Zoltán Terenyi: Psychotherapy as social institution: Where is the place for psychotherapeutic knowledge?

This paper supports the interpretation of complex changes featuring the current community of psychotherapists. While we see basic changes in institutional structures realizing the social practice of psychotherapy, the practice in itself as communicative base remains a stable constituent. How can be all the practices with different settings and conditions accepted and classified as psychotherapy? What sort of knowledge can be the essential constituent of practice? What differences can we see from inside, from the perspective of the professional community and from outside, from the wider point of view of society? The competencies related to different abilities are focused on the communicative scene of the therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapy as social institution will be analysed by the following categories: special features and scenes of signification, agents belonging to the community, ability and access connected with the institutional code, and legitimating of institution. Description of psychotherapy as social institution from a communicative theoretical point of view favours reflection on changing psychotherapy practice, and highlights the relations of agents of the psychotherapy scene.

Keywords: psychotherapy – institution – communication – legitimating – ability

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