This book explores the notion of "the therapeutic ethos". The therapeutic ethos can be defined as a specific psychological way of thinking and talking about ourselves and the world. Through this perspective, author Ole Jacob Madsen considers psychology as a worldview that compares to religious or political systems of meaning. By investigating psychology's increasing prevalence in Western societies over the last decades in areas such as consumption, Protestant religion, self-help, sports and politics, the book ends up posing some critical questions: what happens when modern psychology's influence spreads to encompass new spheres? How does it affect the way we understand ourselves and the outside world? Does the psychological professional hold a sufficiently developed ethical consciousness of the new sociopolitical landscape s/he is now operating in? Madsen concludes that the psychology profession's clinical mindset and professional ethics have failed to keep pace with a new sociopolitical landscape where psychology is no longer confined to the clinic and the therapist's office.
Psychology today is a profession that appears to operate under the notion that everything is in effect just more psychology waiting to be discovered, and that society's problems can be resolved by increasing the supply of psychologists. This is a development that should cause us all concern at a time when the individual's health has become an endless project, and our joint capacity to understand individual suffering in the light of major social change seems clouded. The Therapeutic Turn will appeal to students, academics and all readers interested in this aspect of modernity and contemporary society, as well as psychological practitioners and other therapists working with the mind. It will offer a discussion of therapeutic logic and psychology's presence in different spheres in a way that has not been presented before.
1: Introduction 2: The consumer self 3: Crisis of authority: Philip Rieff's critique of Freud's worldview 4: Psychology and religion Interlude: Psychology in crisis? 5: The self-help culture 6: Psychology and sports 7: Psychology and neoliberalism 8: The psychology profession's ethos 9: Conclusion