Is psychotherapy a science?
Or is it an ideology?
Does it work through indoctrination?
Or is it a conversation?
John Eaton discusses these questions using materials from Freud, Reich, Lazarus, Wolpe and Eysenck as well as critiques of psychotherapy from Szasz, Gellner, Labov & Fanshel, Wittgenstein, Foucault and Gadamer.
He analyses transcripts from therapeutic interviews by Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis and Fritz Perls (the 'Gloria' tapes) and others, and shows how psychotherapy is a special type of conversation marked by arguments, metaphors, stories, scripts, formulations and other persuasive devices. Much depends on whether clients can find a use for them.
Finally he discusses how hermeneutics helps us to understand the pitfalls of interpretations and the way in which their use can make for success or failure in therapy.