Karen Frewin

Theorising ‘Self’: Postructuralist Interpretations of Self Construction and Psychotherapy

by Karen Frewin
School of Psychology, Massey University, New Zealand
November, 2002

Through post-structuralist theory, this study offers a critical view of relationships between self and psychotherapy. It suggests that ‘belief systems’ concerning the self are embodied in institutional and technical practices through which forms of individuality are specified and governed. It proposes that psychotherapy, as ‘modern knowledge and expertise’ of the psyche plays a role in the stimulation of subjectivity. Making use of narrative inquiry and psychotherapeutics as devices of access to self-engagement, it argues that psychotherapeutics are psychological intervention technologies of domination and power that function to assist the assemblage of selves. This study originates through an assumption that psychological knowledge contributes to the way we are in the world, and that we are often produced with little knowledge of production processes.