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The East Side Institute is an international education and research center for new approaches to human development and community building. We develop and promote practices that relate to people of all ages as social performers of their lives.
For more information or to register go to:, 212-941-8906, ext 304.

Social Therapeutics
and the End Of Knowing

We Cannot Know But We Can Grow

A 12-week online seminar with Lois Holzman & Guests

Click here to download application

Epistemology is a socio-cultural phenomenon that has dominated western civilization from the Greeks until the current century. Science, its most important product, is and no doubt will continue to be, a lasting contribution to civilization. But like all cultural developments, it is not universal in its usefulness. Indeed, when imposed on areas to which it has no relevance, it has effectively paralyzed human development. Modern psychology embodies this paralysis.
Newman and Holzman, Beyond Narrative Therapy to Performed Conversations
In the 1990’s Newman and Holzman authored two seminal books, Unscientific Psychology and The End of Knowing, which together challenged the contemporary scientific paradigm of psychology and put forth a cultural-performatory alternative: social therapeutics, which is ”a distinctly unscientific psychology; indeed, not a psychology at all but a qualitatively new kind of play, a continuous uncommodified performance of subjectivity.” Now some twenty years later their developmental methodology and the grassroots organizing that has grown up alongside it are being adapted and applied worldwide.
In this advanced 12-week course we will explore the foundations of Newman and Holzman’s social therapeutics and its current practices. Led by Institute co-founder Lois Holzman, the course will include guest faculty whose work in diverse communities and environments in the US and internationally has been informed by this approach.
Among the topics to be explored are:
  • Creating development and developmental communities
  • Problems with epistemology
  • A new ontology of performance
  • Self and otherness
  • Commodified emotions and performed emotionality
  • The revolutionary nature and value of performance, play and improvisation
A hallmark of the Institute’s study programs are its participants – coming from every continent and multiplicity of fields. We welcome applicants – researchers, scholars and practitioners – from a range of disciplines.
 A 12-Week Developmental Challenge
We begin with an intensive study of key sections of Unscientific Psychology: A Cultural-Performatory Approach to Understanding Human Life and The End of Knowing: A New Developmental Way of Learning, which will engage you in a reconstructing/deconstructing of psychology, exposing its dehumanization and the methodology that is creating social therapeutics as a humanizing force.
With the support of presentations by, and intensive dialogue with, guest faculty, we continue with an exploration of contemporary on-the-ground projects that incorporate playful philosophizing and social therapeutics in their daily activity and engage in practice today’s political and psychological climate of identity politics, hyper-diagnosis and political correctness.
Create the Conversation
Conferencing – Every other week Zoom conference calls and live sessions with guest faculty.
Online discussion – Ongoing and continuous discussion on source materials, assignments and the work of guest faculty. It’s asynchronous so you can read and post at any time.
Tuition: $575.
(Students are responsible for purchasing required texts.)