Psychotherapist and historian Philip Cushman views person and culture abiding within one another in gradual, constant flux. In this "strange, unorthodox" and remarkable book, he relates the evolution of psychotherapy from Freud to the present in the context of social change from Victorian to post-modern culture. By the same token he portrays psychotherapy as simultaneously determined by, and influential in, the cultural milieu. This will annoy therapists who see themselves as occupying a scientific perch nicely insulated from social pressure, governed by universal, immutable truths about human nature. It will also challenge historians who sniff at psychological theory without knowing how deeply it has affected their terrain.
Cushman writes about the "empty self," the self as commodity created and fulfilled by what he sees as a social milieu emphasizing individualism, consumption, political ignorance, advertising and marketing.
Psychotherapy--and its relationship to the United States--is anything but simple; it is one of the most complex, colorful, and strange artifacts of the modern era. It is a social institution with many theoretical frameworks, ideologies, and guilds. It features some of the most varied and creative ideas of the last 150 years. Its practitioners have developed some of the most unusual... (Click title for more)