The Individual and Work: Politicised Psychotherapy

There exists a rather worrying critique of psychotherapy in that it may exist in service of harmful societal forces. To put it concretely, the risk is that psychotherapy is used to rehabilitate people to return to a societal system that itself harms and breaks them. This is not a criticism of psychotherapy itself, but rather a particular function that psychotherapy risks adopting. This is not something interior to psychotherapy but rather a demand that is placed on it from the outside. How should psychotherapy respond? The aim of this paper is to show that this is a demand that must be resisted if one is to maintain the ideal of doing no harm seriously. The problem itself appears in the unusual conjunction of our commonly held ideas about individuals and work and the impact that these ideas have on physical and mental well-being. Identity and work are intertwined (Gertz, 2019, p. 127).

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