>I enjoyed reading your paper for several reasons. My exposure to the uses
>of Vygotskian psychology has been limited to issues of education and perhaps
>more generally childhood development, socialization, etc. Your paper had
>the effect of broadening that perspective and reminding me (and I imagine
>others) that the founders of what has come to be called CHAT were deeply
>concerned with the other key problems of psychology.
>I also was glad to see you point out that the CHAT perspective originated
>"in the comparative, experimental method" and would certainly have liked to
>see this elaborated a bit more. I'm not sure if I agree with the conclusion
>that CHAT is "well in line with a positivist approach in science" however.
>The positivist approach has a lot of presuppositions that are contradictory
>to the fundamental proposition of all dialectical materialist thought
>concerning the nature of objectivity and truth, a tradition in which
>Vygotsky placed himself well before it had become a necessity of survival in
>Russia. Nevertheless, what it does point to is the compatibility of
>comparative, experimental work within dialectical materialism, something
>that is not usually acknowledged or investigated.
Good point, I meant the latter and clearly "well in line" is misleading..
and inaccurate re. obj. reality to be discovered etc by the nauive l.
positivists,, I meant the experimental,scientific approach .
(although l positivism seems useful when the phenom is not as culturally
relative, constructed etc...like an AIDS or autism,or schizophrenia. cure??)
>This brings me to one of the major questions that emerged for me while
>reading your paper: who needs therapy and what are the definitions of the
>sane, well-adjusted, healthy personality, etc. Tt can't simply be some
>alleged "happiness" of the individual. To me this is a central problem and
>one that is not simply restricted to what the psychotherapeutic community
>defines the healthy state to be. For example, the prevailing definitions of
>healthy sexuality in our society create incredible problems for people who
>don't fit them which in turn can lead to a lot of other problems. This is
>especially the case when the emergence of the nonconforming sexual
>orientation interacts in the growing child with other aspects of
>socialization potentially leading to other forms of behavior that are
>defined as pathological. These latter forms, as we have seen, have then
>been treated as effects of the non-conforming sexual orientation at the
>level of therapy.
Oh yes, electroshock, let's blank the slate...as you've seen in the Nate
post, we're on the same page here, seems then relevant to the power/size
of various communities of practice here, voice and lack thereof..
>But the change in these social definitions, and the person's own relation to
>their endogenic characteristics, occurs through a complex but clear process
>of social mobilization, through what is called a "movement" perhaps, and not
>through individual therapy.
I find the concept
Hilarious and even anal....
but seriously, would'nt someone in theraop who as a result is able to
resolve an issue with external assistance (not only the therapist's but
also say bibliotherapy or other forms of paricipation w/ peers and
advanced/less advanced" others, would the not also have a "movement"??
>Your examples from the work of Vygotsky and Luria on defectology skirt the
>issue to some degree in as much as they deal primarily with the consequences
>of physical impairments such as blindness, deafness, brain damage, etc. but
>the problem reemerges when you say that "Ritalin is thge Braille of the ADHD
>child; Lithium is the sign language that allows the manic-depressive to
>function in society." These categories: ADHD, manic-depressive, already
>interpret certain individual qualities in certain ways, with respect to a
>certain framework of values. At other levels of social evolution, the very
>qualities that seem to be included in these categories were the basis for
>special and often very prestigious roles in the society such as the capacity
>to be a shaman. Returning to the example of sexual orientation, it is quite
>clear that the native american "berdache" role provided a significant,
>fulfilling, and potentially honored participation for people who in our
>society are branded as deviant; e.g., caring for orphans.
>As always I think of Vygotsky doing just what he said he was: developing the
>pscyhological component of dialectical materialism. I can't but wonder if
>people who are excessively greedy, people that our society rewards,
>wouldn't come to be seen as in great need of psychotherapy in a communist
In fact they have, we have had instances of that....from retraining of the
bourgeoise in Cuba to the K. Rouge..
and I see what you mean about the constructed pathology by one group that
can be imposed upon another.
I guess following the old practice of distinguishing psychotic from
neurotic disorders,, we might postulate that the latter are more soc.
constructed, context dependent that the former which oftem times are more
so perhaps there is a continnum extending from how social
conflicts/relation produce indiv. illness to the other extreme of how
"indiv. Biochem. disease produce social difficulties etc...
BTW, I'm glad u brought Carl into this, his book is quite helpful in this
regard (madness etc)
>So that is the crux of my reaction to your paper. How do we fit the
>maladjusted personality within the social processes -- which maladjustments
>are in fact the seeds of the well adjusted psychology of the emerging
>society. Freud, that great champion of adjustment to normalcy, traced
>revolutionary aspirations to unresolved Oedipal issues in "Civilization and
>it Discontents", and I think that people nowadays who still harbor such
>aspirations are often viewed as having unresolved, individual, psychological
>problems. Certainly Vygotsky could not have been moving in that direction.
>In this sense a CHAT-oriented psychotherapy really seems quite distant from
>any positivist psychology since somehow it must allow for encouraging
>certain maladjustments since that is the only locus through which the
>broader processes of historical change can unfold.
this is where i see the double sword ...if you live thru Chat, you also get
done in by CHAT, so the whole prospect of havin a chat based psychtherapy
model becomes problematic the moment you instantiate it or formalize it.
I am much more confortable with proposing that we first educate would-be
therapists in this dialectical approach to inform their practices and keep
them in perspective rather than prescribing a chat practice, " here is how
you do CHAT based psychotherapy, find the zpd , practice the 1st Law
....etc )and on & on.
A Chat perspective in this field also raises ethical issues once we
suspect the social origins of some disorders and also the role of
social/educ policies witha particular socio-economic structure..
>As a final query, I wonder where you situate RD Laing's work with psychotics
>in all of this. If there is anyone who springs immediately to mind in
>relation to a psychotherapeutic ZPD, it is he.
Yes, RD got there w/out chat and others concerned more with subjective
reality and the client's phenom world (Rogers, existentialist approaches...)
again, thanks for the comments..let's see what carl and others think..Ole
Drier also needs to be included as he is using AT in dealiong with family
Pedro R. Portes
Educational Psychology & Counseling
"..the true teacher is that teacher who constructs
his own educational work not (just) by inspiration,
but on the basis of scientific knowldege.
Science is the truest path to the mastery of life. "
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