Cognition & Reality

Thursday, 17 February 2011

If Not “Psychotherapy”

Filed under: Psychotherapy — drtone @ 10:45 am

A couple of daze ago, I commented on the implications of using the term “therapy” or “psychotherapy.” I’ve tried to come up with some alternatives, if only to demonstrate the difficulties inherent in labeling the work we do.

Although it is a term used colloquially in a broad sense for various forms of (let us call it) counseling, it’s unfortunate that “psychoanalysis” already has an established meaning too specialized to allow it to refer accurately to the process under description.  In spite of being devised by a physician, “psychoanalysis” doesn’t carry with it the metaphor of disorder and repair that we have identified as infecting the broader term “psychotherapy.” It literally means something like “dissolving the soul,” or “loosening the soul.” Pretty much perfect.

There are a number of candidate terms that I’ve rejected. “Self-examination” and “self-investigation” seem to come from the criminal justice system. “Self-exploration” and “self-discovery” come too close to the dismissive navel-gazing, masturbatory metaphors used by critics and those who do not wish to engage. I thought about “psycho-spelunking,” but it does not have the right ring.

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