Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This research project is a theoretical inquiry into the connections and significations between philosophy and contemporary clinical practice. It is hypothesized that postmodernism has a direct and meaningful impact on the work of clinical social workers and mental health professionals generally. For a more manageable study and to make the topic more accessible to the reader, one type of philosophy (postmodernism) was chosen to be analyzed, along with its clinical counterpart (narrative therapy). To ground the study, Nietzschean ideology and narrative therapy were analyzed and discussed through the lens of self-mutilation. It was found that many significant connections exist between Nietzsche's ideas and narrative therapy in general, suggesting that philosophy, as a discourse that concerns itself with the human experience, has a vital and sizeable influence on contemporary clinical practice. The implications of the study are that, taking postmodern ideology to its logical ends would mean the dissolution of the ideas of both normalcy and deviance in clinical practice, subsequently serving to de-pathologize the phenomenon of selfmutilation and redefine it as a storying or narrating of one's experience and identity on the body.


iii, 74 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 73-74).