Ken n et h Ger gen
- the invitation to innovation
Kenneth Gergen regnes som ledenede innen
utviklingen av sosialkonstruksjonismen, og
har således hatt stor betydning for
familieterapi og systemisk praksis. Det er en
stor ære for Metaforum å overbringe noen av
Gergens betrakninger.
Tek st : Erna Henriette Tyskø
How did you r in t er est in t h e f am ily t h er apy
f ield st ar t ?
I have been interested in the therapeutic
theory and practice since graduate school
days. Although my PhD was in social
psychology, many of my classmates at Duke
University were in the clinical pro-gram. We
had long discussions together about therapy
as a social pro-cess. Indeed, my dissertation on authenticity in communication - ul-timately
came to reflect some of these discussions. As I
tried to demonstrate, when the sense of
authenticity or sincerity is absent from a
relationship, the relationship loses significance
to the participants. Relevant to therapy, one
might argue, that if a therapist uses a
stand-ard protocol in a therapeutic session (as
frequently the case in CBT), the relationship
between client and therapist becomes
mechanical. The therapist?s opinions, advice,
and so on will seem programmed and
After graduate school I began to look at social
science itself as a social process. What kinds of
agreements, for example, are necessary to
Metaforum - September 2019
create what we take to be ?facts? or ?objective
knowledge?? Can the term ?objective? not be
reduced to that which is agreeable to a
multiplication of ?subjectivities?? This interest
continued to blossom, and finally gave birth to
my writings on social construction. As
con-structionist ideas began to circulate more
widely across the intellectu-al and professional
world, one could find resonating echoes in a
varie-ty of therapeutic movements. These
would include, for example, the Milano group,
narrative therapists, brief therapists, the
reflecting team movement, and systemic
family therapists. Many of the family
re-semblances were captured in the volume,
Therapy as Social Construc-tion, edited with
Sheila McNamee in 1991. That work went on
to multiple translations. I thus found myself
drawn into extensive and continuing dialogues
with therapists, dialogues which I regard with
deep gratitude. I have learned much and the
friendships are priceless.
w ou ld
descr ibe
con st r u ct ion ism an d h ow do you t h in k it
h elps t h e f am ily t h er apy f ield?


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