Online IOP for College Students and Emerging Adults in MA in Network with Carelon

Educational Events

Edge of Catastrophe: Erich Fromm’s Fight Against Fascism and Racism

January 24, 2025 at 6:30 PM to January 25, 2025 at 8:00 PM Eastern

FREE / 1.5 CE/CME Credits

Dr. Roger Frie asks: What does it mean to be both a social critic and a practicing psychotherapist? In this talk he draws on the early work of Erich Fromm to answer this and other questions.
2024-25 Friday Night Guest Lecture Series
What does it mean to be both a social critic and a practicing psychotherapist? In view of the social and political crises we face, this is surely one of our profession’s most pressing challenges. This talk will draw on the early work of Erich Fromm, one of the twentieth century’s best known public intellectuals and least understood psychoanalysts. Fromm escaped Nazi Germany and was one of very few psychoanalysts to speak publicly about the dangers of fascism. As Director of Social Psychology and Psychoanalysis at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, he developed a view of the human psyche as fundamentally social and political in nature. Shortly before the United States declared war on Nazi Germany, Fromm published Escape From Freedom, which sought to explain why so many Germans enthusiastically supported Hitler. What has remained virtually unknown is that when Fromm’s was openly arguing against fascism, he was simultaneously engaged in a campaign to save family members and colleagues who remained behind in Nazi Germany. Drawing on unpublished Holocaust correspondence, this talk will show how the traumas and tragedies in Fromm’s family shaped his public stance against racism and destructiveness. For Fromm, the personal was always political, and time was short. In an era when psychoanalysts sought to keep the individual psyche strictly separate from social and political concerns, Fromm was ostracized for his progressive stance. Given the growth of fascism today, what can we learn from Fromm’s sense of urgency? How might Fromm’s ethical stance apply to our current situation and to our work as practitioners?