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Discourses in the Mirrored Room: A Postmodern Analysis of Therapy


  • Based in part on an address presented at the International Conference on “Narrative and Psychotherapy: New Directions in Theory and Practice for the 21st Century,” Houston TX, May 1991.


A postmodern approach is used to examine the discourses that circulate in the therapy room. Dominant discourses support and reflect the prevailing ideologies in the society. Three ready examples concern gender relations: the male sex drive discourse, the permissive discourse, and the marriage-between-equals discourse. I point out how the therapy room is a mirrored room that can reflect back only the discourses brought to it by the family and therapist. There is a predetermined content in the conversation of therapy: that provided by the dominant discourses of the language community and culture. I suggest that therapists need to develop a reflexive awareness if muted discourses are to enter the mirrored room.