Reflections on "Place, Matter and Meaning"
I've just finished reading the paper, "Place, matter and meaning: Extending the relationship in psychological therapies", by Dr Patricia Fenner. Appearing in "Health & Place", 17, pp. 851 - 857, it can be found online at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthplace.
The research written about in the paper is perhaps best defined for me in the following extract from the abstract:
- Initially I was surprised that this was considered a topic for a paper in as much as I would have always thought that it was a "gimme" that the environment in which the Therapeutic process took place would have implications on the overall outcomes, efficacy and impact on the process of healing. That both the client and the therapist would develop a "relationship" with environmental aspects of the treatment surroundings makes a lot of sense to me, but the impetus to identify these in a research based framework is a happy direction giving substance, evidence and support to what is probably an intuitive assumption on my behalf.
- Reading the paper kept bringing to mind elements of some recent philosophical discussions in the area of Object Oriented Philosophy (OOP). Whilst I may be way off tack here I am curious to look into the relationships and implications of OOP to "Place, matter and meaning" particularly with regard to developing a mindset or idealogy for the "place of place" in the therapeutic milieu.
- How much did the questioning inherent in the development of the study's methodology (not the least being simply the "self-fulfilling-outcomes" suggested in the actualising of the study) influence the creation of a false, suggested or contrived awareness of the space versus what was actually the place of space in the therapeutic setting? This is probably a fairly common thought of mine when thinking of research and development of a method for observation and assessment, and is in many ways related to that golden nugget brought to us by the world of Quantum Physics - i.e. "observation affects reality".
- What consideration was given to the development of the importance of and the changing relationships to specific objects, place and space, over the period of the therapeutic process in conjunction with the utilization of, involvement within and positive therapeutic experiences co-incidental with specific places, spaces and objects and their adopted/developed associations and meanings?
- Was any thought given to assessment of the effect of place or space on the "healing" process seperate from the clinical, therapeutic based setting, with no program of "guided" or "purposeful" therapy set in place. This would also need to exclude the place of the infrastructure, process or intervention of the therapist and therapy encounter.
Anyway, enough of my musings - suffice it say that it's probably a good idea to be aware of the physical surroundings of your therapeutic environment, what works to enhance the process and the implications as may be specific to and quite radically different for each individual involved.