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Abstract

The limits of Henriques' “overarching conceptions” approach to defining psychology is first tested by comparing and contrasting his conceptions to two burgeoning movements within psychology: qualitative research and spiritual therapy strategies. These movements were selected because they represent many other fragments of a fragmented psychology that could fall outside Henriques' disciplinary matrix. This comparison reveals how the broader discipline of psychology resists propositional definitions, such as Henriques' proposal. As the later work of Wittgenstein (1958) reveals, one cannot unite the various language games of a discipline's discourse communities through common overarching features. Next, another approach to unification and definition is outlined—hermeneutic dialogue. Unlike an overarching framework, hermeneutic dialogue does not require “joint points.” In fact, it assumes that the richness and vitality of a discipline can be drained away by such “unifying” principles. Instead, hermeneutic dialogue is a way of relating and unifying while preserving the integrity and identity of even incommensurable factions within a discipline. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol.