This book shows how clinical psychology has been deliberately used to label, control and oppress political dissidence under oppressive regimes and presents an epistemological and theoretical framework to help psychologists deal with the political dilemmas that surround clinical practice. Based on his own experience working as a clinical and community psychologist in Venezuela for almost twenty five years, the author recounts the controversial history of how the Bolivarian Revolution has used psychology to persecute and oppress political dissidents, recovers the experience of doing psychotherapy under oppressive regimes in other countries and stresses the importance of developing an ethically and politically aware clinical practice.
The first part of the book presents the dilemmas psychotherapists have faced in different parts of the world, such as the former Soviet Union, USA, China, Spain, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Venezuela when dealing with the intrusion of the political domain in clinical research and practice and the difficulties clinicians have had in dealing with these issues. The second part of the book presents an epistemological and theoretical framework from which these issues may be tackled effectively.
The book helps raise awareness of the risks of framing psychotherapy as apolitical as well as the benefits of thinking of our lives as contextualized in our political settings. It draws from several theoretical options that have been useful to challenge traditional clinical theory and include the political in our clinical comprehensions. In particular Latin American Community Psychology, that has developed tools to favor awareness of political issues, has been used to expand the psychotherapeutic conversation.
Politically Reflective Psychotherapy: Towards a Contextualized Approach will help clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and other social and mental health workers reflect on the challenges psychotherapy faces in a politically polarized society, showing how the political dimension can be incorporated into clinical practice.