From Freud and psychoanalysis, critical therapy uses important techniques such as: transference, dream analysis, and analyzing the resistances to understand family relationships and inter-generational patterns and feelings. From liberation psychology and critical pedagogy, critical therapy brings a commitment to social justice and an analysis of power relations in therapy, life, and society as refracted, for example, through categories of race, gender, class, and religion.
In critical therapy, the relationship between the therapist and the patient is one of partnership and collaboration, with a deep analysis of power. Power is at the core of critical therapy, from both an interpersonal perspective and in terms societal structures. Both therapist and patient analyze the world not only through the patient’s personal conflicts and feelings, but together, they also look at the patient’s position within society, her or his status in relation to power. They also question and analyze the therapist’s relation to power and position within society and how this affects and informs the therapeutic relationship.
The goal of critical therapy is to open new possibilities for action, new self-understanding; to reflect emotionally, socio-economically and politically, to act and to reflect again.
Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair. – Sigmund Freud
The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. – Jane Addams
The challenge is to construct a new person in a new society. – Ignacio Martín-Baró
Language is never neutral… Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it. – Paulo Freire
Desired values such as social justice, self-determination and participation, caring and compassion, health and human diversity must be advanced in a balanced way… Our ultimate goal is to respect and enhance both individuality and diversity within a mutually supportive just and equal society. – Dennis Fox