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Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Studys

Psychotherapy in Troubling Time

Bert Olivier*

Department of Philosophy, South Africa

*Corresponding author: Bert Olivier, Department of Philosophy, South Africa

Submission: March 18, 2022Published: March 28, 2022

DOI: 10.31031/PPRS.2022.05.000615

ISSN 2639-0612
Volume5 Issue3


How does one stay ‘sane’ in these troubling times? I put ‘sane’ in scare quotes because some people may argue, with some justice, that ‘sanity’ in an ‘insane’ world would require of one to adapt to the insanity surrounding one, and that a different kind of ‘insanity’ is demanded to be able to resist the primary insanity you face every day. That is certainly one way of looking at it. It is compatible with Jacques Lacan’s belief, that adaptation to societal norms at any time is a bad recipe for any person [1]. Think of apartheid South Africa, or Nazi Germany-to adapt to those societies meant orienting one’s actions to a set of norms which, when measured against universally applicable moral principles that transcend those societies, turned out to be highly immoral. Hence, the advice, not to adapt too readily to the norms currently governing people’s behaviour, turns out to be good advice.

What is the case today? Are there conspicuous norms or guidelines pertaining to our behaviour in contemporary societies? Of course there are! The most salient of these are: wear masks in public; practice social distancing; get vaccinated! Are there reasons why we should question these and not adapt to them? At first sight they seem innocuous enoughdon’t they promote health and safety? That’s what the authorities in every country-except for Sweden-would want us to believe. And yet, Sweden- which decided right at the beginning of the ‘pandemic’ that, while people would be encouraged to be careful, they would not be forced to do any of these things has not had any significantly higher number of fatalities than other European countries. This emphasises my Lacanian point about not ‘adapting’ to societal norms too easily.

To elaborate further on this, let us have a look at a telling interview that the young thinker, activist and musician, Tessa Lena [2], had with Dr Emanuel Garcia, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst from New Zealand, about the current situation. (The interview, on her podcast called ‘Make language great again’ which was removed by YouTube hours after being published by Dr Joseph Mercola on his website-was re-uploaded by Tessa on Rumble; Lena T [2]. Dr Garcia is one of few medical professionals in New Zealand who questioned the so-called ‘new normal’ from the beginning. Here are some of Dr Garcia’s remarks from the interview:

2020 happened, and it happened all across the world. And I would say that immediately, I began to detect something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Nothing seemed to add up from the very, very beginning the reaction of the world was really, it was almost in unison, like the conductor just said, ‘Okay, let’s go down to pianissimo,’ and everything shut down. And it was absolutely amazing how, basically the entire world worked in concert, to, from their perspective, contain this deadliest pathogen in human history...from my perspective, I think the policies were strange, they were contradictory. They were incursions into the liberties of individuals. So we find ourselves here under a new traffic light system, which imposes a lot of restrictions-and most alarmingly, I think -and this will tie into other things that are going on around the world -they’ve created a jab apartheid system!

So that right now where I live, the unvaccinated are not allowed to go to cinemas, cafes, restaurants, sporting events, barbers, hair stylists. It’s, it’s, it’s my question has always been, we should have informed consent, we should know what’s in this thing,what it’s supposed to do, what it’s not supposed to do. People many people think, oh, it’s just like the measles vaccine you get, you don’t get the measles again, everything’s great. Well, that’s not really true. We know about the mRNA mRNA technology we know that neither it prevents transmission nor infection.

Here one already encounters some significant insights regarding the question of ‘normality’ versus ‘questioning’ Clearly Dr Garcia belongs to those who question, instead of blindly and obediently accepting rules and regulations imposed on them. This is not have the psychic and volitional resources to refuse going along with what they were asked to do when they reached (what they should have recognised as) a kind of moral limit to (un-)reasonable expectations. The ‘teachers’ should have resisted proceeding with the incrementally more severe shocks they (believed they) were administering when subjects showed signs of suffering, and the ‘wardens’ should have refrained from acting with increased cruelty towards the ‘prisoners’ who supposedly misbehaved.

The latter should have opted out as soon as they saw what was happening to them, but they were clearly afraid to do so. In all these cases, they lacked moral autonomy of the kind that Dr Garcia has displayed in New Zealand in the face of a veritable medical dictatorship. Clearly, it is not Dr Garcia, nor his like-minded colleagues (a small minority), who need psychotherapy; it is the vast majority of individuals who have uncritically and ‘obediently’ accepted what they were told and carried out these instructions as if they were prisoners who need (ed) psychotherapy. Nor should this surprise one; The famous psychoanalyst, Julia Kristeva [3], explains as follows why it is conducive to psychological health to ‘revolt’ in certain situations:

Happiness exists only at the price of a revolt. None of us has pleasure without confronting an obstacle, prohibition, authority, or law that allows us to realize ourselves as autonomous and free on the social level, the normalizing order is far from perfect and fails to support the excluded. Needless to remind anyone, the ‘excluded’ in today’s societies globally are the so-called ‘unvaccinated’-so-called, because the experimental ‘jabs’ given to millions of people are not vaccines in the true sense of the word; as Dr Garcia reminds us (above), unlike real vaccines, they do not prevent one from getting Covid-19, nor from infecting others. It is like taking a prophylactic tablet against getting pregnant, which does not prevent pregnancy, and still requires the use of condoms. Would anyone be stupid enough to take such a prophylactic?

And yet, millions have fallen for the ruse that the jabs offer protection against Covid-19. Today one witnesses increasing evidence that these so-called ‘vaccines’ are not just ineffective, but positively dangerous to boot [4,5]. Hence my claim: those in need of psychotherapy in today’s troubling times are the masses who have fallen for the abuse of pseudo-authority on the part of governments and other organisations such as the World Health Organisation worldwide. In doing so willy-nilly they have demonstrated that they lack the volitional autonomy that morally mature human beings possess. I would counsel them to start re-educating themselves by reading Immanuel Kant’s [6] famous, 18th century prize-winning essay, “What is enlightenment?”, which advises its readers to live according to the motto: Sapere aude (“Have the courage to think for yourself!”), and to act accordingly [7,8].


  1. Van Haute P (2002) Against adaptation: Lacan’s subversion of the subject. In: Trans Crowe P, Vankerk M (Eds.), Other Press, New York, USA.
  2. Lena T (2022) Make language great again courage and creativity vs. the machine. Tessa Lena talks to Dr Emanuel Garcia.
  3. Kristeva J (2000) The sense and non-sense of revolt: The powers and limits of psychoanalysis. Trans Herman J (Edt.), Columbia University Press, New York, USA.
  4. Olivier B (2021) Is the push for the vaccine a push too far? The Mail and Guardian-Thought Leader.
  5. Olivier B (2021) The pandemic and the differend. Phronimon. Journal of the South African Society for Greek Philosophy and the Humanities 22: 1-35.
  6. Kant I (2016) An answer to the question: What is enlightenment? Trans. In: Beck LW (Edt.) The Collected Works of Immanuel Kant. Delphi Classics, pp. 535-538.
  7. Olivier B (2021) Governments know most people obey-especially in a state of disaster.
  8. World-O-Meter. Nd Coronavirus Update (live).

© 2022 Bert Olivier, This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.