Contextualising a problematic relationship between narrative therapy and evidence-based psychotherapy evaluation in psychology : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
This thesis problematises a conflict between two discourses: narrative therapy and evidence-based psychotherapy evaluation in psychology. To answer the research question of how narrative therapy can be evaluated, I contextualise both discourses by historically situating them in and through a genealogical examination. Narrative therapy is a postmodern therapy that draws from a diverse history of knowledge involving a range of intepretativist theoretical influences that are resistances to positivist social science. In contrast, evidence-based practice in psychology, the latest model of evidence-based psychotherapy evaluation, is modelled from evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based practice is understood as an improved evaluation model from the empirically-supported treatment movement, and operates within a positivist philosophy that privileges objective methodology over interpretative research approaches. A genealogy enables a power relationship between narrative therapy and evidence-based psychotherapy evaluation to be made visible that indicates an incommensurable conflict (a differend) due to their divergent philosophies on the formation and practice of human knowledge (epistemology). However, a genealogy also enables a fragmentation of the meaning of evaluation and narrative therapy and in doing so pluralises the meaning of evaluation, narrative therapy, and narrative therapy evaluation. I conclude by tentatively considering possibilities for the evaluation of narrative therapy while problematising them within (and reflecting on) the differend between narrative therapy and evidence-based psychotherapy evaluation in psychology.