By M. Guilfoyle
This publication argues that narrative perform doesn't have a coherent formula of personhood within the method one unearths in different fields, corresponding to psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioural therapy. It examines the post-structural rules that underpin narrative perform, which make on hand robust conceptual instruments for theorizing the individual.
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Extra resources for The Person in Narrative Therapy: A Post-structural, Foucauldian Account
Discourses are intrinsically neither good nor bad This is the ﬁnal aspect of power/knowledge that I want to refer to. From a Foucauldian post-structural perspective, there can be no listing of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ discourses. In a heavily criticized move (most notably by Habermas, 1990), Foucault refuses to make any normative pronouncements, because to do so would involve the valorization of certain ways of being in the world, and the devaluation of others. For Foucault, any declaration of normative standards, by which to distinguish good discourses from worse ones, would amount to the assumption of a kind of governmental position relative to the issues being studied; as if one could adopt a God’s-eye view of the social world and declare how things should work.
For example, when therapist and client meet there is a pre-structured power relation already in place, produced by (among other things) over a century of professional and cultural discourse about therapeutic practice. This structures a particular form of social coordination in terms of which therapist and client orient to each other. One result of this is that a particular power arrangement is set up in the room before therapist and client even meet. Among other things, this lends a sort of gravity to the therapist’s beliefs and judgements that the client cannot easily match.
The individualizing trend of much modern discourse is so effective that we often experience internalized cultural knowledges as personally meaningful, even as of our own making. They feel intimately part of who we are; as if they have welled up from deep within us, so powerful is their stamp on our personal meaning-making. Lock and his colleagues (2005) suggest that one of the functions of narrative therapy is to make visible these invisible social forces. But this can be a very difﬁcult therapeutic task.