1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures

    488 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    488 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge International Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures explores central lines of enquiry and seminal scholarship on therapeutic cultures, popular psychology, and the happiness industry. Bringing together studies of therapeutic cultures from sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, politics, law, history, social work, cultural studies, development studies, and American Indian studies, it adopts a consciously global focus, combining studies of the psychologisation of social life from across the world. Thematically organised, it offers historical accounts of the growing prominence of therapeutic discourses and practices in everyday life, before moving to consider the construction of self-identity in the context of the diffusion of therapeutic discourses in connection with the global spread of capitalism. With attention to the ways in which emotional language has brought new problematisations of the dichotomy between the normal and the pathological, as well as significant transformations of key institutions, such as work, family, education, and religion, it examines emergent trends in therapeutic culture and explores the manner in which the advent of new therapeutic technologies, the political interest in happiness, and the radical privatisation and financialisation of social life converge to remake self-identities and modes of everyday experience. Finally, the volume features the work of scholars who have foregrounded the historical and contemporary implication of psychotherapeutic practices in processes of globalisation and colonial and postcolonial modes of social organisation. Presenting agenda-setting research to encourage interdisciplinary and international dialogue and foster the development of a distinctive new field of social research, The Routledge International Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in the advance of therapeutic discourses and practices in an increasingly psychologised society.

    Part 1: Introduction

    General Introduction

    Daniel Nehring, Ole Jacob Madsen, Edgar Cabanas, China Mills and Dylan Kerrigan

    1. Therapeutic Cultures: Historical Perspectives

    Ole Jacob Madsen

    2. Charting the Emergence of the Self as a Social Representation from Early Modernity to 20th Century: A Constructionist Approach

    Patricia Neville

    3. Self-Help, Therapeutic Industries, and Neoliberalism

    Heidi Rimke

    Part 2: Therapeutic Discourses

    Editors’ Introduction

    Edgar Cabanas

    4. Happiness Imperialism

    Anat Noa Fanti

    5. Spirituality and Happiness from New Thought to Positive Psychology

    Edgar Cabanas and José Carlos Sánchez

    6. Resilience: The Failure of Success

    Eva Illouz

    7. Stigmas Old and New: The Changing Nature of Stigma in the Twenty-first Century

    Ken McLaughlin

    8. ADHD as a Symptom of the Times: Social Distress and its Naturalization

    Marino Pérez

    9. Mindfulness as a Self-help Fad: The Mindfulness Industry, Popular Psychological Knowledge and the Sociological Imagination

    Daniel Nehring and Ashley Frawley

    Part 3: Therapeutic Experiences

    Editors’ Introduction

    Ole Jacob Madsen

    10. Self-esteem, Happiness and the Therapeutic Fad Cycle

    Ashley Frawley

    11. The Cultivation of Subjectivity of Young People in Youth Support Systems

    Brunila, K., Honkasilta, J., Ikävalko, E. et al.

    12. Mental Health, Subjectivity and Subjective Development: The Multiple Angles of Mental Health Care

    Daniel Magalhães Goulart and Fernando González Rey

    13. Embodied Therapeutic Culture

    Michal Pagis

    14. Unlearning Privilege: The Therepeutic Ethos and the Battle Within the White Self

    Sam Binkley

    15. Therapeutic Culture and Relational Wellbeing

    Sarah White

    Part 4: Therapeutic Practices

    Editors’ Introduction

    China Mills

    16. Globalizing Personality: A View from China

    Amir Hampel

    17. Digital Therapeutic Culture

    Jan de Vos

    18. Counselling and Confucianism in China

    Jie Yang

    19. Between Freud and Umbanda: Therapeutic Constellations in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Mariano Ben Plotkin and Nicoás Viotti

    20. Faith Healing: Haunted Discourses of Distress in India

    Sabah Siddiqui

    21. Masculine Performers and Good Girls: Negotiating Gender Norms in Therapeutic Engagements

    Suvi Salmenniemi and Laura Kemppainen

    Part 5: Therapeutic Technologies and Therapeutic Institutions

    Editors’ Introduction

    Dylan Kerrigan

    22. Therapeutic Education? Negotiating 'Evidence' and 'Experience' as part of the Professionalization of Psychiatry Students in India

    Clement Bayetti

    23. The Crisis of Psychotherapy and the Road to a Post-Therapeutic Future

    Manfred Wiesner, Eugene Epstein and Lothar Duda

    24. India’s Digital Therapeutic Assemblage: Smartphone Apps, Stress, and Mental Health

    Eva Hilberg and China Mills

    25. The Nordic Therapeutic Welfare State and its Resilient Citizens

    Hanna Ylöstalo and Kristiina Brunila

    26. Victim and Therapeutic Cultures and the Contentious Climate of Universities

    Jeff Sugarman

    27. Undead Psyche: Post-colonial Art as Therapeutic Paradox in the Caribbean

    Marsha Pearce

    28. Psychology Estranged: Mind, Culture and Capitalism

    Ron Roberts

    Part 6: Therapeutic Politics

    Editors’ Introduction

    Daniel Nehring

    29. Neo-liberal Genre, not so Liberal Consumption: When a Japanese ‘Morning Person’ Book Crossed the South Korean Border

    Choon Key Chekar

    30. Where Has All the Context Gone? Feminism within Therapeutic Culture

    Dana Becker

    31. Trauma’s Empty Promise: Indigenous Death, Economics, and Resurgence

    Dian Million

    32. Recognising the Political in the Therapeutic: Trauma Talk and Public Inquiries  

    Katie Wright

    33. Ontological Coaching and the Post-Therapeutic turn in Neoliberal Governmentality

    Rodrigo de la Fabián and Mauricio Sepúlveda

    34. Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Trinidad and Tobago: Legitimacy, Inclusion and the Neo-colonialism of Procedural Justice

    Dylan Kerrigan


    Daniel Nehring is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Swansea University, UK. His research concerns the personal consequences of globalisation and the rapid mobilisation of social life in the early 21st century. He is the co-author of Transnational Popular Psychology and the Global Self-Help Industry and Therapeutic Worlds. He is also the convenor of the international academic network ‘Popular Psychology, Self-Help Culture and the Happiness Industry’.

    Ole Jacob Madsen is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is the author of The Therapeutic Turn: How Psychology Altered Western Culture, Optimizing the Self: Social Representations of Self-Help and The Psychologization of Society: On the Unfolding of the Therapeutic in Norway.

    Edgar Cabanas is Research Fellow at Universidad Camilo José Cela, Spain. He is the co-author of Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Industry and Science of Happiness Control our Lives, which has been translated into over 10 languages, as well as the author of several scientific papers and book chapters.

    China Mills is Lecturer in Critical Education Psychology at the University of Sheffield, UK and the author of Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World.

    Dylan Kerrigan is Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Leicester, UK, and a Visiting Lecturer with the University of the West Indies. He is co-author of Therapeutic Worlds: Popular Psychology and the Socio-Cultural Organisation of Intimate Life.


    "This amazing panoptic survey and critique won’t make you very happy, but it will show you what you are being inducted into by those who use happiness or wellbeing as touchstones for how to live your life. The Handbook is threaded together by a variety of conceptual frameworks, key among them an urgent sense that we need to grasp what is being done to us when we are encouraged and then coerced at a depth of emotional engagement that makes it difficult to disentangle ourselves from the contradictory inconsistent apparatuses of personal improvement. This book uncovers the variety of ways in which we are adapted to unbearable circumstances, and it shows us that there are alternatives to therapeutic consolation; this is an invaluable resource for everyone who thinks critically about how are selves are locked into therapeutic theory and practice, that which always holds out the false promise to help us escape it. Now, with this book as your guide, you can take your distance, even, perhaps, do something better."

    Ian Parker, Emeritus Professor of Management, University of Leicester, UK

    "This imaginative and fascinating handbook is a major turning point in understanding how therapeutic ideas, assumptions and practices have spread through private and public life, politics and popular culture around the world. Fifty four years after Philip Rieff inaugurated interest in the American ‘triumph of the therapeutic’, this book’s diverse disciplinary perspectives shine new light on the myriad ways in which therapeutic culture responds to people’s problems whilst simultaneously creating new forms of oppression and commercial exploitation."

    Kathryn Ecclestone, co-author of The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education