Embrace of the Earth 2016

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Audio File

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In therapeutic practice, Freud came to recognize the futility of seeking to treat a patient simply by interpreting their unconscious conflicts. He also stressed that focusing on the notion of "cure" is detrimental to the course of treatment. Insights of this kind might be employed to challenge assumptions regarding the environmental crisis. While the concerns of environmentalism may seem distant from those of analytic practice, both domains are often significantly preoccupied with the question of what is "natural". Examining various responses to the environmental crisis, it will be argued that solutions-focused thinking runs counter both to the underlying assumptions of much environmentalist literature, and to basic psychoanalytic insights concerning the nature of change. It will be suggested that the theme of adaptation is fundamentally opposed to a more substantive shift in consciousness.


Robin S. Brown, Ph.D, is a psychoanalytic clinician, and a member of adjunct faculty for the clinical psychology department at Teachers College, Columbia University. His scholarly work argues for the importance of a transpersonal approach to the psyche in seeking to promote non-reductive forms of therapy. Situated at the intersection of relational and Jungian thinking, his first book, Psychoanalysis Beyond the End of Metaphysics: Thinking Towards the Post-Relational, will be published by Routledge in 2016.