Back to Reality: A Critique of Postmodern Theory in Psychotherapy

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W.W. Norton, 1995 - Psychology - 296 pages
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Within psychotherapy the influence of postmodern theory, with its underlying antirealist philosophy (that the knower makes rather than discovers reality), has been growing exponentially. Yet none of the many - and proliferating - writings on this use of postmodern theory has scrutinized the problematic implications, both theoretical and applied, of this trend. This book fills that gap with the first thorough critical assessment of the theory and practice of the postmodern narrative therapy movement, a movement that now includes therapists who represent such disparate schools as family/systemic, cognitive, psychoanalytic, feminist, and constructivist therapies. In calling for a modest realism in all psychotherapy theory and practice, Held delineates a realist philosophy of knowing in terms that are accessible to readers who are not philosophers by training. She concludes by considering not only the theoretical implications of adopting an antirealist approach to therapy, but also the ethical/practical implications of that trend.

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About the author (1995)

Barbara S. Held is the Barry N. Wish Professor of Psychology and Social Studies at Bowdoin College in Maine. Her work focuses on the theoretical, philosophical, and practical aspects of movements in psychology and psychotherapy. She is the author of Back to Reality: A Critique of Postmodern Theory in Psychotherapy (1995); Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining (2001); and Psychology's Interpretive Turn: The Search for Truth and Agency in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (2007) and a co-editor of Humanity's Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience, and Psychotherapy (2013). Held is the 2012 recipient of the American Psychological Foundation's Joseph B. Gittler Award, which recognizes significant scholarly contribution to the philosophical foundations of psychological knowledge. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and chapters and has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including Theory and Psychology and the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. Held also served as the 2008 9 president of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, of which she is a Fellow. Trained as a clinical psychologist, she practiced therapy for fifteen years. She has received extensive national and worldwide media attention, including features in the New York Times, People magazine, and Smithsonian Magazine, as well as appearances on NBC's Today show, ABC's World News, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, the BBC, and the CBC.

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