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A linguistic phenomenology of ways of knowing and its implications for psychotherapy research and psychotherapy integration

Elliott, Robert (2008) A linguistic phenomenology of ways of knowing and its implications for psychotherapy research and psychotherapy integration. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 18 (1). pp. 40-65. ISSN 1573-3696

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Abstract

In this article, I use the linguistic methods of Lakoff and Johnson (1999) to deconstruct the underlying conceptual structure and metaphors for three key verbs of Knowing, in order to answer three central methodological questions: First, is Description possible? Yes, in the sense of writing things down carefully but fallibly, while trying to avoid the danger of confusing permanence with truth. Second, is Interpretation inevitable? Yes, in the sense of Translating between an audience and a text, but not in the sense Making Something Easier to See or Constructing a Model (these are desirable but not inevitable). Third, are Explaining and Understanding fundamentally different ways of Knowing? Yes, they differ in structure (mediated vs. direct knowledge), direction (toward general simplicity vs. unique complexity), and effect (constructing a conceptual model vs. creating a relationship). Consistent with the goals of the psychotherapy integration movement, I conclude that Describing, Explaining, and Understanding are each essential to psychotherapy and psychotherapy research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)