The biographical gaze: Psychotherapeutic practice in psychosomatic hospitals in Germany

from Social Science & Medicine at on March 29, 2019 at 10:31AM

Publication date: Available online 28 March 2019

Source: Social Science & Medicine

Author(s): Sabine Flick


This article introduces the concept of a “biographical gaze” based on two dimensions: On one hand, I draw on findings from my qualitative empirical research on psychotherapists’ practice and their interpretation of patients’ suffering. The case study was conducted in psychosomatic hospitals in Germany and focused on psychotherapists based on different kinds of data (supervision transcripts, interviews, medical records, and questionnaires). On the other hand, I connect this research with theories on the clinical gaze, as well as Bourdieu’s critique of the “biographical illusion.” In the article’s first section, I discuss the theories that contribute to the clinical gaze, knowledge, and medicine. In the second section, I present methods and condensed findings from my research. In the third section, I connect these findings to theories on biographies and their critics. Finally, I conclude with my theorization of the biographical gaze and its problems.