Dialogue with the Author: Practicing Psychotherapy in Constructed Reality with Stephen Bacon

This group conversation with the authors was recorded in July 2022 as part of the Taos Institute's Dialogue with the Authors free webinar series. More details at www.taosinstitute.net/dialogue-with-the-authors.

Practicing Psychotherapy in Constructed Reality: Ritual, Charisma and Enhanced Client Outcomes
with Stephen Bacon, Ph.D.

About the Book

This book presents a social constructionist approach to psychotherapy. However, it differs from the relational constructionism of Gergen, the collaborative approach of Anderson, traditional Narrative Therapy, or the constructivist approach of Neimeyer in a number of significant ways. First, the approach begins with an analysis of the treatment outcome literature. By demonstrating that there are no therapist experience or training effects, it can be shown that psychotherapeutic techniques lack inherent power and that all intervention are rituals powered by beliefs and expectations. Moreover, the lack of training and experience effects also implies that all of psychotherapy’s privileged knowledge is unrelated to enhancing client outcomes. All subsequent theory development grows out of and is measured against these research findings.

Second, while recognizing that a language approach to constructionism argues for the universal presence of constructionism in all experience, from a pragmatic perspective, the book adopts a cross-cultural view of fundamental versus constructed reality. Understanding what is relatively solid allows therapists to maximize what is fluid and malleable.

Third, while constructionism is the dominant motif, Gergen’s reference to “the possibility of a sacred dimension to relational being” and Tillich’s “ultimate concern” create a sense of a goal or a reference point beyond what is constructed. This provides the necessary “place to stand” required for all effective therapy. Tillich, with his concept of a spiritual path which is both hierarchical and paradoxically flat opens the door to working with power relationships in psychotherapy while maintaining ethics and humbleness.

Fourth, understanding this Tillichian paradox of hierarchy/flatness in the therapeutic relationship allows therapists to cultivate charisma and persuasiveness as part of facilitating client goals while maintaining a client-centered orientation.

Visit http://www.drstephenbacon.com for more details and the link to purchase the book.

About the Author

Dr. Stephen Bacon is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Santa Barbara. He has a long history of interest in how worldview structures an individual’s reality and how that interacts with the therapeutic relationship and the possibility of positive change and growth. In addition to his formal psychology training, Dr. Bacon has a degree in the Phenomenology of Religion, lived in a meditation center for almost six years, and wrote a book on metaphors and archetypes in experiential/adventure-based education (The Conscious Use of Metaphor in Outward Bound). He has studied a variety of high impact therapeutic approaches such as EMDR, NLP, hypnosis, and the Ericksonian model, and taught workshops and retreats on these subjects in the United States and Europe. Read more on Stephen’s Associate page: www.taosinstitute.net/stephen-bacon.
Be the first to comment