The Goddess/God Within: The Construction of Self-Identity through Alternative Health Practices

  • Maxine Birch


The issue of the self and postmodernity generates questions of its social construction in an era of risk and anxiety. The fragility of the self in the context of postmodernity has meant recourse to therapy groups that enable narratives to be established and constructed. These self-help groups have become a feature of debate on postmodernity. Yet little attention has been given to understanding this process of the construction of the self and the holistic assumptions made in these therapy groups which partly belong to the alternative health field, but which also can be understood as alternative forms of religion. The belief systems embodied in these groups relate to the growth of an inner self, the goddess/god within. These involve facilitators and practitioners who construct a meta-narrative that challenges some of the domain assumptions of postmodernity. This chapter examines the practices of these groups and the facilitators who work with them in relation to debates on postmodernity. These alternative forms of therapy develop legitimation procedures that seek to challenge the assumptions of postmodernity.


Personal Growth Experiential Knowledge Alternative Health Domain Assumption Escape Attempt 
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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Kieran Flanagan and Peter C. Jupp 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maxine Birch

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