Family Therapy beyond Postmodernism: Practice Challenges Theory

By Carmel Flaskas | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 3

Social constructionist ideas and the narrative metaphor

If postmodernism is a domain in opposition to modernism, then what can be said of the way in which family therapy has come to engage with it, and what has it meant about the theory and practices that have been generated in its train? I spoke in the last chapter of the pattern in approaching postmodernist theorising. What is postmodernism? Not this (not modernism)…then what? The discourse in psychotherapy in general and in family therapy in particular has followed this sequence, fine-tuned to our own interests. What does postmodernism look like in the theory and practice of therapy? Not this-not 'modernist' therapy and all its assumptions. Then what? The 'not modernist' part of the sequence is essentially critique and marks the point of departure. It involves an identification and elaboration of the way in which modernist premises show themselves both in historical and contemporary theory and practice. Yet though elaborating this oppositionality continues to be a focus in family therapy, the creativity of the postmodernist position lies more in the response to the second question. For to begin to answer 'then what?' is to begin to meet the challenge of the postmodern critique and its emphases on context, specificity, and relationship. In psychotherapy, these emphases land us very squarely in the province of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, and in attempting to theorise subjectivity and intersubjectivity, family therapy has in the main turned to narrative and social constructionist theory.

It is thus via narrative and social constructionist ideas that family therapy has come to 'know' postmodernism, which is not to say that the postmodernist critique was not showing itself in family therapy before we embraced narrative and social constructionism. In line with the foundational ideas of Gregory Bateson (1980), the

-31-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Family Therapy beyond Postmodernism: Practice Challenges Theory
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?