Narratives: The Focus of 21st Century Psychology



: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY044000; PSY045070

Humans are emotional beings who feel deeply, reason occasionally, and narrate constantly. Narratives are the stories we tell ourselves to help us understand what we are feeling, thinking, and doing. Narratives help us remember the past, interpret the present, and prepare for the future. Narratives justify ourselves, to ourselves and to others. Narratives can motivate our successes, or be used to excuse our failures. To change our lives, we must change our narratives.

This book should not be regarded as a rejection of traditional religion, classical philosophy, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, humanistic psychology, or cognitive science. These are the milestones of humanity’s attempts to understand human nature. We accept these as the building blocks for a more complete formulation.

The first chapter explains what narratives are, and why all narratives are not equal (and some are even dead ends). The second chapter focuses on the most important thing in the study of humans (their values) and why we must distinguish between the ultimate, the utilitarian, and the ulterior dimensions of relevance. The third chapter reviews the role of religious narratives in understanding those values (historically, and in the present; in society, and in individuals). The fourth chapter considers classical philosophy, especially logic, and how this contributes to narratives (but cannot always save us from the dead-end narratives of conspiracy theory and determinism). The fifth chapter charts the historical development of psychology as a science (from mind, to behavior, to mental processes, to narrative and willpower). The sixth chapter looks at the lifespan, and how narratives develop as we confront the challenges posed by our changing relationships. The seventh chapter goes into greater depth on the interacting roles of adulthood: spousal, parent, career, consumer. The last chapter emphasizes the need for resilience and transformation in order to flourish and find flow in those roles.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. To Each our Own Narrative

Chapter 2. Values: What Really Matters?

Chapter 3. Religion as the Primal Narrative

Chapter 4. The Thinking Species: How Logic Shapes the Narrative

Chapter 5. Psychology: How it Became the Study of Narratives and Willpower

Chapter 6. Narrative Across the Lifespan

Chapter 7. Overlapping Roles: Template for Adult Life

Chapter 8. Resilience and Transformation


Authors’ ORCID ID

T.L. Brink, PhD
Victoria Karalun