Guilfoyle - Clinical Psychologist - Rhodes, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Michael Guilfoyle

Rhodes, Eastern Cape, South Africa


I am a clinical psychologist with an interest in the field of narrative therapy and post-structural thought. I consider myself a researcher, theorist, and clinician, and have found that each of these roles usefully informs the others. I have written a book entitled "The person in narrative therapy: a post-structural, Foucauldian account" (comes out in April, 2014, Palgrave Macmillan), which explores the question of identity or selfhood in the field of narrative practice. In addition, I have written several journal articles and book chapters on themes pertaining to the theory and practice of psychotherapy (especially narrative practice).

My recent work (both clinical and academic) explores the ways in which people resist and negotiate the power dynamics of their lives, as well as the fascinating ways in which people are able to use their uniquely personal ethics, principles, and commitments, to deal with challenging life circumstances.

My clinical work is mainly with people (whether it be individual, couples, families, or groups) struggling with issues such as:
- facing up to bullying (in various contexts)
- dealing with troubling and/or lost relationships
- grief
- working on identity, sense of self
- dealing with imposed identities and "bad reputations"
- dealing with anxiety, panic, and mood problems
... and other life challenges


Clinical Psychologist

Work History

Associate Professor / Clinical Psychologist

Rhodes University

From January 2010

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

Trinity College Dublin

September 2002 - December 2009


The person in narrative therapy

My first book: Who is the person in narrative therapy? In this book, I note that narrative therapy does not have a coherent formulation of personhood in the way one finds in other fields, such as psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavioural therapy. The book critically examines the post-structural principles that underpin narrative practice, which make available powerful conceptual tools for theorizing the person. But there are significant tensions to be resolved: How can the person be endowed with personal agency, as narrative therapists claim, while simultaneously being seen as a 'product of power', as Foucault famously argued? Exactly what is the person's relationship to power, and on what condition can he or she resist? Using several detailed case examples, the book discusses the ideas of White, Epston, Foucault, Nietzsche, and others, to tease out the threads of these questions, and opens up new avenues for narrative practice and thought.

Qualifications & Certifications


Utrecht University

MA (Clinical Psychology)

University of Natal (Pietermariztburg)

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