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Critical Therapy

Power and Liberation in Psychotherapy

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Not all revolutions begin in the street. Sometimes, they start in the psychotherapy office, on the couch.

Psychotherapy needs a revolution. Historically, its goal has been to accommodate individuals to oppressive social systems. In this revealing and timely book, practicing psychotherapist, Silvia Dutchevici, provides a long-overdue social-justice model for therapy aiming toward liberation and personal agency. In Critical Therapy: Power and Liberation in Psychotherapy, patients and therapists are invited to look closely at ways power works in relationships. Drawing on liberation psychology scholarship and a decade of practice, Dutchevici examines how the therapeutic relationship itself is shaped by issues—such as money, race, class, and gender—often considered taboo.

In offering more than comfort and insight, critical therapy supports patients as they awaken their own transformative power; create collaborative relationships, workspaces, and environments; and come to see themselves as agents of change in a still unfinished democracy.

Written in simple and concise language, Critical Therapy is a must-read for anyone who has had, is thinking of having, or is practicing psychotherapy.

Silvia-M-Dutchevici

Silvia M. Dutchevici

Healing, mental health, and wellness cannot be achieved independent of political realities. Personal and political transformations are always intertwined.

Critical therapy makes possible different kinds of relations to others, and those relations invite others to explore their own liberation and empowerment.

The Necessity of Critical Therapy in Practice

Traditionally, psychotherapists have been trained to take an apolitical, objective approach to therapy. This approach is naïve at best and harmful at worst, as it does not provide services that adequately treat patients holistically or account for the intersectionality of their identities.

  • Critical Therapists invite the political into the therapeutic discussion because we believe that the personal is political and the consulting room is a space where we can analyze how politics influences and affects mental health.
  • Critical Therapy engages patients in power analysis.
  • Critical Therapy sees the relationship between therapist and patient as one of partnership and collaboration.
  • Critical Therapists practice a politics of equity. Our sliding-scale model also provokes meaningful conversations between therapist and patient about the otherwise taboo topic of money and can foster a critical inquiry into one’s personal relationship to wealth.
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Praise for Critical Therapy

Dutchevici dives headlong into two controversial topics that mainstream therapists more often push aside than address: the centrality of love and the significance of money in the therapeutic relationship. This book will lead to many conversations that need to be had.

Dennis Fox, Ph.D

Emeritus Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Psychology, University of Illinois at Springfield Co-founder, Radical Psychology Network Co-editor, Critical Psychology: An Introduction

Critical Therapy is a clarion call for the therapy of our times: a just, integrative practice that refuses to treat patients outside the context of their political and social reality. This is the pathway to true individual and collective wellness. Crucial reading for therapists and patients alike.

V (formerly Eve Ensler)

Author of The Vagina Monologues and The Apology

Critical Therapy is a beautifully written book that is essential reading for clinicians working with a diverse population.

Carmen Inoa Vazquez, Ph.D., ABPP

Clinical Psychologist

As a liberation social worker, when I read the first chapter of Critical Therapy my heart leapt: This is the book we’ve been waiting for! Silvia crafts a clear map of how critical therapy honors the lived experience of those engaging in therapy, including the intersectional trauma of intergenerational violence and structural oppression.

Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, MSW

Anti-violence activist and educator

Critical Therapy is an accessible, important, must-read text for mental health professionals. It identifies the ways one can integrate a relational approach with critical consciousness in therapy and practice logistics.

Candice Nicole Hargons, PhD

Associate Professor University of Kentucky and Director, Center for Healing Racial Trauma

This is a beautifully written and inspiring book that includes socio-economic aspects of Critical Therapy, and makes connections between worker rights, economic equity and mental health.

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D

Professor at John Jay College City University of NY; Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice

This book lays out innovations in therapy that mirror respectful relations between human beings. Training therapists to help people grapple with how power, systems, and politics affect our mental health is going to change many lives.

Rinku Sen

Executive Director, Narrative Initiative, Author of Stir Up and Accidental American

Critical Therapy Institute (CTI) focuses on teaching, research and the application of critical therapy in advisory, consulting, and educational services.

Critical Therapy (CT) provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples, families and groups. With a deep commitment to liberation and empowerment, our focus is on transformation.

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