In the early sixties, Marshall McLuhan proclaimed that ‘ours is the century of the psychiatrist’s couch’. Suspended between science, medicine, religion, art and philosophy, the advent of modern psychotherapies represents one of the distinctive features of twentieth century Western societies. Yet their historical study lags behind their societal impact. This talk explores how this study may help illumine the way in which these practices have and continue to shape contemporary notions of psychological disorder, well-being and identity itself.
Sonu Shamdasani is Philemon Professor of Jung History and directs the UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines. In 2009-10, he was the acting director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. Recent publications include (ed. and tr.), C. G. Jung, The Red Book: Liber Novus (2009), C. G. Jung: A Biography in Books (2012) and (with Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen), The Freud Files: An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis (2012).