Theorising medical psychotherapy: therapeutic practice between professionalisation and deprofessionalisation

  • Psychotherapists in mental health institutions as a professional group are part of the medical system, and from this perspective, as representing an occupation that serves the public health interests, as well as those of the individual seeking help. Despite the different existing therapeutic approaches and diverse forms of therapy deriving from these approaches critical theories, however, consider psychotherapy as a profession with a specific jurisdictional claim and own highly specific interests. In contrast to most of the recent discussion around therapy culture, in this article, I argue that sociology and social theory could benefit from an understanding of psychotherapy as a profession with a separate logic and claim for jurisdiction for mental health. Moreover, I present some general trends showing that, regarding psychotherapy, we face a concurrence of a professionalisation, and simultaneously, an already ongoing deprofessionalisation. To develop my argument, I first discuss the perspectives of sociology of the psychotherapy professions. Second, I present the potential lack of professionalism in four dimensions. Third, I discuss possible tendencies of deprofessionalisation. Finally, I conclude by pointing out the importance of theorising the psychotherapy professions for medical sociology.

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Author:Sabine Flick
Parent Title (English):European journal of social theory
Publisher:Sage Publ.
Place of publication:London [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/10/05
Date of first Publication:2020/10/05
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/09/28
Tag:mental health; profession; psychotherapy; sociology; therapeutic practice
Page Number:19
First Page:227
Last Page:245
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG-geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht