A Visit to An Old Social Psychology Warrior

This is Alfredo Moffatt, the last living disciple of Enrique Pichon-Rivière, Argentinian founder of “Social Psychology” which grew from the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association. We made a pilgrimage to his school today and he welcomed us with open arms.
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He invited jus into his room and we drank white wine mixed with flat coca cola and talked politics and history.Social psychology, from what I understand, is a mix of Marxism and Psychoanalytic ideas that in practice looks something like Psychodrama or Gestalt Therapy. It’s group work, it’s framed in a very social context, like the work of Pablo Freier. There seem to be many rich traditions of this kind of social therapy in Latin America, and this man has been at it since the 1960s.

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Alfredo Moffatt is 82 and and it feels like he’s from another era. Our anarchist and feminist ideals that fuel the visions of The Icarus Project definitely clashed with his old Marxist patriarchal ones, and he said some pretty silly old man kind of stuff to Agustina (“You obviously have never been a leader of anything”) I asked him questions about how to deal with conflict in group situations and I was under impressed with his responses. Nonetheless, I still felt like I was in the presence of someone with a lot of knowledge and history and stories to share.

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I found him charming in an old man kind of way. I have respect for anyone who’s stuck around for so many years. I look forward to engaging with his body of work and figuring out where his particular thread of political therapy fits

Before we left he actually said: “I have a 1600 page encyclopedia of knowledge to pass onto you. Just go to my website.” So here it is if you’re interested: http://www.moffatt.com.ar/

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Maybe it’s because I just turned 40 but I look at old men and wonder if I’m ever going to make it that far along and how open will I still be to new ideas. How content will I be with myself? Will I be living alone in a crumbling school building, the walls covered in photos of my achievements? I hope I look back and laugh at this late night post.

Note to self or anyone who’s interested: Alfredo Moffatt told me that he visited New York in 1971 and tried to work at Maimonides hospital in Brooklyn doing group therapy but that it didn’t work out. “All the people I worked with back then are dead now, that was so long ago.”



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