Narrative, discourse, psychotherapy—neuroscience?

John Cromby

in Discursive Perspectives in Therapeutic Practice

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592753
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754715 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Narrative, discourse, psychotherapy—neuroscience?

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In this chapter, I will describe some of the ways in which neuroscience may be relevant to the discursive psychotherapies. Whilst conceptual clarity is vital to any such enterprise, the ‘turn to language’ (Harré 1992) with which these therapies are associated may make this clarity difficult to achieve. In the pragmatic situation of the therapeutic encounter conceptual issues are typically managed informally, but in the present context they must be squarely addressed. One issue is that theories and methods that prioritize language as the medium and fabric of human experience and social relations tend to ignore, downplay or occlude extra-discursive influences, including the body and its brain (e.g. Brown et al. 2009; Leder 1990; Shilling 2003; Stam 1998; Wendell 1996). Another is that, in their focus on language, these theories and methods may simultaneously go too far, and yet not far enough. In endowing language with a singular power of constitution and a seminal force of transformation, they may go too far; but in arbitrarily confining the practices and effects of socialization to the linguistic realm, they may not go far enough. Some preparatory framing is therefore needed, in order to develop a nuanced position that accords appropriate significances to both bodies and language.

Chapter.  10012 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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