We live in troubled times: COVID-19, police racism, and climate change are just some of the challenges we are currently facing. Never has there been such a need for a new politic - nor such an opportunity for one.
To create a world in which people thrive, we need to know what thriving is. Over the past century, psychotherapy - and its parent discipline, psychology - has built up a rich, vibrant, and highly practical understanding of human wellbeing and distress. This book shows why we need, and can create, a progressive politics that is profoundly informed by insights from the psychotherapeutic and psychological domain, moving us from a politics of blame to a politics of understanding.
In this vision of the world -- surrounded by a culture of radical acceptance - all individuals can live fulfilling lives. We need progressive political forces to develop greater understandings of psychological needs and processes; and to work with others in a spirit of collaboration, dialogue and respect.
“Have you ever wondered what psychology can do to make a positive contribution to building a sustainable and more just society? Cooper offers a comprehensive framework for how to use psychotherapeutic principles to revitalise progressive political practice.” John McLeod, Abertay University
"Moves from broad theoretical concerns to perspectives on productive and fulfilling living in the present social system. But it also measures the present by way of a humanist and anticapitalist standard that allows us to grasp – and think about – better outcomes for ourselves and our communities.” Kevin Anderson, University of California, Santa Barbara
“A very powerful case for integrating the insights of humanistic psychology into activism. Being more honest, accepting and compassionate, as well as showing our vulnerability, would undoubtedly get us a lot further“. Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men’s Health
“Offers practical methods from psychology to address our biggest problems: from conflict in our intimate relationships, to antagonism across social institutions and international geopolitics. Opens up compelling and nuanced understandings of both the motives and needs of diverse human populations that would undoubtedly strengthen progressive politics.” Christabel Harley , Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London
Mick Cooper is Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a chartered psychologist. Mick is best known for his writing in the psychological therapies field. He is author/co-author of ten books, and co-editor of a further eight. Mick has led international research on counselling for children and young people, goals in therapy, and psychotherapy preferences. He is a leading figure in the humanistic psychology field, receiving the 2014 Mid-Career Award from Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. Mick is the father of four children and lives in Brighton.
1. Introduction: Progressive Politics Needs Therapy
2. A Psychology-Informed Progressivism V1.0: Socialist Humanism
3. Understanding People: A Contemporary Framework
4. Wellbeing and Distress: A Directional Account
5. Conflict and Cooperation, Inside and out
6. Common Principles of Positive Change
7. Making It Happen: Concrete Strategies for a Psychology-Informed Progressivism
8. The Further Future: Envisioning a Progressive Utopia
9. A Day in Utopia
10. In Conclusion