Critiques and Re-Orientation of Underlying Paradigms in Depth Psychologies:
From Individualism and Coloniality to Interdependence and Liberation

Caracol en la Resistentencia y Rebeldía por la Humanidad, Oventik, MX

Caracol en la Resistentencia y Rebeldía por la Humanidad, Oventik, MX

As my immersion in (post)colonial studies deepened, I began to better understand the impact of colonial ideologies on depth psychologies and developmental psychology. The works of Memmi and Fanon were helpful to me in illustrating both the effects of coloniality on depth psychological theorizing and practice, as well as the continuing usefulness of psychoanalytic ideas, such as the unconscious, complexes, internalization, and identification. During this period (1999-2007), I was very fortunate to be teaching (at Pacifica Graduate Institute) and writing with Helene Shulman Lorenz, a social activist and Jungian analyst. Our work, Toward Psychologies of Liberation (2008), proceeds from an interdependent model of human development, rather than an individualistic one. Individual, familial, community, intercommunity, and ecological well-being are viewed as interconnected and mutually dependent. In this work we follow the call of Ignacio Martín-Baró to create liberation psychology, to place psychology in the service of the majorities for peacebuilding, social justice, and sustainability. As we looked at related efforts around the world, we decided to place this call into the plural (“psychologies of liberation”), honoring the distinctive inflections and needs of particular communities in diverse locations. We attempted to begin to outline the kinds of psychological work that are needed as transnational globalization continues to undermine local communities across the globe.

Watkins, M. (1992). From individualism to interdependence: Changing paradigms in psychotherapy. Psychological Perspectives, 27, 52–69.

Watkins, M. (1997). The practice of liberation, Pacifica Newsletter.

Watkins, M. (2000). Seeding liberation: A dialogue between depth psychology and liberation psychology. In D. Slattery & L. Corbett (Eds), Depth psychology: Meditations in the field (pp. 204-225). Einsiedeln, SW: Daimon Verlag.

Watkins, M. (2000). Depth psychology and the liberation of being. In R. Brooke (Ed.), Pathways into the Jungian world (pp. 217-233). London: Routledge.

Lorenz, H. & Watkins, M. (2001). Silenced knowings, forgotten springs: Paths to healing in the wake of colonialism. Radical Psychology: A Journal of Psychology, Politics, and Radicalism,2,2 (online journal).

Also see illustrated online version at http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins2A.html .

Lorenz, H. & Watkins, M. (2002). Depth psychology and colonialism: Individuation, Seeing-through, and liberation. In D. Slattery & L. Corbett (Eds), Psychology at the threshold . Carpinteria, CA: Pacifica Graduate Institute Publications. Illustrated online version http://www.mythinglinks.org/LorenzWatkins.html

Watkins, M. (2002). Waking up: Depth psychology and terrorism, Psychological Perspectives, 44, 14-24.

Lorenz, H. & Watkins, M. (2003). Depth psychology and colonialism: Individuation, seeing-through, and liberation: Quadrant, 33, 11–32.

Watkins, M. (2006, unpublished). Sketches for the “recovery of night vision”: Re-Orienting depth psychology to engage the inconvenient truths of the 21st century. (unpublished)

Watkins, M. (2007). Psyches and cities of hospitality in an era of forced migration: The shadows of slavery and conquest on the “immigration” debate. Spring 78, 177-201.



Watkins, M. & Shulman, H. (2008). Table of Contents and Introduction. Toward psychologies of liberation. New York/London: Palgrave MacMillan. (Paperback edition, 2010)

Watkins, M. (2013). Hillman and Freire: Intellectual accompaniment by two fathers. (Unpublished paper delivered at the Tribute to James Hillman, University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil, March 17, 2013.)

Watkins, M. (2014). Hillman e Freire: Acompanhamento Intelectual por dois Pais. S. Labate (Trans.). Cuadernos Junguianos.




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