Dr. Michael Bader is a psychologist and psychoanalyst with over 30 years of clinical experience. He received a Doctor of Mental Health degree at the University of California, San Francisco, in 1980, and became licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in January 1984, he currently combines a private practice in San Francisco with his work as a senior advisor for the Institute4Change, an interdisciplinary team of change experts devoted to developing leaders of progressive organizations and providing them consultation around issues of strategy and organizational change.
Dr. Bader has written extensively for both academic and popular audiences. His primary intellectual interests are in exploring the intersection of psychology, culture, and politics. He has written over 50 articles for popular magazines, both print and on-line, including The Huffington Post, Alternet, and Tikkun Magazine. In these, he analyses vital political controversies, crises, and struggles using the wisdom and insights gained in his long clinical career. His arguments—and his theoretical agenda—usually involve weaving together a sophisticated understanding of politics and history with a psychological approach that appreciates the importance of unconscious desires and conflicts.
His current interests include studying the psychological sources of political passivity and cynicism, how a broader and more nuanced understanding of human motivation can revitalize and animate progressive organizations and significantly improve their success in engaging large numbers of people in a movement for social change, strategies through which right-wing media trigger and exploit our psychological conflicts, frustrations, and fears–including our sexual longings and fears–to move their own agenda, how deep psychodynamic insights into why people suffer and get in their own way, and how they can change and grow can be translated into forms useful to progressives, both in terms of better understanding the world and changing themselves.
Dr. Bader’s interest in integrating psychology and politics has been grounded over the last 10 years in his work with the Institute4Change. Established in 2003, the i4c was initially based within the largest and fastest growing labor union in the country, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In recent years, the Institute has functioned as a free-standing and independent non-profit, offering its services to a range of leaders and organizations in the progressive movement. With Dr. Bader, the i4c believes that change requires bringing together insights and expertise from multiple disciplines and, as such, has a distinguished faculty of practitioners and academics from the worlds of community organizing, psychology, theater, organizational development, executive leadership, and politics.