Deadly Therapy: Lessons in Liveliness from Theater and Performance Theory
Therapists have a lot to learn from theater professionals about helping people narrate important conflicts, understand uplifting ideas, and engage in illuminating interactions. Analysis of theater has also produced Goffman's dramaturgical vision of reality, in which people are beset with performance problems including defining situations, forming teams, casting roles, and managing discrediting information. A dramaturgical understanding of psychotherapy is articulated in this book, with a focus on living up to situational norms intrinsic to therapy and managing performance failures associated with the roles of therapist and patient. Norms derive from rules and categories--in society and in therapy--that help people know how to behave, but which also produce self-serving hegemonies of privilege and power, even in therapy. Performance theory--encompassing audience engagement, dramaturgy, gender studies, power and privilege dynamics, critical thinking, and multiculturalism--is used to investigate the "party lines" that get established in therapy and supervision, and to suggest ways to temper the deadening effects of rules and categories.
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