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Nietzsche and Humanistic Psychotherapies

A book review: 'Nietzsche and Psychotherapy' by Manu Bazzano

· Psychotherapy

Some comments and thought about: Bazzano, M. (2019) Nietzsche and Psychotherapy, Oxon: Routledge.

This book is, in my opinion, necessary for the development of a psychotherapy which breaks away from the manualized interventions of the clinical psychologists. Bazzano analyses different crucial points of the Nietzschean work. He advocates, successfully in my opinion, the need for a new way to approach psychotherapy.

Bazzano highlights how the believe that there is a ‘formative tendency’ within us is nothing but an attempt to ‘resuscitate god’. This formative tendency is a product of Hegel and Darwin and is seen here as a substitute for god. This appears in the humanistic therapies as transcendental narratives (for example the ‘self-actualising tendency’ in Rogers and the collective unconscious in Jung).

The author also introduced the concept of ‘the last human’ (again from Nietzsche). The last human is the modern person who is only interested in happiness. It follows that they are only attracted to a quick-fix and ‘evidence-based therapies’, as opposed to experimentations and play. Bazzano shows how the death of God, proclaimed by Nietzsche, implies the disintegration of any value and law. He postulates that the believe in these values would be an alternative to this monotheism we inherited from Christianity. Furthermore the author insists we should break away from the polarisation: religion VS secularisation. On one hand, denying the existence of god is far too easy and not controversial nowadays; on the other hand secularism is often idolised. The point made here is that it would be too tempting to create a new model, but the death of god means that everything perishes (even a new model!). In regards to psychotherapy, the implication is that the faith in the client’s self-actualising tendency (or in whatever ‘formative tendency’) is to be left out of the picture.
The forces within us do not have a precise trajectory, not even the Darwinian self-development. Bazzano continues by insisting on the need to develop a post-Darwinian view on psychotherapy (this then links to the Nietzschean concept of Übermensch).

 

This book is, in my opinion, a great platform not only to develop a Nietzsche-inspired psychotherapy, but also to shake-up the placid and stagnant word of humanistic psychotherapies.

The author also introduced the concept of ‘the last human’ (again from Nietzsche). The last human is the modern person who is only interested in happiness. It follows that they are only attracted to a quick-fix and ‘evidence-based therapies’, as opposed to experimentations and play. Bazzano shows how the death of God, proclaimed by Nietzsche, implies the disintegration of any value and law. He postulates that the believe in these values would be an alternative to this monotheism we inherited from Christianity. Furthermore the author insists we should break away from the polarisation: religion VS secularisation. On one hand, denying the existence of god is far too easy and not controversial nowadays; on the other hand secularism is often idolised. The point made here is that it would be too tempting to create a new model, but the death of god means that everything perishes (even a new model!). In regards to psychotherapy, the implication is that the faith in the client’s self-actualising tendency (or in whatever ‘formative tendency’) is to be left out of the picture.
The forces within us do not have a precise trajectory, not even the Darwinian self-development. Bazzano continues by insisting on the need to develop a post-Darwinian view on psychotherapy (this then links to the Nietzschean concept of Übermensch).

This book is, in my opinion, a great platform not only to develop a Nietzsche-inspired psychotherapy, but also to shake-up the placid and stagnant word of humanistic psychotherapies.

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