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From “Mind-forg’d Manacles” to “Interior Paramour”:  Literary motifs and language choices in construing the psychotherapeutic notion of analogical “fit”

From “Mind-forg’d Manacles” to “Interior Paramour”: Literary motifs and language choices in construing the psychotherapeutic notion of analogical “fit”

The co-ordinationof factors in human consciousness referred to as the “self” is rarely accorded the organic status bestowed on it by Hughlings Jackson (see Meares 1999) and William James in the C19th and elaborated in psychotherapy by Hobson and Meares in the Conversational Model (CM: Meares 2012), and by Damasio in the “biological idiom” of contemporary neuroscience (2010).  Nevertheless, any ambivalence in scientific and medical attitudes to the self as an essential object of medical focus runs contrary to overwhelming phenomena: namely, the social effects of trauma and the personal effect that a stricken “self” has upon the individual human condition (see Haliburn 2017). 

In this talk, I will review linguistic and literary motifs that may assist in understanding the idea of analogical ‘fit’ in the interaction between psychotherapist and those who carry with them their experience of trauma.  

Meares has himself used examples from writers and scientists to throw light on this mercurial but crucial notion (Meares 2016). The therapist is seeking to establish a ‘centre that will hold’ by meeting the patient at a juncture of meanings that re-energises what was an inert core of being.  Such catalytic meanings are realised in the relationship; and this suggests that we need to consider the parameters of the therapeutic context, as well as the discourse,in order to characterise conversation in the Conversational Model.  These two dimensions of meaning – wording and context – can be consistently mapped, and such maps may assist in anticipating the options and the complexities through which analogical ‘fit’ is created, and by which the measurable results of the Conversational Model are achieved.m

Areas of Interest / Categories: ANZAP 2018, Language, Trauma