Cognitive Narrative Psychotherapy: The Hermeneutic Construction of Alternative Meanings

By Gonçalves, Oscar F. | Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, January 1, 1994 | Go to article overview

Cognitive Narrative Psychotherapy: The Hermeneutic Construction of Alternative Meanings


Gonçalves, Oscar F., Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy


Cognitive psychotherapies are experiencing dramatic conceptual changes. An increasing constructivist orientation along with a narrative model of the knowing processes is apparent in the most recent developments in cognitive theory. These changes demonstrate the need to develop new therapeutic methodologies able to effect deep changes in the knowing processes. This article tries to address these issues by presenting an illustration of a new therapeutic methodology hereafter referred to as cognitive narrative psychotherapy.

Cognitive therapies are undergoing important changes (Gonçalves , 1989). Among several dimensions of change, the following are worth noting: (1) a shift from a rationalist towards a more constructivist philosophy (Mahoney, 1991); (2) a shift from an information processing model towards a narrative model of the knowing processes (Gon çalves, in press; Russell, 1991); (3) a shift from an emphasis on conscious processes towards an emphasis on unconscious dimensions of experience (Kihlstrom, 1987); (4) a shift from an emphasis on strict cognitive processes towards an acknowledgment of the emotional dimension of experience (Greenberg & Safran, 1987a, 1987b); (5) a shift in therapeutic methodologies from personal and logical procedures to more analogic and interpersonal strategies (Gon çalves & Craine, 1990; Guidano, 1991; Safran & Segal, 1990).

Central to all these changes is the core theme of cognitive theory-the problem of mental representation. That is, how do individuals come to mentally represent information about themselves and the world? Two conflicting positions are currently apparent regarding the nature of cognitive representations: the rationalist paradigm and the narrative paradigm (Bruner, 1986,1990; Lakoff, 1987; Mahoney, 1991; Polkinghorne, 1988; Russell, 1991).

The rationalist paradigm states that: (a) Humans are mostly rational beings; (b) thoughts are constituted by an algorithm computation of abstract symbols; (c) the manipulation of abstract symbols obeys the principles of a universal logic; and (d) reality is seen as a puzzle accessed only through reason and logic. The narrative paradigm, on the other hand, states that: (a) Humans are seen as storytellers; (b) thoughts are essentially metaphorical and imaginative; (c) the manipulation of thoughts is an intentional pursuit of meaning; and (d) reality is seen as a set of ill-structured problems that can be accessed through hermeneutic and narrative operations (Lakoff, 1987).

The narrative conception of mental representations advanced by recent cognitive theory (Bruner, 1990) calls for the development of new therapeutic methodologies able to effect deep changes in the knowing processes. This article attempts to address these issues by presenting and illustrating a new therapeutic methodology hereafter referred to as cognitive narrative psychotherapy.

I will begin with a clinical description of a client1. Next, the main features of cognitive narrative psychotherapy will be presented and illustrated.

THE CLIENT

Fernando1 came to the University Counseling Services complaining of persistent academic underachievement, and difficulties in concentration and memory.

Fernando is a 23-year-old single college student. His parents own a small business. His mother was described as an accepting person, very concerned with his school achievement, valuing the importance of an education that she was not able to get for herself. Fernando's father was presented as a cold and distant person, always very involved with his work and exclusively focused on ensuring a stable financial situation for all the family. Fernando is the eldest of five children. He described a good relationship with his two sisters and two brothers. However, the relationship between him and his family has been mostly affectionless across his life history.

The client did not describe any significant problematic occurrences before college. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

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

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cognitive Narrative Psychotherapy: The Hermeneutic Construction of Alternative Meanings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Full screen

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.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

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.