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Semantic Polarities and Psychopathologies in the Family: Permitted and Forbidden Stories

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Semantic Polarities and Psychopathologies in the Family: Permitted and Forbidden Stories.pdf | Language: English

The gap between psychotherapeutic practice and clinical theory is ever widening. Therapists still don’t know what role interpersonal relations play in the development of the most common psychopathologies. Valeria Ugazio bridges this gap by examining phobias, obsessive-compulsions, eating disorders, and depression in the context of the family, using an intersubjective approach to personality. Her concept of “semantic polarities” gives a groundbreaking perspective to the construction of meaning in the family and other interpersonal contexts. At no point is theory left in the wasteland of abstraction. The concreteness of the many case studies recounted, and examples taken from well-known novels, will allow readers to immediately connect the topics discussed with their own experience.

Valeria Ugazio, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Coordinator of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate program at the University of Bergamo, Italy, and the Scientific Director of the European Institute of Systemic-relational Therapies.

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  • PDF | 344 pages
  • Routledge; 1 edition (April 19, 2013)
  • English
  • 5
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Review Text

  • By Ken Stewart on September 3, 2013

    Dr. Ugazio has provided us with an unusual blend of social constructionism, systems theory, and depth psychology in her extensive study of four disorders (phobic, eating, obsessive compulsive, and depressive) - and the ways that the families with a member with a particular disorder - socially constructs reality along various semantic polarities. The notion that we implicitly construct our realities along polarities: freedom vs. dependency; success vs. failure, good vs. evil, and belonging vs. denied belonging - makes such perfect sense - and it was under our noses all this time. I've started using her ideas with various clients of mine and her research has proven to be very useful to me clinically and philosophically. She is not only a thorough qualitative researcher, she is a lover of stories and a great storyteller in her own right. In a work that is dense with theoretical and clinical material, it is a real "page turner" - one that's hard to put down. Yet, I go back to it again and again for it's richness and it's depth - within and across generations. I've been doing clinical work with families for 38 years, and am fairly jaded by uninspired offerings in my field, yet her work is a delightful tour of clinical and epistemological thought.

  • By Johanna Lamm on October 27, 2013

    I would recommend this book to psychologists, psychiatrists, and all who work in the mental health field, as well as those who wish to better understand how family patterns affect individual functioning.

  • By Gene B. on July 8, 2016

    My partner the counselor likes this.

  • By Carmen Dell'Aversano on May 26, 2013

    Since I first read the Italian edition of this book http://www.amazon.it/permesse-proibite-semantiche-familiari-psicopatologie/dp/8833958337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369570883&sr=1-1&keywords=storie+permesse I have been recommending it to colleagues and friends the world over, and wishing for an English translation to come out so that researchers and practitioners everywhere could finally have access to a ground-breaking work. My wishes have finally been granted.Valeria Ugazio's most important insight is to recognize the role of the meanings around which exchanges within the family are structured in building the personality. In different families, conversations between family members highlight different character qualities, values, aims and achievements; in each family, this will lead to certain "stories" (life narratives) becoming "permitted" for a child, and to different ones remaining "forbidden". This shared construction of meaning will shape both the path of normal development and that of psychopathology. In Part II of the book Ugazio examines the four semantics which underlie four common classes of disorders: the semantic of freedom (phobic disorders) the semantic of good and evil (obsessive-compulsive disorders), the semantic of power (anorexia, bulimia, and other eating problems) and the semantic of denied belonging (depression).From the first reading, I have been captured by the way Ugazio's theoretical insights are fleshed out and made palpably real by a wealth of enlightening references to case histories and to the ways the relatively abstract semantics are embodied in actual exchanges and memorable episodes in each individual family. In this intellectually groundbreaking work theoretical progress springs directly from clinical practice, from a unique ability to listen to patients in their own terms and to make sense of their troubles in a way that they will perceive as meaningful and empathic.As innovative theoretically as it is full of insights about the practice of therapy, Semantic Polarities and Psychopathologies in the Family: Permitted and Forbidden Stories is a book to savour slowly and to come back to again and again both for intellectual stimulation and for concrete suggestions about therapeutic technique.


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