Semiotics, Ethics and Psychotherapy: Theory Meets Practice

The aim of this proposal is to present some ideas on how insights in semiotics can contribute to psychotherapy, notably the one inspired by Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics of the Other. In focus for this attempt are the semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce and Augusto Ponzio’s semiotic analyses of the ethics of Levinas. Moreover, Peircean phenomenology and pragmatism are added to the analysis, in order to deepen the understanding of how psychotherapy can benefit from semiotics. Ultimately at stake is the question of how Levinas’ philosophy of the face-to-face encounter can be of practical and clinical use, with the aid of semiotics: How can we be with the other, sense the other without categorizing, and yet enter into a dialogue with the other?

Anna Cabak Rédei, Ph.D.

Lund University, Sweden

Ph.D. in Semiotics, Reader in Cognitive Semiotics. Has in her main research centered on (cultural) semiotics and narration in language, pictures, and film. Recently, has focused especially on cognitive and psychological aspects of narration in film and petroglyphs. Also works clinically as a licensed psychotherapist, with special interest in existential psychotherapy.