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Karterud, S. (1989). On methods and principles of hermeneutics: With references to the psychoanalytic study of small groups. Free Associations, 1W(18):73-89.

(1989). Free Associations, 1W(18):73-89

On methods and principles of hermeneutics: With references to the psychoanalytic study of small groups

Sigmund Karterud

The hermeneutic continental school of philosophy regards psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a depth-hermeneutic enterprise — that is, primarily concerned with interpretations of human behaviour and communication taking depth-psychological motivations into account. The practising psychotherapist need not be concerned with the ‘objectivity’ of his interpretations, nor the very preconditions for an in-depth understanding of another human being. Within research these issues are paramount and explored by hermeneutic philosophers. However, they are seldom referred to in the psychotherapy literature, despite the fact that practising psychotherapists often conduct case-study research. In this article I will summarize different positions within hermeneutics and discuss their relevance to psychoanalytic research with references to my own research on small-group dynamics.

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