Therapeutic reflections: In Treatment and the politics of psychoanalytic cultural criticism

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In recent years, critics working with psychoanalysis have increasingly turned their attention to the relationship between therapy and culture. Following Lacan and Foucault, many critics are wary of the way in which the idea of therapy has become a tool of surveillance and control, whilst those influenced by the object relations tradition concern themselves with the therapeutic effect that might be gleaned from cultural experience. Through a close reading of the HBO series In Treatment, this article explores the contours of this debate in order to theorise what psychoanalysis might offer to contemporary cultural studies. The article argues, ultimately, for a perspective informed by both Lacanian and object relations psychoanalysis that can account for the therapeutic value of cultural experience whilst concurrently offering a critical analysis of the ways in which representation is implicated in relations of power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-279
Number of pages18
JournalPsychoanalysis, Culture and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Kellond, J. Psychoanal Cult Soc (2017) 22: 262. is available online at:


  • Psychoanalysis
  • Cultural studies
  • object relations


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