Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy

By Ernest Keen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Critical Reflections on Psychopharmacology

How are we to understand the role of medication in the practice of clinical psychology? How can we compare (1) feeling better because medicine makes you feel better with (2) feeling better because you now understand what your options are, how you formerly misperceived them, and why?

Taking drugs to deal with psychological anxiety and depression is often helpful. But neglected by the profession are certain costs of medication, costs that are apparent when we take ultimacy seriously. Ultimacy is that dimension of human experience that refers to ultimate issues, such as human mortality and cosmic mystery. All human experience occurs to particular persons, each of whom is embedded in a world full of meaning, but each of whom is also adrift, alone, on a sea of indeterminacy. Every person is not only mortal but fundamentally ignorant of the origin, destiny, and meaning of the cosmos. Not everyone dwells on ultimacy, but no human is immune to the impact of mortality and mystery.

Funerals, religious rituals, near brushes with death all provoke the sense of awe and the profound anxiety of not really knowing who we are supposed to be -- for however long we are here. These experiences may always accompany events we witness, work we do, and selves we experience ourselves being. They are interrogatory. They ask of us what we are going to do and who we are going to be. Such questions are strenuous.

"Who am I to become?" is a question no one escapes. Of course, daily life is full of tasks and obligations that structure the openness

-3-

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Ultimacy and Triviality in Psychotherapy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • PART I - Theoretical Incoherence 1
  • Chapter 1 - Critical Reflections on Psychopharmacology 3
  • Notes 14
  • Chapter 2 - Neurons and Narratives 19
  • Notes 28
  • Chapter 3 - Explorin Theoretical Incoherence 31
  • Notes 43
  • Chapter 4 - Wider Echoes of the Incoherence 45
  • Notes 58
  • PART II - Ultimacy and Trivialit 61
  • Preface to Part II 63
  • Chapter 5 - Narrative, Coherence, and Ultimacy 65
  • Notes 81
  • Chapter 6 - Discourse, Therapy, and Science 83
  • Notes 93
  • Chapter 7 - Trivialization, Ultimacy, and Discourse 95
  • Notes 107
  • Chapter 8 - Triviality and Ultimacy in Therapy 109
  • Notes 122
  • References 125
  • Name Index 131
  • Subject Index 133
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