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Conversations in Social Construction
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1.

Peggy Penn: About Writing - Creating Multiple Voices

Peggy builds a context for her work in Social Construction in this 43 minute tape. The attraction to the use of language moved her from Strategic to Milan Systemic and the idea that what was happening to the therapist needed to be included in our study of therapeutic process was part of what interested her. The writings to clients of Michael White and David Epston provoked her thinking about writing to clients but ultimately she preferred to develop letter writing among, rather than to, the clients. We can redefine relationships through letter writing. We can change difficult or missing relationships, gain and give forgiveness, achieve connection through the relational practices developed in letter writing. Social Construction is the best, forward looking explanation for these ideas [...]
Online
2017; 2000
2.

Mary Gergen: Generating Research

The ideas of traditional research are compared with the ideas about social constructionist research. Discussions include thoughts about hierarchy, power, control, causal effects, manipulation, distance, the concepts of objectivity and neutrality. Many examples of social constructionist research are offered including actual studies of risk-taking of adolescents, women infected with HIV/AIDS and even the early work of Gladys Ziegarnik. The power relationships between the researcher and the researched are compared with the current more collaborative work where participants are more involved in determining what is researched. The co-construction of stories, reflexivity, multiple stories, multiple voices, relational stories, reflecting teams, how therapists create their clients, and desig [...]
Online
2017; 2000
3.

Bob and Sharon Cottor: What Is This Thing Called Psychotherapy

The dilemma of what to call what we do and how we describe ourselves is the beginning of an interview with the Cottors. The process and the experience of what we do, the way of relating is more important than what we call it. Helping people to transform themselves and become who they would like to become is a goal that we have. The medical model which is deficit based is not a match for our desires to be strength based and looking for what works. In spite of events that happen that we didn’t plan for and certainly didn’t want to happen, we learn to deal with difficult situations how we language the things that happen to us makes all the difference in our being able to have an attitude of hope and mastery of our lives.
Online
2017; 2006
4.

Harlene Andersen: Social Constructionist Ideas About Psychotherapy

Harlene discusses the transformative nature of social constructionist therapy. How the process of the relationship, a dialogic conversation, a mutual puzzling with the client leads to change. She addresses topics of managed-care and insurance, the mandated client, the “not-knowing” posture, and who gets seen in therapy. How she reflects what her clients are talking about is addressed and how her work resembles Rogerian work and how her intention is different.
Online
2017; 2000
5.

Scott Miller: Continuing the Journey - Further Conversations About What Works

An update on, "What Works." This interview is a follow-up to Heart & Soul of Change and together offer a fairly complete view of what Scott Miller and his group are offering as a way to conduct therapy.
Online
2017; 2007
6.

Scott Miller: Heart, Soul and Research in Psychotherapy

An interview with Scott Miller, Ph.D. Scott Miller and Dave Clark are having a conversation about the work that has been important to Scott. Prediction of outcome, models and techniques vs. therapeutic alliance, measures of feedback and supervision are part of the discussion. The common factors that work across all therapies, the heart and soul of clinical work, are discussed as is the very large desire for psychotherapy to be seen as an equal with psychiatry. Suggestions for monitoring feedback from clients and ideas about what contributes to success in therapy are offered.
Online
2017; 2000
7.

Susan B. Levin: When Battering Occurs

This interview discusses violence in relationships and what we as therapists can contribute to our clients in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. Sue discusses some of her research, difficulties with labeling, political implications of labeling and the difficulties involved in the languaging of violence. Some client cases and the resources available for them are discussed as well as the difficulties that occur after a violent relationship ends. Sue works from the Collaborative Language model and talks about the “not-knowing” stance.
Online
2017; 2002
8.

Lynn Hoffman: An Intimate History of Family Therapy

In an intimate conversation with Harlene Anderson, Lynn Hoffman discusses the evolution of the postmodern edge of family therapy. Hoffman has been the historian of many of the theories developed in family therapy and her relationships with the pioneers of these ideas. Particular attention is focused on the early eighties where she describes the differences in the views of the epistemologists (who were contruct-ivists and engineers) and the practitioners of family therapy. She also discusses the dilemma of finding the clinical work of social constructionism disappointing to audiences, questioning if they have preconceived ideas about what it is to be in conversation. This is an informative interview for those who don’t yet understand social constructionist ideas.
Online
2017; 2007
9.

David Paré: Narrative and Collaborative Therapies - Blurring the Boundaries or Integrating Practices

David Paré, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottowa. He is co-editor of two new books this year: Collaborative Practice in Psychology and Therapy (with G. Larner); and Furthering Talk: Advances in the Discursive Therapies (with T. Strong). He is interested in postmodern theory and practice in counseling, social constructionism, narrative and collaborative therapies, reflecting teamwork and epistemological issues in counseling and therapy. How he has utilized both his extensive narrative background and social constructionist ideas, evolving a therapeutic harmony of these two related yet different methods is the subject of this interview.
Online
2017; 2003
10.

James and Melissa Griffith: Co-Creating Conversations

An Interview with James & Melissa Griffith. The Griffiths discuss how they work with somatic illness and through a case description give a detailed example of this work. Their sensitivity to class, race, ethnicity, spirituality and humanity are made transparent through their sharing a case. They tell a story of the treatment of a young man with severe mental illness, who was brought to this country by his mother. She believed he could be helped, even though she had repeatedly been told that he was hopeless. The Griffiths mix spirituality and political beliefs with medication and caring to assist this family to re-write their story of a possible future.
Online
2017; 2001
11.

Mary and Kenneth J. Gergen: Positive Aging

In an interview with the Gergens, Ken talks about the Social Construction of the concept of declining with advancing years and feeling a personal challenge to change that meaning for himself. Mary discuses the pleasure she derives from undermining a popular cultural myth. Aging is a lamination of all of the skills and experiences we have had and it leads to an accumulation rather than a depletion of resources. Their online newsletter on positive aging, a research based online journal is discussed.
Online
2017; 2006
12.

Raymond Madsen: Alcoholism as a Social Construction

The historical perspective of Alcoholics Anonymous including its roots in a spiritual movement and the success rates associated with this treatment are discussed. Jellinek’s contribution and the origins of the “disease” model are traced as well as alternative treatment methods (RR, SOS, Women for Sobriety, Moderation Management). The difficulties with the court mandating treatment with AA are examined. Goals of treatment and questions about sobriety are discussed. The Constructionist solution for sobriety is described as a more collaborative approach, which has a heightened awareness of the influence of the treating environment. Treatment includes a dialogical process which honors the client’s goals.
Online
2017; 2002
13.

Diana Whitney: The Social Construction of Spirituality

In this 39 minute DVD, Diana discusses spirituality as a dominant discourse of these times. Knowing that there is a path and how to get back on the path when you fall off, opening to the divine, the mystery, the unknown are important aspects of spirituality. In the wisdom traditions, it is prophesied that the time would come when the world order would change and that we would experience a spiritual renaissance and that in order for the return of the light we must go through the darkness. At these times we are living through the darkness in which the light is reawakening. What enlightened beings have to show us, what creates “sacred space,” Jesus, Buddhism, Native American and Taoist beliefs are included in this rich discussion. We need conversations about the kind of world that we wa [...]
Online
2017; 2000
14.

Kenneth Gergen: Foundational Ideas in Social Construction

That everything is relational is the basic supposition that Gergen begins talking about in this conversation about the basic ideas that underlie social constructionism. Everything we talk about is from a set of relationships and each has its’ own vocabulary which will construct you differently. We can make language be a map. In the 20th century, the natural sciences became the "keeper of the truth." Social construction attempts to have no one be the keeper of the truth. It undermines ideas of "truth" and is an invitation into a set of relationships.
Online
2017; 2000
15.

Mary and Kenneth J. Gergen: Performative Psychology - the Embodiment of Emotions

The Gergens demonstrate the power of embodiment of emotion rather than just talking about feelings in this brief and amusing interview. They also recommend some helpful exercises for students.
Online
2017; 2003
16.

Shelia McNamee: Relational Responsibility

Sheila McNamee addresses the relativistic perspective of social constructionism, clarifying that it is not rampant relativism where "anything goes." Critics of social constructionism believe it is immoral, unethical and allows irresponsible sorts of behaviors or positions within the theory at large. We need to refigure morality and responsibility. We are attentive to our processes of relating and recognize that we are a part of whatever happens but that we can't do this without the other. We create our identities in our relationships, even create our relationships in relation to others. We start with the premise that all meaning arises in relation to others. Sheila redefines conflict through relational lenses. Additionally she elaborates four different discourses from the Relational [...]
Online
2017; 2000
17.

Sheila McNamee: Social Construction Ideas About Research

The dilemma that social constructionists face when we think that traditional researchers are “doing the real work” is addressed. Looking at research through the metaphor of “conversation” is the basis for her description of how research is socially constructed. Using ADHD as an example, she demonstrates the multiple descriptions that those who are involved embrace as the stories about ADHD. Who do we interview? Who do we observe? Who do we choose not to interview? Issues of validity and reliability are discussed as she describes the different kinds of conversation that are traditional and social constructionist research.
Online
2017; 2000
18.

Shelia McNamee: Forgiveness - a Workshop

In a workshop format Sheila McNamee leads a conversation about apology as contrasted with forgiveness. The relational nature of apology us the heart of this discussion, as someone has to accept an apology in order for forgiveness to occur. The members of the workshop participate to arrive at the nature of true forgiveness.
Online
2017; 2006