Research inquiry methods have advanced beyond the limitations of the modernism in the twentieth century, as evidenced by the understanding that researchers continue to garner using the first-person inquiry designs. The approach encompasses an array of approaches including soliloquy, narrative inquiry, Heuristic inquiry, performance ethnography, and auto-ethnography. This study postulates that although the contribution of the quantitative research is vital in contributing information about where, how many, and what in an inquiry, qualitative indicators are better suited to serve the why inquiry. First person inquiry approaches are qualitative approaches that facilitate the answering of such inquiries. Auto-ethnography is a research writing that uses writing, research, and stories in which the researcher is the subject and the data constitutes of the researcher's experiences. The research questions guiding the dissertation seeks to determine how the researcher relates with curiosity, irreverence and not knowing in the therapeutic space. Instead of utilizing themes from second or third person perspectives, autoethnographies invite the researcher to create a path for the emergence of archetypal objects to emerge, facilitated by the unconscious data synthesis process, thus creating potentially universal viewpoints to the inquiry. Memory, videotapes, friends and lecturer's commentary and a reflective journal are critical data sources that provide detailed narratives that help the researcher to make findings. The findings indicate that systemic psychotherapy proves to be a pertinent problem solver for psychological issues relating to families and couples.
Psychotherapy is a series of healing conversations, which provides clients with an opportunity to heal their inner emotional hurt or wound that influence specific behavioral traits. The therapeutic relationship has been a much-discussed topic with different researchers and authors putting their views as to how the relationship should be fostered. This MSc thesis relates to my relationship with curiosity, irreverence, and not knowing as well as their relevance in systemic psychotherapy. It is important to note that systemic psychotherapy is a very specific form of psychotherapy. This is due to the fundamental philosophical underpinnings that it is based on. This fact is reiterated by Flemons, Green, and Rambo (1996) who insist that teachers and supervisors in therapeutic programs should pay respectful heed to postmodern ideas of social constructionism and the settings that they work on. Therefore, my area of inquiry in this thesis will have an overall impression on how social constructionism is vital in fostering success in systemic therapy. This relates to factors such as curiosity and how it occurs as well as how therapists should engage both the client and their self in the process.
Noticeably, therapists should engage in self-reflection quite often and examine their relationship with the clients in the therapeutic space so that they can improve their ability to look into the problem from the client's eyes. Rober (2002) supports this notion as he claims that therapists should be aware of themselves whenever in therapy where both the client and the therapist must be proactively involved.
One of the most assumed factors about systemic psychotherapy is the benefit of irreverence to the process. I have used works from several authors to discuss the importance and relevance of irreverence in systemic psychotherapy. McNamee (2005) states that a therapeutic alliance should be a question of "how" rather than "what". From this knowledge, I delved into various articles from relevant researchers and found out the significant contributions that the pioneer of family therapy, Gianfranco Cecchin had on the field. By virtue of being irreverent even in otherwise ordinary contexts such as when he had a walk along the river Thames with Susan Lang (Hanks, Stratton & Lang, n.d.), I have provided a systematic and enlightening analysis of how irreverence can be used to maintain a warm and productive relationship between the therapist and the client.
I have used some articles to connect and evaluate my relationship with curiosity, irreverence, and not knowing in the literature review. One of the most significant materials that have aided in providing light to this study is McNamee (2010) article which looks into the "self beyond words" in the sense of there being a place for individual subjectivity within a social constructionist epistemology. This article is crucial because I want the reader to look at systemic psychotherapy from a social constructionist view. Attention has also been drawn to the diversity presented in the field and why curiosity and not knowing to prove to be pertinent factors for developing systemic psychotherapy. One significant point to pick from this is that not knowing should not be seen as a point of panic but as the beginning of knowledge as I will illustrate later on in the literature. The literature is written in a first-person inquiry as I sought to bring the reader into my world where they can compare and learn about the social constructionist perspective of systemic psychotherapy.
As a therapist, I often explore the wonder, and interest of clients in the treatment sessions, a technique that is often referred to as professional curiosity. However, some clients, especially children and adolescents often detach from such a reaction of curiosity by withdrawing or bristling whenever they are confronted with my curiosity. Nurturing a relationship with me sometimes creates some level of discomfort with the client especially if the client interprets the situation as one of dependence on. Such interruptions can happen abruptly whereas others develop over the timeframe of the treatment sessions. Often, when such a scenario occurs, it is influenced by the clients' desire to replay the rupture in the relationships that were experienced when the individual expressed curiosity in the life of other individuals who were somehow embedded in their life. Accordingly, it is crucial that I express personal initiatives and curiosity towards vital parties who influence their lives. Such occurrences present the opportunity for me to comprehend the dynamics as well as original ruptures that enable the parties to harness some therapeutic focus.
I use curiosity and irreverence in the therapeutic space to understand the history of the patient as well as how such historical occurrences interact with the prevailing problems or issues displayed by the patient. Both aspects have a special ability to connect the past and the present with the patients' difficulties, and by integrating the clients' responses, I can create and implement an individualized treatment approach. Moreover, my curiosity can enlighten clients about their cognitive functions, thus enabling them to develop the capacity to refrain from impulse and rather focus on their capacity to regulate their feelings. Such clients develop the ability to tolerate discomfort, seek help and security from other people, learn to show love, and reflect on the implications of their feelings and emotions. These tasks enable them to create an integrated and healthier self, compared to a client of a therapist who refrains from indulging in curiosity, irreverence, and not knowing in the therapeutic space. However, not knowing is an elusive aspect of the therapeutic space, which I cannot control and I am still learning to embrace. An ideal therapy session is whereby we have simple answers and solutions to questions. However, pushing for answers too soon and before developing insights prevents us from dwelling on the questions, feelings, fantasies, and the unknown. Most often, yet surprisingly, valuable insights develop from not knowing since suspending the mandate to have all the answers enables us to build on emotions, deep wisdom, and intuition, all of which grow from being deeply curious and irreverent.
Purpose of the Study
This study examines my relationship with curiosity, irreverence, and not knowing in the therapeutic space. My inherent nature as a human being and a therapist is to wonder about how everything works. My line of work demands that I formulate millions of questions that range from gender to social constructs and nature since it enhances problem-solving skills and abilities. I aim to conduct an auto-ethnography by focusing on my relationship with curiosity to determine whether it improves my creative abilities and leads to higher education levels. I realize that having such a deep-seated interest in the lives of clients and patients has unconscious roots that transform into an insatiable curiosity. In the auto-ethnography, I will determine how my application of irreverence in assessing a wide range of human activities and experiences facilitates my ability to comprehend the situation as well as recognize the unconscious impulse that clarifies information about the psychological mechanisms involved in the therapeutic space. Despite having so much curiosity, I do not have all the answers. It is human nature to feel that knowing and having it all figured out is emancipating, but my experiences with some clients have made me realize that not knowing is an immaculate part of the therapeutic space. In this study, I strive to determine and establish the type of relationship I have developed with not knowing, and the bearing that it has in making me freer to find out about myself and understand how my psyche works, which problems I face in the therapeutic space, and how to move forward. So far, curiosity, irreverence, and not knowing have been fundamental resources in helping me to understand my place in the universe. Accordingly, these three aspects are a fundamental resource for growth and findin...
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