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Ari Natinsky is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Seattle

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

In recent years, there have been several ways in which researchers have attempted to integrate psychotherapy and neuroscience research. Neuroscience has been proposed as a method of addressing lingering questions about how best to integrate psychotherapy theories and explain their efficacy. For example, some psychotherapy outcome studies have included neuroimaging of participants in order to propose neurobiological bases of effective psychological interventions (e.g., Paquette et al., 2003). Other theorists have used cognitive neuroscience research to suggest neurobiological correlates of various psychotherapy theories and concepts (e.g., Schore, 2012). These efforts seem to embody broader historical trends, including the hope that neuroscience can resolve philosophical questions about the relationship between mind and body, as well as the popular appeal of contemporary brain research. In this hermeneutic dissertation I examined a popular neuropsychotherapy text in order to explore the historical fit between neuroscience and psychotherapy. The study identifies the possible understandings of the self (i.e., what it means to be human) that could arise from Western therapy discourses that are based on neuroscientific interpretations of psychotherapy theories. The methodology of this dissertation consisted of a critical textual analysis of Louis Cozolino's (2010) The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain. The primary content, rhetorical strategies, and recurring themes in Cozolino's book were outlined and interpreted from a hermeneutic perspective. This included a historical critique of Cozolino's claims about the origins, purpose, and efficacy of psychotherapy, his assertions about the relationship between self and brain, and examples of his psychotherapy case vignettes. Rhetorical strategies in his writing included analogy, ambiguity, speculative language, and figures of speech such as metaphor and personification. A discussion of these findings addressed the implications of Cozolino's efforts with regards to patient care, psychotherapy theory integration, and the possible effects that these efforts may have on the profession of psychology. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd