I think MacIntyre’s contention would be that such therapeutic narratives are too self-contained to function as the kind of narrative that actually makes life meaningful. MacIntyre’s narratives are strands in a texture of human social life, tradition, and shared morality. https://t.co/pLznhxfrWR
A narrative is an agent’s Story considered as Intelligible in terms of roles, communities, values, etc. This type of therapeutic narrative is more like an inner Story. It doesn’t cohere outwards, it’s not meant for others, it’s often secret and confidential.
My Story should be something that people could tell in broad strokes, maybe after my death, in an Intelligible and hopefully nice way. That wouldn’t be a Story of my confidential inner turmoils, etc—it would be about who I was, what I did, what I said.
I suppose therapy at its best helps people deal with the issues that keep them from acting, that make them unintelligible to others, that lock them into self-preoccupation, depressive or anxious rumination, etc, so helping them to participate in non-therapeutic stories.
But it also seems to me, as a patient of talk therapy, that there is indeed something insular and detached about it. It feels like the only guiding light is my own feelings, like it’s ungrounded in a peculiar way that reminds me of MacIntyre’s view of “emotivism.”
I am the therapist’s customer. My feelings are the arbiter of effectiveness. MacIntyre (citing Rieff’s “Triumph of the Therapeutic”) describes the therapeutic mode as one in which “truth has been displaced as a value and replaced by psychological effectiveness.”