chapter  2
The individual in a cultural context
Pages 11

To varying degrees, all therapeutic approaches acknowledge the influence of global and cultural content and processes on human development, the quality of personal relationships and the overall sense of security and wellbeing in the world. In my opinion, the social environment in Britain and America is saturated with unprocessed trauma and intrinsic rage, which, directly or indirectly, afflict all of its members. This rage originates from empathic failure (see Chapter 7) when the environment (others, society or planetary conditions) misunderstands or neglects an individual’s needs or abuses them. In order to survive this distressing experience, the individual disconnects from their bodily sensations, a vital source of intelligence about their needs in situations; this separation from their self not only puts them at risk because it seriously limits their capacity to care for themselves, but it puts others, society or the planet at risk because the individual cannot extend empathy to them either. Unless or until this trauma is addressed, this person is capable of misunderstanding, neglecting or abusing others without feeling discomfort about it. Rage begets more rage and it spreads insidiously and relentlessly, virus-like through our interactions with each other, our social structures and our planet. Child-, adult-and self-abuse is widespread in British and American societies and occurs against the backdrop of an increasingly precarious global environment characterised by swiftly changing climate conditions, external and internal hostilities and oppressive social structures.