The Psychology of Possibilities
The East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy is an international research, education and training center dedicated to creating and supporting radically humanistic practices and understandings of being human. To us, this means freeing psychology from its scientific pretenses and transforming it into a cultural activity and study. It was founded by Dr. Fred Newman and Dr. Lois Holzman.
As psychology’s failures become more glaring, its authority — its institutional claim to expertise on human beings and how we tick (and how to “fix” us when things go wrong) — is being seriously questioned both inside and outside the discipline. Thousands of practitioners and scholars worldwide object to institutionalized psychology’s basic premises: (1) that the individual is the fundamental unit of human psychological life; (2) that behavior is what’s important to study and understand about human beings; (3) that diagnosis, explanation and interpretation are ways to understand; and (4) that prediction is both possible and desirable. Millions of ordinary people want growth and hope — not tests, diagnoses, identities and labels.
New psychologies are needed: Psychologies of possibility , not prediction. Psychologies concerned not merely with what is but with what is becoming. Psychologies created not by a few experts, but re-created in many places and many times over with the participation of ordinary people. Psychologies that do not tell us who we are, but instead help us actively create our lives in new ways. Psychologies that create community — continuously. As progressives we have come to believe that if people address the issue of human development — in direct and practical ways– we might indeed change the world.
At the Institute, we have created our own “non-psychological” psychology — a cultural-performatory methodology known as social therapy. The Institute’s discoveries about learning, developing feed back continuously into the practice of social therapy. They are the backbone of the Institute’s training of therapists, social workers, psychologists, educators, doctors, nurses, social entrepreneurs, business and organizational leaders. They inform the consultation and project development we provide to programs and organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
For more information please read The East Side Institute: Building Bridges, and A Peaceful Approach to Profound Social Development and Cultural Change.