“But who knows what autism is?” Negotiating the notion of autism during free associative narrative interviews with psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Konstantinos Georgiou, David Winter, Steve Davies, A. Katsiana

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Abstract

Background: Critically informed discursive research has rarely been used to capture the way psychoanalytic psychotherapists organize their talk with regards to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Objective: To understand the language about autism in psychoanalytic talk in terms of i) interpretive repertoires, ii) subject positions and iii) autistic ways of being that circulate inside psychoanalysts’ discourses. Methods: This paper presents the data and findings of a critical discursive psychological research which analyzed the talk of eight experienced psychoanalysts. As part of a wider research project this study strived to provide an understanding of the way autism was deployed in free associative narrative interviews. Results: Focusing on the micro and the macro level of discourse, the analysis of the data pointed to a rather dilemmatic framework mobilizing therapeutic talk. This frame work was organised around a quadrant of interpretive repertoires, which on the one hand fought against the traditional medicalized discourses about autism, while on the other repositioned autism in the same subordinate positions crafted by biomedical regimes. Conclusion: A need for breaking from this rather malleable discursive ecosystem is advocated in order to give life to a more democratic let alone emancipating clinical and political environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138–144
Number of pages7
JournalMateria Sociomedica
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

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