Going Beyond the Internal’External Dichotomy in Clinical Psychology: The Theory of Interpersonal Defense as an Example of a Participatory Model

Michael A. Westerman, Edward M. Steen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Thinking in terms of a dichotomy between ‘internal’ processes, on the one hand, and behaviors and events in the ‘external’ world, on the other, is a pervasive, problematic feature of work in clinical psychology. Although there have been calls for rejecting this approach, it remains far from clear how to move beyond it. The authors address this issue by presenting a framework for participatory accounts. This framework is based on a philosophical perspective that takes as its starting point the person involved in practical activities. It includes five points about substantive and methodological matters. The authors illustrate the participatory approach by discussing a new conceptualization of defense processes called the theory of interpersonal defense in order to (a) show that going beyond the internal’external dichotomy can lead to fresh insights in a substantive area of inquiry, and (b) provide an example that can serve as a guide for investigators interested in approaching other issues in clinical psychology in a manner based on the participatory framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-351
Number of pages29
JournalTheory & Psychology
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Cartesian framework
  • defenses
  • discourse
  • dysfunctional interpersonal behavior
  • hermeneutics
  • internal’external dichotomy
  • limits of inquiry
  • participatory accounts
  • practices
  • self-fulfilling prophecies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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