Abracadabra! Postmodern Therapeutic Methods: Language as a Neo-Magical Tool

Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro


This paper argues that a new genre of therapy has appeared in the arena of contemporary spiritual alternative healing, which expresses an outlook never-before-seen in the history of medicine: postmodern therapy. Postmodern therapeutic methods (PTMs) express a popularization of postmodernist philosophy in regards to language’s role in the therapeutic process, expressing a novel cosmology. These methods are illustrated in the paper, and then analyzed in comparison to two other groups of methods: traditional/occult magic, and modern medicine. Finally, PTMs are characterized as neo-magic, bearing features similar to modernistic outlook on the one hand, and features similar to pre-modern magic outlook on the other hand. Thus, these new outlook demonstrate a double appropriation and rejection of perceptions viewed as contradictory – traditional magic and secular science.


CAM, Healing, Therapy, Modern philosophy, Postmodern thought, language, magic, spirituality, alternative spiritualities, New Age

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