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VOLUME 5 (2003), ISSUE 10 (WINTER)






In this chapter, the authors argue that traditional psychotherapy in its many forms has ignored the societal dimensions of human problems, to the detriment of  community bonds. They trace the reasons for the split between the interior sphere of life and the community sphere, show how this split plays out in the therapy office, describe ways to bring a community perspective into therapy, and summarize the Families and Democracy Project which involves psychotherapists as citizens working with other citizens on problems that affect individuals and their communities.


Psychotherapy - Individualism - Community 


William J. DOHERTY, Ph.D., is professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota, USA.

He has authored or edited eight professional books on family studies and family therapy, numerous scholarly articles in variety of journals, and four books for the lay public. He is a past President of the National Council on Family Relations, which is the oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization in North America. In 1992, he received the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

His book Soul Searching: Why Psychotherapy Must Promote Moral Responsibility (Basic Books) is a critique of contemporary psychotherapy’s emphasis on individual self-interest and a demonstration of a communitarian approach to psychological healing.  He has an active research program in the transition to fatherhood, and he is pioneering community work with families under the umbrella of the "Families and Democracy Project".

Patrick G. HUNOUT, Ph.D., is a senior researcher whose aim is to improve our knowledge of the transformations of the economically advanced countries, helping thus shore up the moral, social and economic context. His work explores four main hypotheses: the strategies of the upper classes are a major explanatory factor of the current transformations of society; these strategies bear simultaneously on three main fields: economic, ethnic, and interpersonal; the developmental trends are similar in all industrialized countries whatever their original culture; these trends have a destructive effect on the social link in all societies.

He ran international and cross-cultural research projects, and led international or cross-cultural comparisons in the fields of Capital-Labor Relations and Monetary Policies, Migrations and Interethnic Relationships, and Personal Relationships. As examples, he worked on job evaluation (1987-1992), national cultural management styles (1997), European integration and monetary policy (1999), immigration policies to France and Germany (1999-2000-2002), and the erosion of the social link in the economically advanced countries (2000-2004).

He is the President and the Founder of The International Scope® Review, and the President and the Founder of The Social Capital Foundation, the aim of which is to help restore, revitalize and strengthen the social link in Europe.


This contribution is a chapter of the book edited by Patrick HUNOUT, The Erosion of the Social Link in the Economically Advanced Countries.


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