The Restoration of Dialogue: Readings in the Philosophy of Clinical Psychology

The Restoration of Dialogue: Readings in the Philosophy of Clinical Psychology

The Restoration of Dialogue: Readings in the Philosophy of Clinical Psychology

The Restoration of Dialogue: Readings in the Philosophy of Clinical Psychology


Although clinical psychology and philosophy often appear as separate disciplines, this interdisciplinary anthology presents the philosophical foundations of many clinical controversies. This integration of the two disciplines is suitable for researchers, practitioners and classroom use.


This book is intended as a remedy, a bibliotherapy of sorts, for a serious malady that afflicts the mental health professions themselves but that remains largely undiagnosed. The disorder requiring urgent treatment is the splitting of clinical theory from its historical and logical foundation in Western philosophy, the resulting inability to speak effectively about theoretical differences, and the fragmentation into rival professions and theoretically isolated "schools" of treatment. What is required as an antidote to this tendency toward a dogmatic, schismatic, and often cultist approach to clinical theory is the recognition of the philosophical nature of these theoretical disputes and the restoration of philosophical methods of analysis and dialogue to a central role in the development of clinical theory. In this manner, the energies that currently are invested in the protection of professional turf and ideological diatribe may be devoted instead to collaborative discourse, research, and action. This is what will be required to make genuine headway in understanding that particular form of human misery and suffering that is variously called behavior disorders, emotional disturbance, problems in living, or mental illness.

This book is designed to make accessible to students, faculty, and practitioners in the various mental health disciplines an interdisciplinary literature on the philosophy of clinical practice. It may also be of interest to those in philosophy who are concerned with the philosophy of psychology or contemporary applications, as in the philosophy of medicine. I have attempted in the introductory chapter and in the introductory remarks to each section to provide the kind of background information that readers who are new to this interdisciplinary endeavor (from either psychology or philosophy) would require in order to work their way through this literature.

Despite the virtual neglect of philosophical issues by the mainstream training programs in the mental health professions over the past 40 years, a small but growing cadre of mental health professionals and philosophers have labored to bring these issues to the attention of their respective disciplines. Published in widely diverse sources, often by individuals working in relative isolation from one another, and with widely disparate technical languages, it has been as a body of thought rather inaccessible to both the student and the practitioner. In fact, its very existence as a body of thought or a literature within the mental health professions is not widely recognized. I hope that by bringing these selections together in this format and under one cover to raise the consciousness of psychologists and other mental health professionals concerning the centrality of philosophical issues in the development of clinical theory.

Papers were chosen for this book with five criteria in mind: (a) to recognize the lifelong commitment of a number of authors to this interdisciplinary endeavor; (b) to offer a balance of classic or formative papers and more recent contributions; (c) to demonstrate the contemporary . . .

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