From the therapeutic to the post-therapeutic: The resilient subject, its social imaginary, and its practices in the shadow of 9/11

José Brunner, Galia Plotkin Amrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the aftermath of 9/11, the concept of psychological resilience, which refers to the ability to “bounce back” after adversity, became prominent across the American mental health community. Resilience thinking made its way quickly into the U.S. military, where it sparked the most expensive psychological intervention program in history. This article interweaves four strands of explanation—political, scientific, technological, and cultural—to account for the success of resilience thinking in the U.S. military and beyond. It shows that theories and practices of psychological resilience are not as novel as their proponents make them out to be. However, it also details how the ideal of a post-therapeutic, resilient subject became the cornerstone of a new, post-9/11 social imaginary. This article concludes that the contemporary ascendancy of psychological resilience indicates that rather than allying itself with the therapeutic as it had done previously, post-9/11 neoliberalism has moved toward the post-therapeutic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-239
Number of pages21
JournalTheory and Psychology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Michel Foucault
  • positive psychology
  • post-therapeutic
  • resilience training

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