Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's Guide to Social Therapy

Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's Guide to Social Therapy

Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's Guide to Social Therapy

Psychological Investigations: A Clinician's Guide to Social Therapy

Synopsis

"Psychological Investigations provides insight into the revolutionary development of social therapy-an improvisational, investigatory, development-focused method of treatment. Featuring dialogues drawn from transcripts of teaching and supervisory sessions between Fred Newman and therapists, the book presents a comprehensive guide to the core philosophical and political issues of social therapy and the social therapeutic group process. Instead of introspection and insight-traditional means to self-realization-Newman and social therapy encourages activity, involvement and commitment to causes larger than the individual ego. With more and more training institutes, professional programs, and graduate programs are turning out practitioners who recognize a need for relational sensitivity, like that inherent to social therapy, in their work, this book will serve as a provocative invitation to both new and seasoned professionals who are seeking alternative modes of practice and understanding.

Excerpt

Participants in learning forums such as colloquia, seminars, and supervision groups pose questioning questions to Fred Newman-philosopher, therapist, community activist, playwright, and director-about the practices and theoretical underpinnings of social therapy. Newman, who is undeniably a gifted teacher, does not answer the questions, instead he discusses them. Mendez and Holzman do not tell the reader what Newman does, Newman performs it and the reader experiences it. This collection is truly a gift as recorded and transcribed dialogues between students and teacher are rarely available.

Social therapy stands at the edge among those therapies influenced by postmodernism and its challenges to psychological science. Within the social sciences in general, postmodernism as a social theory offers a challenge to inherited positivist assumptions and practices of knowledge development and acquisition, knowledge as truth, the objectivity of knowledge and knowing, and knowledge as an individual product. In particular it confronts the nature of psychology, calling for a critical examination of the dominant psychological discourse that embraces the notions of universal truths about the nature of human beings and their behavior, a core or bounded self, the conceptualization of problems, and deficit-oriented language and the conventions that flow from them.

Newman and his colleagues take a radical position toward truth-referential psychology and human behavior as its unit of analysis and target of change. Referring to social therapy as a nonepistemological practice of method, social therapists make a strong plea for an activity-theoretic paradigm in place of a descriptive truth telling paradigm. They passionately plea for revolutionizing the culture of psychology and its practices into that which people can transform themselves into who they are not and their world into what it is not. They adamantly believe that psychology and social practice go hand-in-hand, and that psychology therefore must address the often oppressing social, political, and economic conditions in

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