The Academy's Outreach Project to the Public, Universities, and Other Professionals
The values of the culture and the theories and practices of psychology are inseparable. As the medical-scientific narrative has encircled contemporary American society, the people and their problems in living have come to be understood within its science and pathology-driven framework. Human experiences arising in the course of living life such as anxiety, depression, and interpersonal difficulties are now considered evidences of pathology and interpreted as symptoms of an underlying (mental) disorder, disturbance, or disease. The values of health and science are most highly prized in the culture and society.
For the most part, psychology has become a medical psychology, deeply rooted in Westernized medicine and ethics, evolutionary biology and theory, and the assumptions and methods of the natural sciences. Understood as evidences of pathology -not problems in living, individualized treatment plans are developed consisting of the appropriate diagnosis (Dx) and method of treatment (Rx), organized around the most time- and cost-effective way of curing -or normalizing, the pathology. And during the course of treatment, highly sensitive and personal information is routinely recorded in the patient's chart -- "progress notes," and electronically transmitted to insurance companies and the Federal Data Base Hub where it's disseminated to various governmental agencies. And in this context, confidentiality exists in name only.
The Academy for the Psychoanalytic Arts was founded in 1992 to develop and advance psychological theories, practices, education, ethics, and epistemology situated in philosophy, the humanities, and the arts as opposed to biology, medicine, and the natural sciences. It was founded as an alternative to the medical-scientific narrative and its dehumanizing and formulaic understandings of people, life, and society. Since its early beginnings, it's been organized around rethinking psychotherapy (and psychoanalysis) as a collaborative inquiry, the purpose of which is to further self-discovery and contribute to the greater understanding of one's self, relationships, and life.
The Academy is an affiliate of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association. Situated in philosophy, the humanities and the arts, psychotherapy is concerned with listening, understanding, and responding to such spiritual questions as, "Who am I?" "Where did I come from?" and "How is my depression, anxiety, or interpersonal difficulties an integral aspect of my life-story?" Psychotherapy is concerned with questions like, "How do my past life experiences inform my current decisions and guide my movements in everyday life?" and "Why do I keep repeating certain unwanted experiences in living my life?"
Every person has a different and unique life story. How the practitioner listens, understands, and responds depends on their underlying assumptions, values, and ways of thinking about people and life. Understood as problems in living -not evidences of pathology, therapy unfolds through the individual's telling of their life story and experiences. And more humanizing assumptions and values lead to more compassionate, empathic, and creative understandings of people and their problems in living. Different assumptions lead to different ways of understanding and working with, for example, the elderly in the assisted living facility or nursing home, the couple having marital problems and difficulties, or the young adult or child having difficulties with their peers or studies.
We would like to extend an invitation to your faculty and students to visit the Academy's library without walls (academyanalyticarts.com) where they can explore articles and essays on a wide range of topics contributed by prominent individuals in the field of psychology and psychoanalysis. These topics include, but are not limited to,
- some of the legal and professional issues impacting the practice of psychology;
- the question of ethics and confidentiality in a high-tech surveillance state;
- the ongoing industrialization and commercialization of psychology;
- the medicalization of the human condition and the politicization of medicine, especially with the nation's movement towards national healthcare;
- some of the recommended principles and practices for providing humanistic psychosocial services; and,
- many other topics of interest to the professional educator and the practitioner-in-the-process-of-becoming.
The Academy also offers a rich menu of professional opportunities for the young professional as they prepare to enter the practice community such as, for example, study groups on a wide variety of topics, consultation on professional matters and issues, and ongoing supervision of their work. Our members have extensive experience in working with the elderly, adults, young adults, and children.
If any member of your faculty is interested in having a guest practitioner speak with their class on a specific topic, our members can be contacted directly and arrangements made (see the membership directory).