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Practical Postmodernism April 21, 2006

Posted by fajita in Philosophy/Religion.
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I first leanred about postmodern philosophy in graduate school. I learned it in the context of doing therapy. So, it was both exciting and disturbing.

So, in therapy, what the philosophy of postmodernism does is to loosen the concept of diagnosis, depathologize people, normalize behaviors, contextualize to give meaning, and promote creativity for treatment. There is something very forgiving in applying postmodern philosophy to therapy.

And since all modernism had to offer was diagnosis and specific treatment (which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't) and there you are – good therapy. If the treatment worked, "good doctor," but if the treatment didn't work it was the patient's fault. Professionals were privileged and patients were seen as resistant if they didn't do what they were told. Yes, modernism did give us some terrific treatments for mental disorders, but it is sometimes a little bit like the tobacco companies doing no smoking ads. The same people creating the problem are offering the solution. It's not that mental health practitioners create mental disorders, but onthe other hand, before there was the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manul of Mental Disorders), people were worried or sad or up and down. Now they are Depressed, Bi-Polar, or have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I firmly believe that the mentla health indistry had pathologized some very normal human experience and then offered some terrific treatments. That's modernism at it very worst.

There are dangers in a postmodern view of therapy as well. If there is no psychopathology, then any and all behaviors, emotions, or thoughts are acceptable. Marginal or even dangerous treatment options are allowable. With pure postmodern philosophy, destructive beahviors will be supported as equal.

Where I find postmodernism useful is to create intellectual, emotional, or theological space for creativity. It's useful in the realm of pretend and imagination – as a tool to imagine that the current restraints don't exists so that the God-given creativity can be accessed. It is especially useful right now because modernism has had its terrible grip on people for so long that it offends their inherent sense of freedom. Postmodernism is good in that it can be used as a tool to help loosen up modernism, but as a philosophy to actualize in one's life, the end is quite terrible.

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Comments»

1. the ruminating pilgrim » Blog Archive » postmodernism and therapy: a different flavor of normal - April 27, 2006

[…] The whole thing is worth a read, particularly for its discussion of the differences between the modernist view of pscychotherapy and the postmodernist approach. […]


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