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Being Critical


Postmodern Perspectives . . . 

Being Critical 

One of my favorite aspects of a postmodern therapeutic philosophy is drawing into question social norms, expectations, and the larger power structures that construct these ideas. My process generally involves asking questions that open space for the client to be critical of norms and expectations in order to help them find a more preferable existence in, in relation to those ideas. As a therapist, I find myself very comfortable in a questioning and critical position, but where I find challenge is in being so in a professional context.

It seems to me that the practices and approaches of counseling/ psychotherapy/ psychology (whatever it’s called these days) and the power structures from which they come should be free game for the same kind of questioning and critique that I encourage my clients to engage in. And to be clear, I’m very comfortable questioning professional practices and approaches in my thoughts and in my personal writings and reflections. My issue is with sharing these thoughts for fear that they will come off as offensive to people that may approach in a way that I’m calling into question. 

Perhaps my reservations are driven by the fact that I’ve been taught if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at allPerhaps the idea of staying silent in attempt to avoid conflict is a social norm that I should be challenging. Or perhaps it’s not about being nice or not nice. Postmodern thought does not subscribe to an objective opinion in which to insert into a conversation. For me, the philosophy is simply to question all the existing ideas, just to see if we can make any of them better. And what could possibly be offensive about wanting to do that?

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