2004
Volume 107, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

In this paper we dispute what seems an obvious truism these days: that increasing the influence of scientific research on psychotherapy is a good thing. We begin with an exploration of two distinct capacities that contribute in significant ways to human flourishing: knowledge and love. We then argue that modern society rather onesidedly capitalizes on the growth of scientific knowledge. This has an important drawback because the dominant model of growth presupposed in scientific research is built on the idea of reducing the potentially disturbing influence of the subjective engagement of the scientist with the object of knowledge. This is ordinarily quite a fruitful idea that has, however, paradoxically bad effects in evidence-based therapy. This is the case, we argue, because in a scientifically informed therapy the therapist should, in some sense, try to be blind to the effects of his expertise on his clients’ expectations of his expertise. A scientific, disengaged perspective therefore frustrates the therapist’s need to invest in the formation of a charitable relationship with his clients. Next we argue that the popular prejudice against love – that it is blind – is not as plausible as it is considered to be. To be sure, love invites cognition to accept a subservient role, but, we argue, this has some advantages too. It encourages the lover to discern particularly positive and promising features of the object of his love, and this, we argue, is crucial to a successful therapy in two ways. On the one hand, the therapist needs to engage with these positive and promising features to succeed in building the needed charitable relationship with his clients. And on the other hand clients often go into therapy because they lack access to their own positive and promising features and are therefore unable to entertain a charitable relationship with themselves. We conclude that with respect to psychotherapy there might be good reason for contemporary society to capitalize on the growth of love, rather than the growth of knowledge.

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2015-05-03
2021-10-24
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