From individual grief to a shared history of the Bosnian war

Voice, audience, and the political in psychotherapeutic practices with refugees

in Focaal

This article explores the relationship between psychotherapeutic practices with people with refugee backgrounds and “the political”. The relationship between voice and audience in psychotherapeutic practices is explored; through such an analysis the relationship between psychotherapy, history, and the political is considered. The theoretical questions are approached through a case study, a Bosnian man with refugee background living in Finland and attending psychotherapy there who invited the anthropologist to attend his therapy sessions. The analysis of the single case is situated within long-term ethnographic research on the Bosnian diaspora. Situating the personal in historical and moral plots, as well as seeking larger audiences beyond the confines of the therapeutic relationship, is seen as crucial in producing therapeutic effects. Simultaneously, the case enables a theoretical discussion about the relationships between voice, audience, and the political.

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology