Intention

My intention is to start a conversation about Nietzschean Psychotherapy. This site offers a reflection of my outlook, its intention is twofold; to challenge the thinking of existing therapists from more traditional modalities, and secondly I want to invite a conversation about what it means to be 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 always a becoming ‘something’ else. I do not know what I am becoming; this is what Nietzsche calls the ‘innocence of becoming’. A Nietzschean Psychotherapist would be someone who has read and digested a significant amount of his work and then manifest it creatively in themselves and their life (there is no distinction between life and work) 

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, religion or a God.

One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing more but a pupil

Friedrich 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, and that they’d take a further hundred or so years to appear. Nietzsche was indeed accurate insofar as the current interest in his work is immense and perhaps stronger than it has ever been. Nietzsche described himself as a psychologist ahead of being a philosopher; hence my suggestion that now is the time for Nietzschean psychotherapy to emerge.

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’ve not yet read anything written from within the consulting room by someone identifying themselves as a Nietzschean Psychotherapist.

I recently wrote a chapter called Learn to Forget: a Nietzschean Revaluation of Forgetting in Psychotherapy, for an upcoming book (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’ as an intervention. 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 my becoming. A Nietzschean intervention isn’t something that can be done as such; Nietzsche does away with any distinction between “doing” and “doer”. Without this false dichotomy the person I was working with had not subjected themselves to being ‘done to’; rather they had chosen to enter into a conversation with a psychotherapist who happens to be Nietzschean..

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 would surely be 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.