A critical imaginal hermeneutics approach to explore unconscious influences on professional practices: A Ricoeur and Jung partnership

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Abstract

Professional relationships are at the heart of professional practice. Qualitative studies exploring professional practice relationships are typically positioned in either the social constructivist (interpretive) paradigm where the aim is to explore actors’ subjective understandings of their relationships and relational practices, or in the critical paradigm where the aim is to reveal objective unconscious structures and hidden power plays influencing actors’ practices. This paper introduces critical imaginal hermeneutics as a systemic philosophical and methodological approach situated on the juncture of the social constructivist and critical paradigms where the dual aim is to explore both actors’ subjective understanding and meaning-making processes associated with their relational practices as well as explore objective unconscious structures and power relations influencing their relational practices. At the core of this approach is a Critical Imaginal Hermeneutic Spiral – a methodological guide for text construction and interpretation processes developed by partnering Paul Ricoeur’s critical hermeneutics and Carl Jung’s imaginal arts-based approach. The spiral was developed, employed, and coined as part of the first author’s doctoral thesis exploring clinical play therapists’ relational practices with parents. It incorporates the Bourdieu and Jung thought partnership explored by the authors in another paper in this volume. The approach provides a systemic guide for developing practitioners’ critical reflexivity regarding personal, social, and collective unconscious influences on their relational practices, and in turn minimising the unconscious influences that undermine the quality of professional practice relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3486-3518
Number of pages33
JournalQualitative Report
Volume25
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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