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Deadly Therapy: Lessons in Liveliness from Theater and Performance Theory

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Overview

Therapists have a lot to learn from theater professionals about helping people narrate important conflicts, understand uplifting ideas, and engage in illuminating interactions. Analysis of theater has also produced Goffman's dramaturgical vision of reality, in which people are beset with performance problems including defining situations, forming teams, casting roles, and managing discrediting information. A dramaturgical understanding of psychotherapy is articulated in this book, with a focus on living up to situational norms intrinsic to therapy and managing performance failures associated with the roles of therapist and patient. Norms derive from rules and categories—in society and in therapy—that help people know how to behave, but which also produce self-serving hegemonies of privilege and power, even in therapy. Performance theory—encompassing audience engagement, dramaturgy, gender studies, power and privilege dynamics, critical thinking, and multiculturalism—is used to investigate the "party lines" that get established in therapy and supervision, and to suggest ways to temper the deadening effects of rules and categories.

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Editorial Reviews

Roy W. Jarnecke
Michael Karson provides a fresh way of looking at psychotherapy and theater, with lessons for each. The emphasis on 'lively theater' speaks to both the actor and the therapist within me, permiting me a new sense of integration. The theater metaphor offers a visualization of the different levels of conceptualizing psychotherapy that is clear and understandable.
Audrey K. Miller
Warning: this book may induce anxiety in therapists grown accustomed to rigid how-to manuals. In Deadly Therapy, Michael Karson parallels theatre's tradition of questioning political power structures by grappling with contemporary psychological assumptions about the client-therapist relationship, gender and multicultural influences, and the truth of authenticity, among other issues at the crux of psychotherapy. Scarcely should therapists put down this critical treatise without experiencing a deeply personal challenge: to listen by attending to nuance, question self-inflexibility, be open to diversified language and approach, and, therein, to enliven as if on stage the immediate moment of therapeutic space.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765704450
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/29/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 618,708
  • Product dimensions: 6.67 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Karson, Ph.D., J.D., is clinical associate professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Prior to that he practiced psychotherapy and consulted in the child welfare system for 25 years in Massachusetts. He is the author of Using Early Memories in Psychotherapy: Roadmaps to Presenting Problems and Treatment Impasses, Patterns of Child Abuse: How Dysfunctional Transactions are Replicated in Individuals, Families and the Child Welfare System and the senior author of 16PF Interpretation in Clinical Practice: A Guide to the Fifth Edition.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Lessons from Deadly Theater Chapter 2 Lessons from Performance Theory Chapter 3 What Am I Doing to Irma? Chapter 4 Status Games Chapter 5 Gender Is Something We Do, Not Something We Are Chapter 6 Deadly Multiculturalism Chapter 7 Therapeutic Privilege Chapter 8 Is Science Just Another Party Line? Chapter 9 Critical Thinking About Critical Thinking Chapter 10 Applying Theory to the Therapy (and Not Just to the Patient’s Life) Chapter 11 Deadly Supervision Chapter 12 Fourteen Things We Can Do to Make Our Therapies Livelier Chapter 13 References Chapter 14 Index

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