Recontextualizing individuality and therapeutic action in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy*
Theories of individualism and their attendant*attitudes have increasingly given way to a variety of contextualist and systems sensibilities in psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy.† These attitudes invariably have shaped our ideas about what it means to be individual. As reflected in the introduction of this book, many questions and corresponding challenges for theorists and clinicians have emerged-above all, how to understand the role of the individual and of individuality given our increasing contemporary appreciation of the contextualized nature of emotional experience and the meaning-making process. The contributors to this book have each addressed potential solutions to these questions and challenges and, while doing so, imply, if not explicitly state, their respective views on therapeutic action in the treatment setting. Theoretical and clinical attitudes about individuality, about what it means to be human, and about the notions of dysfunction and psychopathology are inherently based on ideas about what heals and what constitutes therapeutic action in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. This chapter thus investigates the salient contentions of each chapter and explores the corresponding implications for meaning making,
therapeutic action, and, ultimately, a more contemporary, contextualist approach to clinical practice.