather than a by-product of striving after some superior communal end, announces a fundamental change of focus in the entire casts of our culture …’ (Rieff, 1987: 261) ‘Life itself appears only as a means to life' (emphasis in the original, Marx, 1844/1992: 1163).
Why the rise is therapy culture? The defence’s argument: It is the difference between our expectations and the reality of our lives that has given rise to the increase in therapy. In this sense, the rise of the therapeutic represents a form of conscious awakening.
Closing statement from the prosecution Therapy is a tool a of ‘disciplinary power’ which ‘objectifies’ children and casts a ‘law of truth’ upon them (Foucault, 1977). ‘… rehabilitation is the exercise of power by one group over another and further, that exercise of power is shaped by ideology … of normality which, like most ideologies, goes unrecognised, often by professionals and their victims alike’. (Oliver, 1993)
Closing statement from the defence Therapies should centre on caring for the soul of the young person and the soul of the school. ‘Freud thinks that psychoanalysis is something scientific; he does not see that it is before everything a moral question’ (Weil, 1978: 98)
References Aristotle 1996) Poetics (Trans. M. Heath) (London: Penguin) Buber, M. (2004) I and Thou (London: Continuum) Cigman, R. (2004) Situated Self-esteem, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 91-105 Furedi, F. (2003) Therapy Culture: cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age (London: Routledge) Lefebvre, H. (1974/1994) The Production of Space (Trans. By D. Nicholson-Smith, Oxford: Blackwell) Marx, K. (1844/1992) Estranged Labour, in: M. L. Morgan (Ed.) Classics of Moral and Political Theory (Indianapolis: Hackett) McLeod, J. (2002) Counselling in the Workplace: the Facts (Rugby: BACP)
Oliver, M. (1999) Capitalism, disability and ideology: A materialist critique of the Normalization principle, in:, R. J. Flynn & R. A. Lemay (Eds) A Quarter-Century of Normalization and Social Role Valorization: Evolution and Impact (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press) Plato (1987) The Republic (trans. D. Lee) (London: Penguin) Persaud, R. (2003) Book review: Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age, British Medical Journal, Vol. 327, No. 7426, p. 1293 Rieff, P. (1978) The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud (Chicago: University of Chicago) Sennett, R. (1986) The Fall of Public Man (London, Faber and Faber) Taylor, C. (1979/1997) What’s Wrong with Negative Liberty?, in: R.E. Goodin & P. Pettit (Eds.) (1997) Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology (London: Blackwell) Weil, S. (1978) Lectures on philosophy (Trans. H. Price, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)