(2006) Human Studies 29 (2).

Psychotherapy's philosophical values

insight or absorption?

Hakam Al-Shawi

pp. 159-179

According to insight-oriented psychotherapies, the change clients undergo during therapy results from insights gained into the "true" nature of the self, which entail greater self-knowledge and self-understanding. In this paper, I question such claims through a critical examination of the epistemological and metaphysical values underlying such forms of therapy. I claim that such psychotherapeutic practices are engaged in a process that subtly "absorbs" clients into the therapist's philosophical framework which is characterized by a certain problematic conception of subjectivity, knowledge, and reality. Through mechanisms which are intrinsic to the therapeutic encounter, such as suggestion and power, such therapies construct and reconfigure clients along the lines of socially accepted norms and values. Consequently, insight-oriented psychotherapy results in a deceptive form of social control.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-006-9020-y

Full citation:

Al-Shawi, H. (2006). Psychotherapy's philosophical values: insight or absorption?. Human Studies 29 (2), pp. 159-179.

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