Challenging Freud's assumption that an individual first develops intrapsychically and is only later confronted with the demands of external reality, Carolyn Saari posits that human beings initially construct a picture of their immediate environment and then construct their identities within that environment. The Environment is an argument in three parts. Part 1 discusses psychoanalytic and developmental theory, showing that while such theory has assumed the existence of an environment, it has taken for granted and therefore left unexamined its role in human development. Michel Foucault's theory of social control provides the framework for Part 2, which examines psychotherapy's capacity either to liberate or to repress the client. Part 3 relates the practical benefits and broader implications of an inclusion of environmental considerations in the practice of psychotherapy.
"Consistent with the paradigmatic emphases, dialogue and narrative are seen as crucial to this process. This material resonates so loudly and validates my own developing views of what great clinical practice is about." — Kia J. Bentley, Clinical Social Work Journal
"Beginning with an articulate account of the historical and intellectual influences that spawned the creation of psychotherapy as a treatment for psychosocial malaise, Saari presents the inherent conundrum that has plagued the psychotherapeutic enterprise since its inception: Is it a venue for human transformation or an agent of social conformity." — RoseMarie Perez Foster, Director, Glass Center for Mental Health and Practice Research
"An extremely valuable exploration of a vital interface that has been insufficiently appreciated by psychoanalytic writers. The Environment is an important and clarifying contribution that is both scholarly and clinically relevant." — Paul L. Wachtel, City College and the CUNY Graduate Center
"Saari argues that, notwithstanding postmodernism’s dramatic effect on psychoanalytic theory, there continues an inadequate attention to the environment, to external reality. In her thoughtful review of the literature, she reminds us of some analysts, such as Erikson, who called attention to the surround years ago. But Saari does more, introducing us to writers from other fields whose work has great relevance for us clinicians: some philosophers, and others who study neurological potentials. Teachers will draw on this impressive book and will love how this author offers clinical examples that illustrate her theories about the importance of the environment, and they will themselves enjoy playing with them." — Jean Sanville, clinical social work analyst
Part 1 Theory
1. The Environment in Emotional Experience
2. The Development of Meaning
3. Culture and Social Control
Part 2 Domination or Liberation?
4. Inner Life and the Possibility of Freedom
5. Person and Environment Interactions
6. Culture, Sexuality, and Impingement
Part 3 Implications for Practice
7. Concordance: The Therapeutic Culture
8. The Importance of Relationships
9. Symbolization: Connections Between Internal and External Worlds
About the Author:
Carolyn Saari is a professor of social work at Loyola University of Chicago. She is the author of Clinical Social Work Treatment: How Does It Work? and The Creation of Meaning in Clinical Social Work and editor of the Clinical Social Work Journal.