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December 2021

Modern and postmodern approaches to the free will/determinism dilemma in psychotherapy

Author(s): Fisher, A. M.

Journal/Book: J Hum Psychol. 2000; 40: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 80-107.

Abstract: Although modernists in psychology have attempted to cast the free will/determinism dilemma as either settled or irrelevant, it continues to enfeeble theory, therapy, and practice. The primary reason for this continuing enfeeblement is the modern dualistic framework for this dilemma: Either the will (choices, decisions, motives) is dependent on antecedent conditions and thus is determined or the will is independent of antecedent conditions and thus is free. This framework, however, is not supported by current research and practical experience, indicating that the will is inextricably connected to the past but is not determined by it. A postmodern framework for thisissue, which resolves the free will/determinism dilemma (at least on this point) and is consonant with research findings and therapeutic practice, is outlined. A therapy case is described to illustrate this modern dilemma and its postmodern resolution.

Note: Article Slife BD, Brigham Young Univ, Dept Psychol, Clin Psychol Program, 1072 SWKT, Provo,UT 84602 USA


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