Extension of Clinical/Psychological Approach Using Post Narratology: The Proposal of a Psychological Narratology and Review for Systematization

Extension of Clinical/Psychological Approach Using Post Narratology: The Proposal of a Psychological Narratology and Review for Systematization

Kai Seino (Research Institute of National Rehabilitation Center for Persons With Disabilities, Japan) and Shun Ishizaki (Keio University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4864-6.ch003


The purpose of this chapter is to examine the psychological approach from a narrative viewpoint. In addition, the authors discuss the possibility of collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI). They reviewed the narrative approaches in psychology. At result, they showed how the narrative approach in clinical domain was expanded. The following possibilities exist regarding a narrative generative system in a narrow sense: (1) It is the construction of a fluid system. (2) The systems generate a tale communally. (3) There are no clear beginnings and endings. (4) It is a narrative generation through a dialogue. Next, the following possibilities exist regarding a narrative generative system in broad sense: (1) It is the modeling of the stance of the narrative. (2) It is the modeling of narrative generation by the community. (3) It is the modeling of the process. (4) It is the study of the interlocutory peculiarity.
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In this chapter, we examine the potential of combining the narrative as a problem-solving method with computational techniques such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), and the applicability of the integrated approach in a clinical environment. As a general term, “narrative” is understood as the “act of discussing and being discussed using language (Spoken Language and written language, etc)” (Yamada, 2007b). “Narrative” can also be defined more narrowly as in the term “narratology,” which refers to the reproduction of real or fictional events and is always accompanied by time constraints (Prince, 2003).

Bruner (1987) suggested that the narrative provides individuals with a method for understanding and thinking about their everyday lives and interactions with others. In recent years, the narrative approach has been utilized in clinical domains such as medicine, nursing, psychology, and welfare. The narrative may be thought of as an evidence base containing conventional, objective data. It may also be conceptualized as a narrative base, wherein individual subjectivity and originality are considered important, and this conceptualization of narrative leads to narrative-based medicine and narrative-based practice. Furthermore, an evidence base is considered objective science and is based on modernism, whereas a narrative base is relative, post-modernist, and post-structuralist.

In the clinical domain, the approach is key to any narrative, and is called the narrative approach. For example, representation is a narrative therapy in psychotherapy. However, the conceptualization of a narrative in recent years has not been limited to the narrative approach and is considered to have a wider extent and possibility. One key to understanding the wider possibility of a narrative is the term “narrative generative system,” which is advocated by Ogata, the author and editor of this book. The narrative generative system conceived by Ogata not only considers the structure or form of a story, but also incorporates the process by which the story is constituted and received. In addition, “computational narratology,” one of the underlying theories of the narrative generative system, is a concept resulting from the fusion of computational technology and story. Authors have divided narratology into literary narratology and psychological narratology from the viewpoint of a narrative generation system (Seino 2016). A literary narratology considers the contents and form of a story, whereas psychological narratology is called a story treatment in the clinical domain and is a narrative approach.

Against the backdrop of Ogata’s theory, Seino et al (2016, 2018, 2019) proposed a new technique for data mining designed to provide support for persons with disabilities. The technique provides a method for the analysis and generation of a story, through a combination of text-mining technology and the viewpoint of literary narratology. The results demonstrated that a theory could be established based on a narrative generative system. However, to investigate the practical implications of the system for the theory and method of a psychological narratology, a discussion of technology (e.g., computer, software, coding) is omitted. Therefore, the psychological approach is presented in this chapter from the viewpoint of a narrative, and aims at clarifying the possibility of a psychological narratology.

As aforementioned, the purpose of this chapter is to explore the theory and the method of using narrative in the psychological approach. Medical treatment and support for any illness that exists in the clinical domain is defined as a psychological approach. In this chapter, the possibility of extending the psychological approach through collaboration with AI or cognitive science has been examined. Specifically, we review the research and practice of psychology, psychiatry, and a proximity domain in recent years and their use of narrative. Our discussion is broadly focused on the approach and practice relevant not only to narrative therapy but also to a narrative, or to narratology.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Narrative in the Narrow Sense: A reproduction of a real or fictional event that is always accompanied by time restraints.

Literary Narratology: The theory about story and discourse in the narrow sense.

Narrative in the Wider Sense: The individual’s act of narrating using his or her own language.

Psychological Narratology: The theory of the clinical/ psychological approach that is relevant to the narrative in the broadest sense.

Literary Narrative: A narrative found in literature, including mythology and folktales.

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