Aaron Balick (United Kingdom)
New book applying relational psychoanalysis to social networking:
This September saw the publication of Aaron Balick’s new book, The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: connected-up instantaneous culture and the self. The book was launched at Social Media Week London, an annual international event which aims to bring the latest thinking and developments within social media into one place; a series of events in which psychotherapeutic thinking has generally largely been lacking. Aaron presented on several occasions across the week in an attempt to bring insights from depth psychology into the field. The launch of the book was followed by a further event at The Freud Museum London in conversation with psychoanalyst Susie Orbach.
In The Psychodynamics of Social Networking, Balick applies theory from both object relations and relational psychoanalysis in an effort to understand the underlying psychodynamics or unconscious motivations behind people’s social networking use. The development of social networking as a phenomenon is seen as the culmination of the relational process between humankind and technology itself resulting in a virtual extension of the self that seeks to recognise and be recognised by others as mediated by technological interfaces. While the book is informed by clinical knowledge, it is not a text about problematic internet use nor is it intended to be a clinical handbook for therapists; instead it uses clinical and theoretical insights to understand our contemporary social networking culture from the vantage point of contemporary psychoanalysis.
While a great deal of research has been done with regard to internet use and social networking in society and culture, the vast majority of it is of a quantitative nature. While some research coming from the psychological fields is more qualitative, such research tends to operate on principles from experimental and academic psychology such as “the big five” personality measures and other similar indicators. While more and more work is being done in this area, there is a scarcity of psychoanalytic thinking about such an important cultural shift in the way we manage our relationships. Aaron’s book is an attempt to address this and suggest some possible models of theoretical application.
The text is now available from Karnac Books: