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Social therapy is an activity-theoretic practice developed outside of academia at the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy in New York. Its primary methodologists are cofounders of the East Side Institute, Fred Newman and Lois Holzman. As a psychotherapy, social therapy has been practiced since the mid-1970s across the US in social therapy centers, other clinics, schools, hospitals and social service organizations. More broadly, as a method for social-emotional growth and learning, social therapy has made an impact on education including outside-of-school, or supplemental, education and youth development; on training and practice in medicine and healthcare; and on organizational development and executive leadership. In evolution since the late 1970s, the social therapeutic approach to human development and learning is informed by a variety of intellectual traditions especially the works of Karl Marx, Lev Vygotsky and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Social Therapy as a Psychotherapy[edit | edit source]

Social therapy is primarily a group-oriented approach. Its practitioners relate to the group, rather than individuals, as the fundamental unit of development. Social therapy is also premised on an understanding of human beings as fundamentally performers. This is in contrast to more traditional forms of therapy that relate to and understand human beings through the lens of behavior. Social therapy shares family resemblances with narrative therapy and the postmodern therapies.

Social Therapy and Youth Development[edit | edit source]

Social therapy has influenced youth develepment, most notably supplemental education. The All Stars Project, founded by social therapist Fred Newman and developmental psychologist Lenora Fulani in 1981 produces a variety of programs inspired by social therapy. The All Stars Talent Show Network, an anti-violence program in cities around the United States and in Europe, engages young people in the production of talents shows. Social therapy has also influenced youth development in the arena of school mental health.

Articles about Social Therapy[edit | edit source]

  • La Cerva, C. (2005) Social therapy with special needs children and their families: Interview with Christine La Cerva
  • Holzman, L. (2005) Performing a life. G. Yancy and S. Hadley (Eds.), Narrative Identities: Psychologists Engaged in Self-Construction. London: Jessica Kingsley
  • Holzman, L. (2004) How Psychology Needs to Change Talk given at Vygotsky Today Symposium, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
  • Holzman , L. (2004) Psychological Investigations: An Introduction to Social Therapy A talk given at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of the UC system-wide Education for Sustainable Living Program.
  • Holzman, L. and Mendez, R. (Eds.), (2003). Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's guide to social therapy . New York: Brunner-Routledge
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. Power, authority and pointless activity (The developmental discourse of social therapy). T. Strong and D. Pare (Eds.), Furthering Talk: Advances in Discursive Therapies . Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Newman, F. (2003). Undecidable emotions (What is social therapy? And how is it revolutionary?) . Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 16: 215-232.
  • Holzman, L. (2002) Practicing a Psychology that Builds Community Keynote Address, APA Division 27/ Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) Conference, Boston.
  • LaCerva, C., Holzman, L., Braun, B., Pearl, D. and Steinberg, K. (2002). The performance of social therapy after September 11. Journal of Systemic Therapies , 21(3), 30-38.
  • Holzman , L., (2002) Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development: The Human Activity Zone. Lois. Presentation, Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association
  • Newman, F. and Holzman, L. (2001). La relevancia de Marx en la Terapeutica del siglo XXI. Revista Venezolana de Psicologia Clinica Comunitaria, No. 2, 47-55.
  • Newman, F. (2001). Therapists of the world, unite. New Therapist. No. 16.
  • Newman, F. (2001). Rehaciendo el pasado: Unas cuantas historias exitosas en materia de Terapia Social y sus moralejas. Revista Venezolana de Psicologia Clinica Comunitaria, No. 2, 57-70.
  • Holzman, L. (1996). Newman's practice of method completes Vygotsky. In I. Parker and R. Spears (Eds.), Psychology and society: radical theory and practice. London: Pluto Press, pp. 128-138.
  • La Cerva, C. Upside Down Therapy: Building a Heart in a Havenless World.
  • Newman, F. (1994). Let's develop! A guide to continuous personal growth. New York: Castillo International.
  • Holzman, L. and Polk, H. (Eds.) (1988). History is the cure: A social therapy reader. New York: Practice Press.
  • Holzman, L. (1987). People need power: An introduction to the Institute for Social Therapy and Research. The Humanistic Psychologist, 15, pp. 105-113.
  • Holzman, L. and Newman, F. (1979). The practice of method: An introduction to the foundations of social therapy. New York: New York Institute for Social Therapy and Research.

Books about Social Therapy[edit | edit source]

  • Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's Guide to Social Therapy, Holzman, L., Mendez, R. (Eds.)
  • Performing Psychology: A Postmodern Culture of the Mind, Holzman, L. (Ed.)
  • The End of Knowing: A New Developmental Way of Learning, Newman, F. and Holzman, L.
  • Unscientific Psychology: A Cultural-Performatory Approach to Understanding Human Life, Newman, F. and Holzman, L.
  • Let's Develop: A Guide to Continuous Personal Growth, Newman, F.
  • Performance of a Lifetime: A Practical-Philosophical Guide to the Joyous Life, Newman, F.

External links[edit | edit source]

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