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Constructionist Approaches to Bereavement and Therapy

Davy, J. (2000). Constructionist Approaches to Bereavement and Therapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis examines how deconstruction can be used to develop counselling psychology by linking postmodern perspectives framing human experience as text constructed though language and discourse, with an emphasis on the social and material contexts for the clinical practice of therapy and supervision. Deconstruction is used to develop critical realist perspectives within a social constructionist psychology, rather than to promote radical relativist models of practice.

The Literature Review examines how recent constructionist research challenges the traditional prevalence of the grief work hypothesis in psychotherapeutic work with bereaved people. The review focuses on the ‘Dual Process Model of Coping with Loss’ developed empirically by Margaret Stroebe, and on Tony Walter’s postmodern sociological model of bereavement as a process of (auto)biographical reconstruction. The review includes an appendix presenting three case vignettes illustrating the clinical utility of these ideas. This literature review involves the deconstruction of a long-established theory of psychopathology, and also shows some uses of deconstructive tactics within bereavement therapy.

The Case Study demonstrates how deconstruction can be used as a practical form of psychotherapy in its own right, outlining the conduct of The Research component of the thesis presents a qualitative research interview study of clinical supervision in palliative care, based on interpretative discourse analysis of 16 individual interviews conducted with specialist palliative care professionals. The research produces two new metaphors for interpreting clinical supervision, as governance and as ritual, which have practical implications for training and professional practice.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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