Feariatry: A First Conceptual Mapping

Desh Subba (2014), using a "fearist perspective" and a reading of history and human development based on a "philosophy of fearism"-- coined the term "feariatry" and wrote a few pages on its conceptualization (see pp. 156, 160-61).[1] His basic idea was that psychiatry has not fully seen the nature and role of fear in mental illness and well-being. He posited, that in the future there will be feariatrists as well as psychiatrists. The former would use a philosophy of fearism to guide their practice of psychiatry. He also believed that the knowledge from the sub-field of feariatry would help people in the grassroots of communities and other mental health and social workers to better understand that we ought to be diagnosing fear problems in people and offering them appropriate solutions and not allowing ourselves to be ruled by psychiatry. I would add, and not be ruled by psychology either (thus, Subba and I have also been developing fearology, and fearanalysis).

The following concept map is one of my first ways of articulating a vision for a field of study or a topic. This ought to provide the more complex version of conceptualization beyond Subba's initial concept. We both know there is no one and only way to define the sub-field of feariatry but it will take many creative efforts to build a good theory and practice. I have given a wide and deep lens to what I would like to see go into the development of feariatry in the future. The details of course are yet to come.

End Note

Subba, D. (2014). Philosophy of fearism: Life is conducted, directed and controlled by the fear. Australia: Xlibris.

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  • The challenge for a philosophy of fearism is in how it is going to be able to strategically and sincerely attempt to 'bridge' with the worlds of psychiatry, psychoanalysis and clinical psychology in general, along with sub-fields and concepts in academia like "cultural psychoanalysis" and emerging of a "cultural turn" in psychoanalysis meeting with anthropology for e.g., (Roger Frei's work) and or cultural studies merging psychoanalysis and studies of mind (e.g., Rosalind Minsky), and psychoanalysis and art, art history and transdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., Griselda Pollock), or more recently I see a book in psychoanalysis that acknowledges that psychiatrists for one have not given significant attention to the nature and role of fear in how patients come to treatment and what they are going through, as in the book "Fear: A Dark Shadow Across Our Lifespan" by S. Akhtar (Ed.) (2014), where below is the book review put on amazon.com by several experts in the field of psychoanalysis and psychiatry:


    'Remarkably, until this book, the turmoil caused in our patients by their multivariant fears has been neglected. A collection of distinguished colleagues examine a cluster of everyday, ubiquitously experienced fears - of dark and violent places within us, of breakdown, aloneness, injury, and death. It also looks at the most troubling, paradoxical fears: of intimacy and of success. Like anxiety, fear of a conscious experience opens the door to our patients' psychodynamics and conflicts; it points the way. As we have come to expect of him, Salman Akhtar again, wisely, enlarges our understanding of what so interferes with our patients' well-being.'- Henri Parens, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Jefferson University; training and supervising analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia'Salman Akhtar has once again produced a book filled with his unique blend of scholarship, humanity, humour, and integrity. In the introductory chapter entitled "Fear, Phobia, and Cowardice", he asks, "Is fear to be avoided at all costs or can this bitter gourd of emotion be transformed into a sweet mango of cultural delight?" He goes on to treat the reader with a masterly and eloquent synthesis of psychoanalytic knowledge and ideas, richly illustrated by his own clinical examples and reflections. The subsequent chapters, designated "The Six Main Fears of our Lives", are carefully chosen, with each contributor providing an invaluable addition to the literature.'- Julian Stern, MD, Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy and Head of Psychiatry, Adult Department, Tavistock Centre, London

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