A psychosocial coming into play: Researching authenticity in therapy, the academy, and friendship

Fang, Nini; Pirrie, Anne and Redman, Peter (2023). A psychosocial coming into play: Researching authenticity in therapy, the academy, and friendship. In: Tudor, Keith and Wyatt, Jonathan eds. Qualitative Research Approaches for Psychotherapy: Reflexivity, Methodology, and Criticality. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 45–57.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003280859-5


This chapter explores psychosocially what it means to practise, research, and live authentically. What role does authenticity play in the creative dimensions of therapeutic practice and academic inquiry? How does it help us to live a good life in the company of others? The authors attend to these questions by exploiting the indeterminate nature of the psychosocial inquiry. The conceptual uncertainty surrounding the term challenges us to resist the temptation to settle too readily on what we know and invites us to play; to appeal to the creative forces of a triple-act amongst collaborators. This takes the form of sketches that explore issues of personal and professional loyalty; and conformity to notions of occupancy, disciplinarity, and identity in the academy. Indeterminacy and disquiet are the jazz of non-conformists. The authors let this stream in the background while they explore the elusive contours of the ‘psychosocial’. This triple-act is an opening to the processual uncertainty of thinking, researching, and being with others. It foregrounds the generative tension between value and knowledge in academic inquiry; between truthfulness and rightfulness in therapeutic practice; and between true-self and false-self in relationships. Threaded through these questions are the authors’ respective and joint inquiries into ‘authenticity’.

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