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Wachtel, P.L. (2002). Psychoanalysis and the Disenfranchised: From Therapy to Justice. Psychoanal. Psychol., 19(1):199-215.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19(1):199-215

Psychoanalysis and the Disenfranchised: From Therapy to Justice

Paul L. Wachtel, Ph.D.

Neurotic misery” is not the only treatable source of suffering that can be subtracted from the sum of unavoidable “everyday unhappiness.” Social inequality and injustice represent another powerful source of unnecessary suffering that, in principle, can be modified and diminished. This article explores the implications of psychoanalytic understanding for developing better approaches to addressing this dimension of human distress, which has been largely neglected in the psychoanalytic literature. In the process, it also reexamines some commonly held assumptions about the nature of the psychoanalytic process and considers how new observations deriving from work with people from different cultural and class origins can contribute to the refinement and further development of psychoanalytic propositions.

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