Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OBJECTIVITY AND THE CLINICAL SETTING: A REVISED MODEL OF DETACHMENT - Talk by Asha Achuthan in PG Department of Psychology, Christ University

This talk will try to raise questions about methodologies at work in the mental health disciplines. Therapy may generally be said to have stayed within identitarian modes, whether treatment options be individualised or community-based, whether they be reliant on the testimony of the ‘client’ or the ‘signs’ exhibited by the ‘patient’. This might be seen as a way to retain the best of both worlds – the need for objective assessments as well as the need to let the client speak for herself and of her experience; in other words, retain both objectivity and subjective value. This reflects on the models of knowledge at work in mental health disciplines in particular and the world of science at large. Is there, however, a way to access the subject without falling into the boundedness of identity and its classifications? Is there a way to mobilise experience without a wholesale rejection of the objective? Is it possible to mobilise experience as a category in order to arrive at a truth of the subject that is not exact or final? This talk will be an exercise in trying to chart a revised model for objectivity, drawing on the promise of dialogues between psychoanalysis, ethnography, and science – all of which have commitments to truth, knowledge, as well as origin, in different ways. The exercise will rely somewhat heavily on three impulses drawn from Lacan - his separation of experience from the experimental, his reclaiming of the ‘conjectural’, subjective sciences as the desired approach, and his separation of truth from exactitude.

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