We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Politics, psychotherapy and the puzzle of dualism

13th November 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Palace Green, Dr Wahbie Long (University of Cape Town)


One of the most contested issues in psychology has to do with the relationship of the individual to the social world. This debate arises repeatedly in the field of psychotherapy where questions abound regarding the place of politics in the consulting room. One understanding of the problem is that the broader psychological discipline not only embraces capitalism but also endorses a form of dualism that divides the social-material and psychological domains from one another.

The general result has been for psychotherapists to advocate a form of psychological adaptationism that adjusts individuals to the dysfunctional social structures that surround them. By contrast, many Marxist psychologists have denounced this posture and insisted on folding the psyche back into its material substrate. The outcome of this maneouvre has often played out with these psychologists abandoning either their Marxism or psychology altogether. In this seminar,Dr Long examines the prospects of a viable Marxist psychology-psychotherapy that takes seriously the social determinants of psychological suffering yet is capable of overcoming such dualities as insideness-outsideness, interiority-exteriority, or psychism-materialism.

Places are limited at these lunchtime seminars and so any academic colleagues interested in attending, should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

Contact for more information about this event.