therapy

“When you were a child, if you lived in a city, your father probably went out on Tuesday night to a ward meeting with the Democrats or the Republicans, to some meeting dealing with politics. Now we go out because we’re fat; we go out on a Tuesday night to meet other fat people. On Wednesday night we go out because our parents abused us; Thursday, because we drink too much. We meet single-issue people. We meet through our symptoms.

It’s a new way of organizing the political world, the communal world: in terms of pathology. For everyone to sit around a room because they’re fat — I don’t know if that’s a way civilization can continue. I want to meet with people who are fat, and black, and green, and white, and exhibitionists, and Republicans. That’s what a democracy is about. […]

Suppose we begin seeing ourselves not as patients but as citizens. Then what would therapy be like? Suppose the man or woman coming to you as the therapist is, above all else, a citizen. Then you’re going to have to think about these people a little differently; they’re no longer just cases. […]

I am attacking the theories of psychotherapy… It makes every problem a subjective, inner problem. And that’s not where the problems come from. They come from the environment, the cities, the economy, the racism. They come from architecture, school systems, capitalism, exploitation. They come from many places that psychotherapy does not address. Psychotherapy theory turns it all on you: you are the one who is wrong. What I’m trying to say is that, if a kid is having trouble or is discouraged, the problem is not just inside the kid; it’s also in the system, the society.

We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently. My goal is to create a therapy of ideas, to try to bring in new ideas so that we can see the same old problems differently.”

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–James Hillman interview excerpts from here and here.

Photo: Something Sighted


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