Psychosocial reflexivity in counseling education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Within recent years, counseling and psychotherapeutic training has become increasingly informed by postcolonial critiques and social justice movements toward more politically progressive teaching and therapeutic practice. This chapter contradicts the linear continuum of a better future by attending, instead, to the affective forces that “drag” us, the trainers and the trainees, the contemporary university, and its academic citizens, back into the grip of a perpetual present characterized by relational failings, antagonisms, and crises. By mobilizing the inside knowledge of the reflexive subject to elaborate on and critique these ethical struggles, including one’s own participation in them, we are in a better position to attend to the question of what these failures “know.” The critical potential of psychosocial reflexivity is further exemplified through the transformation of the psychoanalytic concept of “psychic retreat” into a psychosocial one. The former refers to the subject taking refuge in a particular narcissistic organization to avoid the humiliation of (not) being seen. The latter reconsiders this psychic mechanism as what may open up a space for “self-maintenance” which affords radical suspension of moral judgments against the self and others. In this space, the subject can better sit with the troubled knowledge about the self and resist the psy-complex which compels investments in an idealized identity. A psychosocial articulation therefore recognizes the mutually constitutive relations between the psyche and the social. It allows us to attend to the many paradoxes and unrelenting complexities within our subjectivity, which are necessary for reinventing new, complex, and esthetic forms of lived experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies
EditorsStephen Frosh, Marita Vyrgioti, Julie Walsh
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030615109
ISBN (Print)9783030615109
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • reflexivity
  • psy-complex
  • counseling education
  • relational ethics
  • decolonization


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