Experiences and facts: Scientificity and scientism in clinical psychology

Renzo Carli

Abstract


The clinical cognitive approach intervenes on behavioral facts meanwhile the clinical psychoanalytic approach intervenes on emotional experiences; experiences that are evoked by the affective symbolization of reality and, in psychotherapy, narrated within the psychoanalytic relationship. The theoretical framework of the two clinical models are, respectively, behaviorism and Gestalt theory. The contribution discusses the limits of the cognitive theory, when it intends to exhaust every clinical psychological aspect with its model, claiming to “explain” in factual terms also the emotional dynamic that individuals or social groups live within very different experiences, in contexts such as school or family relationship. In particular, the two errors that the Gestalt theorists have proposed in the perceptive ambit, the error of stimulus and the error of experience are considered; the extension, to the clinical setting, of the model behind the two errors allows us to highlight the problems connected with making emotional experience depend on the events of the context and not on the emotional symbolization of the events themselves.

Keywords


cognitivism; psychoanalysis; stimulus-response theory; Gestalt; error of experience; neuroscience.

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