The New Politics of Experience and The Bitter Herbs
ISBN 978 1 906254 74 2 ( 2014)
Read the Preface here
The New Politics of Experience and The Bitter Herbs by Theodor Itten and Ron Roberts critiques the practices of psychotherapy and psychology and asks searching questions about the neoliberal motives that drive them. Theorising of the human condition too often follows the ideological fashions of the day, which could currently be described as biological/corporate fundamentalism. This toxic mixture not only mystifies the general public but also makes epistemological slaves of professional psychologists. As neoliberal capitalism continues its forward march, this book considers its influence on the divide between academic psychology and the psychotherapeutic art of healing, and considers how the relationship between the practical and academic sides of psychology has become so deeply problematic as well as dishonest. Itten and Roberts' book constitutes a call for a return to a new, authentic and vibrant Politics of Experience.
Part One: Experience
Chapter One: Beginnings
Chapter Two: Where do we come from? Origins and visions
Chapter Three: What do we do in psychotherapy?
Chapter Four: Playing: Theory and praxis
Chapter Five: Therapeutic compassion
Part Two: Method
Chapter Six: Sanity, memory and the social
Chapter Seven: Feminism, madness and the family
Chapter Eight: The politics of memory: Field notes from an urban anthropologist
Part Three: Truth
Chapter Nine: The politics of truth in psychotherapy
Chapter Ten: Psychology: Individuals, morality and ideology
Chapter Eleven: The new politics of experience
Chapter Twelve:Where do we go from here?
The Bitter Herbs
Read Brian Evans' review in the International Journal of Psychotherapy here
Read Dr Brent Potter's review in the New York Journal of Books here
Read Colin Feltham's review from TherapyToday.net here
To have two such differing approaches to a subject that is much discussed these days struck me as clever, original, and totally intriguing. Itten and Roberts present their experience based on different perspectives, and their contrasting views are new and dynamic, insuring that something exciting is in store for readers in the fields of psychotherapy and psychology.
Deirdre Bair, author of Simone de Beauvoir’s and C. G. Jung’s biographies, and winner of The National Book Award for “Beckett – A Biography”.
Itten and Roberts combine intriguing personal stories and incisive analysis to help us understand how Psychology and Psychotherapy have become largely disconnected from real life. The New Politics of Experience’ is distressing and illuminating in equal measure, but also, at times, extremely entertaining.
Professor John Read, Liverpool University and co-editor of ‘Models of Madness’
My compliments to Theodor Itten and Ron Roberts for their timely continuation of R. D. Laing’s lifelong endeavour, which was to establish psychotherapy as a study of situations and not just of his victims and with the therapist as being both a part of and apart from them. They enlarge upon Laing’s work, by including themselves in the picture, along with the many Big Brothers who control our behaviour, and of course the art of psychotherapy. Laing would be proud of them.
Francis Huxley, Social Anthropologist and author of Affable Savages: An Anthropologist among the Urubu Indians of Brazil; The Invisibles: Voodoo Gods in Haiti.