Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Computer mediated communications in counselling

An ANT informed analysis.
I hadn't got much further with my study but had reason to reread some Ann Marie Mol from the Body Multiple as well as an earlier piece of her writing Ontological Politics.
Their are areas that caught my attention (again).
1. Its too simplistic to consider that communications and computer technologies are good or bad in mediating counselling; that we can have txt messaging counselling, email counselling, message board postings... all purporting counselling is not able to be answered in terms of right or wrong. Just as other counselling could be brief or prolonged, take one form or another, Freudian, Rogerian , CBT etc. The issues are simplified to the point of being ridiculous when considered in terms of good or bad. The 'gold standard' by which face to face is used as a comparison to CCT mediated counselling is too complex as what f2f comprised of could be a miriad of things, and so can CCT mediated counselling...
So, back to Mol, who says that thicker questions evolve where practice is forgrounded, rather than is the intervention effective- what effects does this intervention have.

2. What was at stake (considered) when a decision between alternative performances was made?
The notion of choice in deciding between alternate performances presupposes an actor who actively choses, while potential actors may be inextricably linked up with how they are enacted.
Is there choice? Or is there a rut being made that establishes patterns inside of which, what's established, what's current, becomes 'the' way.
In studying the practice, laying open practice, the process is not neutral as opening up practice gives space to arenas where attention is currently less focused, and provides voice on what else is going on.

As Law suggests in After method.Mess in social science research, simple clear descriptions do not work well when the stuff itself is incoherent. The attempt to be clear, increases the mess.

I was hopeful that once I got through the messiness of an ethics application that a clearer path would lie in front of me...rereading Mol and John Law has soothed me somewhat, that it was/is messy maybe should be the norm! Nonetheless I am sure that a messy ethics application wont be appreciated by those who read such things...back to simplifying the complex...and back to amazon.com - Reassembling the Social, by Latour, something to read while the ethics committee deliberates.

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