This is a working paper, first written in 2002, that I have not yet refined for publication. You can download it here
more papers coming soon…
I was a keynote speaker at the International Congress of Family Therapy in Holland this July. The paper I gave can be downloaded here.
From the conference write up:
Other presentations applicable to people from across the globe dealt with our dealing with making sense of our feelings and interactions of our bodies and language. Speaking with great clarity and erudition, John Shotter, PhD, explained how “we come to an understanding of what is going on around us,” drawing heavily on the work and thinking of the late Tom Andersen, M. M. Bakhtin, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In our dialogically structured exchanges something uniquely new is, sooner or later, created that is intricately related to features within which it is created. Thus the happening of a “therapeutic moment” occurs when that uniquely new something opens up previously unnoticed new ways into the future. Shotter, an emeritus professor of communications, argues that these uniquely new events stem from the way in which the spontaneous responsiveness of our bodies work to give “expressive shape” to our feelings “as we body them out into the world.” Particularly for therapists seeking to understand change was his declaration that “ What changes within is in such encounters is not our learning of new facts or bits of information but our learning new ways of relating ourselves to the others and otherness in the world around us, ways more appropriate to our neediness and to our human flourishing.” In addition to the plenary presentation, Shotter addressed the topic of “Making Sense of Moments of Feeling: ‘Withness’ Thinking and the Dialogical in Practice” in a sub-plenary session rich with illustrations and image guided explorations aimed at helping to arrive at an “intouchness” with the living situation itself, and finally getting to a sense of our situation that allows us to invent new metaphors as required.