Anthropology and psychotherapy

Aleksandar Boskovic (University of Belgrade)
Salma Siddique (University of Aberdeen)
Inga-Britt Krause (Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust)
Room 1
Start time:
14 April, 2015 at 11:15
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel will explore the current relationship between anthropology and psychotherapy, as anthropologists become frequently involved in working with NGOs, or provide assistance to victims of abuse, which brings the issue of dealing with 'the other' a whole new perspective.

Long abstract:

Anthropology and psychotherapy share a common history, going back to W. H. R. Rivers´ work at Cambridge more than a century ago. Both combine theoretical issues with practice. Psychoanalysis (as a form of psychotherapeutic practice) and social and cultural anthropology both become established in the modernizing world of the early 20th century. Their founders had an intention to 'scientifically' explain societies and their cultures, and they also have a history of a very productive (even if sometimes tense) relationship. Scholars like Cora DuBois, Geza Róheim, George Devereux, Melford Spiro and Henrietta Moore were able to successfully explore the points of convergence and different challenges offered by the intersection of these disciplines, creating a unique, almost holistic perspective. The panel will explore the relationship between anthropology and psychotherapy (including psychoanalysis), as anthropologists in recent years increasingly become involved in working with NGOs, helping more vulnerable categories of people, like refugees or immigrants, or providing assistance to victims of sexual abuse or torture. In some areas (like East Africa), they are also frequently asked to provide advice on dealing with post-conflict situations and their consequences. This makes the role of anthropologists as responsible social actors even more important. All of this brings the issue of dealing with 'the other' a whole new perspective, as it makes anthropological practice even more important, as an important tool of helping people to make sense of the rapidly globalizing world, as well as of their own place in it.