Hermeneutic Approaches to Interpretive Research : Dissertations In a Different Key book cover
1st Edition

Hermeneutic Approaches to Interpretive Research
Dissertations In a Different Key

Edited By

Philip Cushman

ISBN 9780367686895
Published August 23, 2021 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

This unique and insightful book brings together a collection of impactful essays written by former psychology doctoral students, which feature hermeneutics as a method of qualitative inquiry.

Philip Cushman brings together eleven chapters in which his former students describe their hermeneutic dissertations—how they chose their topics, their approach to research, what they discovered, what it was like emotionally for them, and how the process has influenced them in the years since completion. The contributors explore important contemporary issues like social justice, identity, gender inequality, and the political consequences of psychological theories and offer fresh, critical perspectives rooted in lived experiences. This book showcases the value and importance of hermeneutics, both as a philosophy, and as an orientation for conducting research that aids in critical, culturally respectful, interdisciplinary approaches.

This is illuminating reading for graduate students and scholars curious about the hermeneutic approach to research, particularly those engaged in fields like theoretical psychology, clinical psychology, psychotherapy, mental health, cultural history, and social work.

Table of Contents

  1. Hermeneutics and the Blooming of Mavericks: An Introduction
  2. Philip Cushman

    Part I: Critiques of Texts and Practices

  3. Interpreting the Political Meaning of Manualized Trauma Treatment: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Battlemind and the Warrior Cult
  4. Sarah Peregrine Lord

  5. Psychotherapy and the Embodiment of Neuronal Identity
  6. Ari Natinsky

  7. Emerging Into a World of Understanding: A Hermeneutic Exploration of Perinatal Mood Disorders and Clinical Practice
  8. Kathleen M. Pape

  9. A Hermeneutic Analysis of Trauma Diagnoses
  10. Julianne Ludlam

  11. Feelings of Enlightenment: Emotion-Focused Therapy’s Scientific Cloaking of Enlightenment Values
  12. Alex A. Gomez

    Part II: Philosophical Explorations

  13. Living Truth Between Traditions: A Hermeneutic Integration of Moral Perception and Mutual Recognition
  14. Maxim A. Livshetz

  15. The Psychological Dissertation and the Voice of the Therapist: From the Indivisible Self to the Land of Intersubjectivity
  16. Daniel Masler

    Part III: Applying Hermeneutic Theory to Psychological Practices

  17. Encountering Questions About Being Human: Toward Improving Training Practices for End-of-Life Care
  18. Susana Lauraine McCune

  19. Psychotherapy, Hermeneutics, and Relationality: Certainty Is a Dangerous Commodity
  20. Scott Perna

  21. Heidegger, Homelessness, and the Adopted Self: An Application of a Hermeneutic Methodology to an Essentially Hermeneutic Psychological Phenomenon.
  22. William Scott Abbott

  23. Are We Woke Yet? Hermeneutics and the Politics of 21st-Century Social Justice

         MiNa Chung


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Philip Cushman is a retired psychotherapist and a retired core faculty member of doctoral programs in psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology (Alameda) and most recently at Antioch University Seattle, Washington. His latest book is Travels With the Self: Interpreting Psychology as Cultural History.


"Hermeneutic Approaches offers a different way of understanding human experience and places it in historical, social, and cultural contexts. Each chapter offers fresh and critical perspectives and treatments of lived experiences and shared worlds. Chapters—all well-written and accessible—are paradigmatic examples of how hermeneutics may be used effectively in the study of contemporary social and cultural problems. Topics range from neuroscience to PTSD to Peripartum Mood Disorder to relational psychoanalysis to social justice to end-of-life care. It appeals to broad audiences both within and outside the academy, and in the United States and internationally."

Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., Fordham University Global Health Care Innovation Management Center, USA; co-author of A Public Health Strategy for Living, Aging and Dying in Solidarity: Designing Elder-Centered and Palliative Systems of Care, Environments, Services and Supports


"This remarkable book describes the challenging and meaningful experiences that eleven former students had in writing their hermeneutic dissertations with Cushman's wise guidance. Students (and perhaps some faculty supervisors) are desperate for exactly this kind of concrete guidance—it fills a unique and important niche both professionally and relationally." 

Blaine J. Fowers, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling Psychology, University of Miami, USA


"Hermeneutic Approaches is a unique and thoughtful contribution to the intellectual life of psychology and all the social sciences. There is absolutely nothing of its kind in the world: it demonstrates in every chapter the deep connections between psychology, history, and philosophy, much to the chagrin of mainstream psychology’s claim to be apolitical. This will gain significant traction with several audiences, especially as multicultural and qualitative research push from the margins into center stage."

David Goodman, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Boston College, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, USA; co-editor of Race, Rage, and Resistance: Philosophy, Psychology, and the Perils of Individualism