To Cure or to Heal: Different Ways to Appropriate Therapeutic Readings

  • Vanina Papalini Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
Keywords: support groups, therapeutic groups, self-help books, illness, interviews, analysis of documents, grounded theory methodology

Abstract

In Argentina, as is common in most Latin American countries, therapies addressed to wellness or healing are commonly shared in groups or communities. In contrast, self-help books emphasize personal appropriation and individual treatment. Research on the appropriation of self-help books is based on the premise that reading material is an essential therapeutic resource.

The aim of this article is to present different ways of using and interpreting self-help books. Using grounded theory methodology, I explore the importance of an interpersonal context as a proper sphere for dealing with suffering. The research is based on interviews, field notes, and analysis of documents. My main findings start with differentiating two categories: curing as an objective perspective to the remedy of disease, and healing as the subjective feeling of health. Up from here, three dynamics of treatment based on self-help books had been reconstructed: I show that self-help books, as well as faith-based therapeutic groups, focus on the healing perspective whereas therapeutic groups with a qualified coordinator are mostly involved in the perspective of cure. Support groups – i.e., mutual aid groups – fluctuate between healing and curing.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1701216

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Author Biography

Vanina Papalini, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)

Vanina PAPALINI, licenciada en comunicación social por la Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina; magister en comunicación y cultura contemporánea por la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina; y especialista en filosofía y crítica de la cultura por la Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina. Es doctora por régimen de cotutela de tesis del doctorado en ciencias de la información por la Universidad de París VIII, Francia, y el doctorado en ciencias sociales por la Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Se desempeña como investigadora independiente en el Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) de Argentina y como profesora de la Escuela de Letras de Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Dirige el programa de investigación "Transformaciones culturales contemporáneas". Sus investigaciones desde 2004 abordan la autoayuda y las culturas terapéuticas.

Published
2017-01-28
How to Cite
Papalini, V. (2017). To Cure or to Heal: Different Ways to Appropriate Therapeutic Readings. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-18.1.2326