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'A Lie that Helps us See the Truth': research, truth and fiction in the helping professions

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In this paper I argue for fiction, and in particular, the novel, as a source of 'truth' for practitioners in the helping professions1 to rival (and complement) the truths that are arrived at through quantitative and qualitative research. Fiction writing is presented both as a research method in its own right and as a form of reflection-on-action, the aim of which is to invoke a sympathetic response or resonance in the reader in the form of an affective (as opposed to a cognitive) understanding. I suggest that, in order for a practitioner to engage fully with her clients on the most fundamental and profound level, she must read not only research and theory, but also fiction.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: February 1, 2002

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