Book Reviews Psychoanalysis politics

Understanding the Health Crisis -Adam Phillips and David Morgan

Adam Phillips is an intriguing author and psychoanalyst who has clearly stated in an interview his opinions on the crisis following Covid at


EW: Do you think the current levels of suffering and unhappiness are the signs of a crisis that is entirely new, or do you think these are problems that have been around in one way or another for some time?

AP: I think that there’s a crisis in the sense of people finding it more and more difficult to live. So there’s a crisis in health, so to speak, and obviously we live in a very polluted environment as well. But the scale of envy and competition in this culture is too much for them to bear.

To put this as crudely as possible: I think that capitalism drives people mad. Once you live in a world in which competition trumps collaboration, it’s as though there’s no shared project; we’re all competing with one another for limited resources. So I think it’s good that it’s become a matter of concern in the public realm that people are really suffering. I think it’s also important that there are many descriptions of what they’re suffering from, because the risk is of thinking that what we need are solutions to mental health problems, whereas actually we need political solutions, and the mental health problems are symptoms of a political catastrophe that is occurring.


Adam Phillips discusses his book “On Wanting to Change” in Paris

Another somewhat similar view is expounded by another Psychoanalyst David Morgan at and his excellent podcasts that he has chaired can be found at

Some useful background

By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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