Between Conviction and Uncertainty: Philosophical Guidelines for the Practicing Psychotherapist

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SUNY Press, Jul 14, 2000 - Medical - 333 pages
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At a time when scores of seemingly incompatible theories and methods are competing for ascendancy in psychotherapy, one could argue that the crucial intellectual and moral dilemmas of this field are largely philosophical in nature. Yet most psychotherapists are never formally exposed to philosophical thinking during their training years or subsequent careers. Between Conviction and Uncertainty: Philosophical Guidelines for the Practicing Psychotherapist makes a significant contribution by bridging this gap. Jerry Downing examines and clarifies the philosophical context -- epistemological, scientific, moral -- within which psychotherapy functions. He demonstrates the necessity of a maintaining creative tension -- a dialectic -- between conviction and uncertainty in the work of the therapist and, more importantly, he explores in depth how this might be done. Further, he presents these sometimes complex ideas in prose that is truly reader-friendly. This book should appeal to all practitioners, supervisors, and students/trainees who find value in reflecting on the nature of psychotherapeutic practice, as well as to readers with theoretical or philosophical interests in psychotherapy.
  

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Between conviction and uncertainty: philosophical guidelines for the practicing psychotherapist

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Psychologist Downing (counseling, Univ. of San Francisco) has an impressive grasp of contemporary philosophy as applied to psychotherapy, the ability to teach what he knows, and an admirable ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Challenges from the Psychotherapy Literature What Do Therapists Know?
9
The Proliferation of Therapeutic Theories and Methods
10
Historical and Comparative Approaches to Psychotherapy
11
The Empirical Literature on Psychotherapy
17
Subjective Factors in Theory Construction Selection and Use
33
Moral and Political Dimensions of Therapy Practice
40
Summary
44
Summary and Conclusions
174
Philosophical Assumptions as Lived Modes of Knowing
179
Toward the Integration of Philosophy and Lived Experience
180
A Framework for Lived Modes of Knowing
185
Lived Modes of Knowing in the Therapists Experience
191
The Realist Mode of Knowing
193
The Representational Mode of Knowing
199
The Perspectival Mode of Knowing
206

Challenges from Philosophy What Can Therapists Know?
47
Relevant Philosophical Terms and Trends
49
A Formulation and Review of Philosophical Positions
52
Postmodernist Implications for Nihilism and Relativism
87
Summary
101
The Revelatory and Restrictive Functions of Psychotherapeutic Theories
105
Kuhns History and Philosophy of Science as Psychology
108
Comparisons to the Theories of George Kelly and Carl Rogers
112
A Theory about Human Theories
116
The Range of Philosophical Assumptions in Psychotherapeutic Theories
121
Does the ObjectivistConstructivist Contrast Apply to Theories TheoristsTherapists or Therapeutic Practices?
123
What Are the Varieties of Constructivism in Contemporary Psychotherapy?
128
How Does the ObjectivistConstructivist Contrast Relate to Subjectivism and Transpersonalism?
163
The Dialogical Mode of Knowing
215
The Critical Mode of Knowing
227
The Nihilistic Mode of Knowing
235
Implications for Practice Toward a Morally Situated Psychotherapy
243
MPD and Satanic Ritual Abuse
244
The Necessity and Danger of Therapeutic Conviction
247
Ethics Morality and Reflexivity in Therapy Practice
252
Components of a Morally Situated Reflexive Epistemology
256
Cognitive Emotional and Experiential Barriers to Dialectical Pluralistic Practice
269
References
293
Name Index
317
Subject Index
325
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Jerry N. Downing is Training Director at the Counseling Center, University of San Francisco.

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