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Taking Care

An Alternative to Therapy

Taking Care by David Smail
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Taking Care established David Smail as an important social and political analyst whose background happened to be in clinical psychology. In this work he develops the analysis of mental illness, and psychology in general, in the contexts of society, power and interest.People's experience is embodied in the world in which they exist. Notwithstanding the claims of some, psychology cannot, in the same way that magic cannot, change the nature of that experience fundamentally. At best, psychotherapy might provide a degree of understanding about that limitation. The historical relationship between psychology and magic is examined.The socio-political and economic structures of the society in which we live have the greatest influence on mental health, as on many other matters. Therefore, the individuation of focus in psychology on personal relationships, happiness, and sexuality can significantly miss the point. We need to develop political and social structures that 'take care' of people, to enable them to have meaningful 'public' lives. In that way feelings of self-worth may be fostered, with individuals being less likely to yield to anxiety and distress. Such an environment, further, is more likely to be conducive to successful 'private' relationships.The unfettered market, allowing some to pursue their interests at the expense of others, it is suggested, is not the mechanism best suited to promote self-worth and minimise anxiety and distress. A wide range of social, political and philosophical commentators are drawn upon, making this a work of scholarship, as well as of contemporary analysis.
Karnac Books; Read online
Title: Taking Care
Author: David Smail

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