psychotherapeutic conceptions of 'truth'

Finn Tschudi (
Fri, 19 Apr 1996 14:37:57 +0000

I'm struggling with an essay a Ph.D student of mine, Haldis Hjort. She is
writing on 'truth in psychotherapy', based on a standard course in
philosophy of science.

What I'm reading is a dialogue between 'essensia' and 'postmodia', each
armed with plenty of arguments and references. Standard, decently argued,
but not making my heart beat faster.

I'm not a clinician but would think that clients would differ vastly in
their constructions of 'truth'. I would further think that (mostly)
therapists would (when relevant) explore the client's construction of truth,
and submerge her/his own if there should happen to be a discrepancy. (I once
heard a behaviourally oriented therapist confessing to advocating orthodox
psychoanalyst for the occasional client who wanted 'really finding out the
truth about himself'.)

What I'm hoping for here is not verbal exegesis of pet positions, but terse
accounts of therapist-client joint construction of redeeming constructions
of truth, be it in the form of metaphor, a quotation from Sartre, a joke etc.

Haldis and I are eagerly waiting for illumination!