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What is Contextual Therapy? : Dimension I –Facts

Dimension 1: Facts

In this post, I’ll describe the Dimension of Facts, the one that focuses on individual and family history. Future posts will talk about the other dimensions and how they are connected.

A skilled CT therapist learns about each the facts of a person’s history, those things that are objective, that are self-evident. The therapist learns facts about the person’s birth (age, health at birth, mother’s health at birth, etc) and the person’s health history and current health (major illnesses or chronic conditions, physical limitations, etc). The CT practitioner is well aware of the importance of learning about people’s cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This does not always require asking questions,but it does require being sensitive. And it most of all, it requires remembering that one’s own cultural or ethnic background is far from universal: it means making an effort to go beyond one’s natural ethnocentrism.

Learning about historical facts also means learning about challenges that people have experienced, and even more about any traumatic experiences they may have had. Information about past traumas will become very important to my discussion of Dimension IV (Ethics). To anticipate a bit, when one has been traumatized, it leads to the accrual of destructive entitlement and often to relying on destructive entitlement, a condition responsible for many interpersonal difficulties. This is just one of the ways in which dimensions 1 and 2 are interconnected.
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