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Towards A Common Ground In Psychoanalysis And Family Therapy: On Knowing Not To Know

G. Larner
Published 2000 · Psychology

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In this paper a common ground between psychoanalysis and family therapy is discussed in terms of postmodern theorizing in both disciplines. Recent systemic, narrative or social constructionist thinking in psychoanalysis and a psychoanalytic turn in family therapy offers the possibility of a shared epistemology. This is described in terms of a critical not-knowing stance which allows for the therapist’s/analyst’s contribution of meaning, interpretation and knowledge in therapeutic conversation. Here the holding of not knowing and knowing together provides a narrative container for personal meaning and thinking to develop. This ‘knowing not to know’ is what a postmodern psychoanalysis has in common with family therapy: both are ways of being with persons to help them develop and hold their own knowing. This therapeutic process is illustrated in a clinical vignette of narrative child family therapy. For what one knows does not belong to oneself. (Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, p. 898)



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