The intersection of therapy and research
By Ian Law
Routledge – 2014 – 142 pages
Series: Concepts for Critical Psychology
‘Self research’ is both a therapeutic and a research endeavour that enables the subject of the research to interpret and validate their own data. In Self Research, Ian Law outlines and draws together the theoretical, institutional and practice elements of this work, and offers illustrative examples of how different elements of the methodology can be applied in practice. He proposes a methodology for the practice of self research that is based on an epistemological approach, thereby closing the interpretative gap between the researcher and the researched.
Engaging in therapeutic work with those who experience their sense of self as problematic can be transformative in two key respects: it enables them to produce a sense of self which acknowledges that an understanding of one’s self is discursively produced, and it helps locate that sense of self within its historical, political and social context. By setting out the theoretical underpinnings of the process across a range of different contexts, Law develops a methodology for doing ‘talk therapy’, and researching the self that are one and the same.
This methodology allows those who are both the subject and object of their own research to have the authority to determine its meaning, relevance and validity. The book will be essential for advanced students of counselling, along with practicing therapists in psychotherapy across different schools of practice.
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Theorising the self: Poststructuralism, Critical Theory and the Problem of Subjectivity. 2. Family Therapy as a Potential Disciplinary Site for the Practice of Self Research. 3. A Discursive Approach to Family Therapy. 4. A Discursive Approach to Research. 5. The Methodology of Self Research: Intersecting Research and Therapy. 6. Elements of Practice: ADD, addictions and the DSM. 7. Self Research: An Illustration. 8. Reflexivity and a Critical Analysis of Self Research. Bibliography
Ian Law is a qualified social worker and has a PhD in Critical Psychology. He has practiced as a psychotherapist for over 20 years and has lived, worked and taught in Australia, the UK, Canada and the USA. He was inaugural editor of GECKO: a journal of deconstruction and narrative therapies. He is also a referee for the British Journal of Psychotherapy and is on the editorial board of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology. Currently Ian lives in Melbourne, Australia where he works in senior management as General Manager of Client Service at Relationships Australia Victoria, a professional counselling and dispute resolution service.