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Parallels between Writing Biographies and Clinical Practice

Impact. Influence. Value.

Esther Urdang

978-0-87101-450-4. 2014. Item No: 4504. 304 pages.

 

 

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Parallels between Writing Biographies and Clinical Practice: Impact. Influence. Value offers clinicians an in-depth understanding of the commonalities between the psychological and intellectual processes involved in writing biographical works and those involved in clinical practice. Although these processes often take place beneath the surface, both biographers and clinicians are subjectively involved in all aspects of their work, such as the biases of their theoretical positions and selection and evaluation of evidence.

In this book, lengthy life course portraits of six individuals are presented, vividly illustrating many key clinical concepts, such as the impact of the past, the development of attachments, the trauma of loss, and resilience. Examples include Rudyard Kipling's experience in a foster home, and the impact of blindness and separation on the writer Ved Mehta. This book addresses a need expressed by many practitioners and educators to reintegrate key clinical concepts into practice, such as understanding experiential worlds, applying psychodynamic knowledge, and developing self-aware empathic relationships with clients.

Each biographical narrative alternates with a relevant theoretical chapter, whose content addresses four major themes, integrated with the life course portraits:

  1. Biographers' and clinicians' relationships with their subjects/clients
  2. Examining how subjects/clients represent themselves and present their stories
  3. Understanding the complexities of collecting, evaluating, and interpreting evidence
  4. Studying the evolution of the life course, using the biopsychosocial perspective; illustrating the interweaving of the inner and outer lives of individuals.

Parallels between Writing Biographies and Clinical Practice is a resource intended for students, teachers, and practitioners in social work, and those in the human services and medical professions. It is also intended for a general audience, to heighten critical understanding and enjoyment in the reading of biographies.

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