Article: Narrative Therapy and Destabilizing Chronic Identities of Depression and Retirement. Stephen Madigan (Canada)

About this Session

Stephen teachingStephen’s classic article Destabilizing Chronic Identities of Depression and Retirement was written at the invitation of Professor Ian Parker, a post-structural theorist and critic of individualism based out of Manchester England (who Stephen and VSNT faculty hold in great esteem) as a contribution to his book Deconstructing Psychotherapy.

The article looks closely at the dominant western understanding of identity and how it is based in great measure on a liberal individualist framework which is maintained, and shaped through the institutions, discourse, and archives of science. The case study in the article outlines how Stephen practice goes forward after he receives a call from a local psychiatric ward asking if he would consider “counselling” Tom, a man the hospital staff stated they had “tried everything” on and described as “suicidal and depressed.” That “everything”, included 30 Electro Convulsive Therapy sessions within a twelve month period, six varieties of medication within a twelve month period, and a years worth of group and individual CBT counselling.


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