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Sweetnam, A. (2019). Freedom with, Alienation from, and the Creative Fight. Fort Da, 25(1):10-26.

(2019). Fort Da, 25(1):10-26

Freedom with, Alienation from, and the Creative Fight

Annie Sweetnam, Ph.D.

Psychoanalysis is all about freedom; internal, psychic freedom, and political and cultural freedom impinge on each other.

— Michael Parsons, 2018

The topic of freedom is as interesting as it is complex, as appealing to think about as it is daunting to write about. We live in political times when Michael Parson's words, “… political and cultural freedom impinge on each other” (2018) resonate as an understatement and make thinking about freedom even more relevant to our clinical and political lives. I want to offer a few thoughts about some aspects of freedom that straddle psychological and political worlds in ways that I find particularly interesting. I'll discuss three features of freedom. First, freedom's reciprocal nature, meaning that freedom does not belong to any one individual or one people alone. I offer the term freedom “with” another or others, as a way of capturing the mutual nature of freedom. Second, I grapple with the need to embrace — psychologically and politically — freedom for those who not only think otherwise (Parsons, 2018), but for those whose thinking feels alien to us. And, third, I look at the requirement that we take risks and fight for freedom, both internally and in the outside world, and that this fight is a creative one. I draw on two unlikely bedfellows in my discussion — Fanon and Winnicott.

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