January 30


Cushman, P. (1995). Constructing the self, constructing America: A cultural history of psychotherapy. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. (279 – 356).

Respond to one of the following items for this week’s paper. Your paper should be no more than two pages and is to be completed for the class on Tuesday, January 30.

  1. The title of Chapter Nine is “Psychotherapy and Moral Discourse.” We have encountered the idea of moral discourse earlier in the Prilleltensky reading. In your response paper describe what Cushman means when he asks his readers to think of psychotherapy as moral discourse, give some examples of this moral discourse and indicate whether Prilleltensky and Cushman seem to have the same idea in mind.
  2. In Chapter Nine Cushman suggests what he means by a hermeneutic approach to psychotherapy. Earlier we read Slife & William’s account of the hermeneutic approach to research and more recently we read Sugarman & Martin’s ideas about a hermeneutic approach. In your response paper describe the primary features of Cushman’s sense of a hermeneutic approach, give some examples of this approach and indicate whether all the authors seem to have the same idea in mind.
  3. In the final section of the book, Cushman argues for adopting a hermeneutic perspective on psychotherapy, a perspective which he calls a “three-person psychology.” To begin this week’s response paper present your understanding of what Cushman’s concept of a three-person psychology entails. Following this description continue by responding to one of the following:
  • What is your sense of whether the three-person concept might be applicable in other areas of psychology; in particular, what do you think work within your particular interest area might look like if approached from this perspective (or does look like if you know of existing examples)?
  • Select one or more of the therapy cases described by Cushman and discuss how his conduct of the therapy illustrates – or fails to illustrate – the three-person psychology perspective.

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