Historical Article: Discourses in the Mirrored Room: A Postmodern Analysis of Therapy. Rachel Hare-Mustin (USA)
Another classic and must read from the great feminist scholar/family therapist Rachel Hare-Mustin. If you were to poll ‘1st wave’ narrative therapists in North America they would tell you how Rachel’s articles have always had an inspired and long lasting influence. VSNT faculty writing/teaching, our annual conferences, and many of the training we do include her ideas. Enjoy.
“Discourse” comes from the Latin root discurrere, which means “to run around,” and different and competing discourses circulate in the culture. However, not all circulating discourses are of equal importance; some have a privileged and dominant influence on language, thought, and action. The dominant discourses both produce and are produced by social interaction, a particular language community, and the socioeconomic context. Once designations in language become accepted, a speaker using the language is constrained by such designations in communication with others and in the generation of ideas as well. In this way, language structures one’s own experience of “reality” as well as the experiences of those with whom one communicates. When a group of people talk and relate among themselves in familiar ways, much of their talk reflects and reinstates dominant discourses. Moreover, because dominant discourses are so familiar, they are taken for granted and even recede from view. It is hard to question them.
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