The Implicit Relational Stance Underlying Theory and Technique (1995)

The Implicit Relational Stance Underlying Theory and Technique (1995)2017-04-07T02:58:00+00:00

Project Description

This is a more detailed updated version of this handout (earliest version 1995). I had been working with the notion of the therapist's 'habitual position' since the mid-1990s, after we had recognised for some years that students were attracted to our training both for very good and for precisely the wrong reasons, too. The idea of the 'habitual position' was a consequent application of Reich's theory of character formation to the therapist as 'wounded healer'. 'Character' being Reich's notion of a fixed, defensive position, it became obvious that therapy training could initially attract, and then enhance, exacerbate or challenge this position in students throughout their years of learning. It is perfectly possible for all the precious knowledge and understanding of the therapeutic field to feed into our pre-established habitual position, and cement it. This handout was the result of being invited to a group of existential therapists, where I wanted to work out the more historical and collective aspects of our habitual positions as psychotherapists, in the various traditions. This handout contrasts the modern (19th century positivist) and postmodern perspectives (where we consider that there is always a subjective, socially constructed underlying perspective that we bring to anything, including therapy).


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