My intention is twofold; to challenge the thinking of existing therapists from traditional modalities, and secondly, invite a conversation about what it means to become a Nietzschean Psychotherapist.
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.Friedrich Nietzsche
To ‘be’ a Nietzschean Psychotherapist is a contradiction. For Nietzsche there is no thing-in-itself: there is no being there is only becoming. To become Nietzschean is in a sense to not know what you are becoming; this is what Nietzsche calls the ‘innocence of becoming’.
I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. the will to a system is a lack of integrity.Friedrich Nietzsche
Becoming Nietzschean does not require affiliation, observance or commitment to a particular creed. It is neither doctrinaire nor dogmatic, and it would not entail values being turned into a system.
One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing more but a pupilFriedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche died in 1900, he said he was ‘born posthumously’; his very meagre book sales during his lifetime reflect this. He rightly intuited that his first students were not yet born: he was born before his time. Nietzsche was indeed accurate insofar as the current interest in his work is immense and continues to grow. Nietzsche described himself as a psychologist ahead of being a philosopher.
There are a great many books written about Nietzsche’s philosophy and fewer about his psychology. The vast majority of these are academic; there is very little written about the application of his psychology.
I recently wrote a chapter called Learn to Forget: a Nietzschean Revaluation of Forgetting in Psychotherapy (see the menu) It is an example of Nietzschean Psychotherapy coming out of my practice; it gives an extended conversation I had with someone I work with demonstrating Nietzsche’s ‘active forgetting’. I describe the process I undertook which allowed me to forget, and the therapeutic value of such an intervention for both of us. The chapter offers a clinical example of forgetting as an intervention. It is not something I did to myself, or the other person; it is part of the process of becoming.
As a qualified teacher I’ve been training therapists for nearly twenty years, and so I’m very interested in whether a Nietzschean Psychotherapy training is possible and what it might entail. It surely is a process of becoming, rather than any systematic form of education which would make any conventional training format unlikely. The challenge would be to rethink, or even reinvent therapy itself, based on the process of reading, digesting and manifesting Nietzsche’s ideas. If Nietzsche was right about this being the time when his students would arrive then the question is, ‘Do you want to become one of them?’ Those of us who describe ourselves as Nietzschean have had to create ourselves; it is an experiential self-reflexivity where the self is ultimately unimportant. If there are to be physicians of the soul à la Nietzsche then these questions are immediate and pressing.