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Title: From existential experts to expert existentialists
Authors: Scicluna, Rachel (2008)
Keywords: Psychotherapy
Gestalt therapy
Gellner, Ernest, 1925-1995 -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 2008
Citation: Scicluna, R. (2008). From existential experts to expert existentialists (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: In this thesis, my aim is to explore a particular form of psychotherapy in the light of the anthropological truism that the flow of power can take different forms while governing social interaction, its constitution and the dialectic between self and others. I have also had to consider to what extent the respective diagnoses therapy and anthropology might coincide, and to what extent therapy reflects a ‘native point of view’ to be understood as a form of ‘local knowledge’ (Geertz 1993). In this respect my account will draw on Gellner’s approach (1993) to the psychoanalytic movement, although there are also some important differences in the analytical framework that I draw on, not to mention my sympathy for the therapeutic endeavour in contrast with Gellner’s general scepticism. Csordas (2002) argues that at the base of any transformative experience there lie three basic components – predisposition, empowerment and transformation. Connecting these stages are the client’s narratives that are exchanged during psychotherapy sessions. Over the coming chapters, I will flesh out those three components in an ethnographic context. In Chapters 2 and 3 I will focus particularly on the interpersonal aspects of empowerment as experienced by clients. Therapy does help them reflect critically on their experience, drawing their attention to salient aspects of their everyday dramas and conflicts. An anthropological focus on power as personal capacity and, in Weberian terms, as an ability to impose one’s will on others, would suggest that therapy may be truly effective. In Chapters 4 and 5, however, we shall see that there are aspects of power that are salient to an understanding of therapy’s effects, but which Gestalt cannot explain on its own terms. Here, power must be understood as ‘tactical’ and as ‘strategic’ (Wolf in Vincent 2002) – as a kind of game involving unequal players and as a form of personal ‘incitement’ of the self (in Foucault’s sense) that changes the vey setting of personal life.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1999-2010
Dissertations - FacArtAS - 1993-2009

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