Reversals and the Pathway to Action

Author: Michael J. Apter

Abstract: It will be argued that in reversal theory terms, the build-up to an action goes through five phases. The first is that of desire, represented by the ongoing array of motivational states. Secondly, there is an interpretation phase in which the individual assesses the possibilities for action. Here the individual’s lifeworld is interpreted in terms of this ongoing set of motivational states – tools and barriers are identified and an appropriate and timely action is planned. Thirdly, there is a decision phase. Fourthly, the chosen action is performed leading, fifthly, to an emotional/ hedonic outcome. This feeds back into the first phase, giving rise to the possibility of a new array. This means that the whole sequence constitutes a cycle, giving rise to interesting issues. For example, can we distinguish principal and supportive focal states? Is it possible to map some forms of pathology onto the five phases? Do we need to posit an overall controller? The latter would be a step that has on the whole been avoided so far in reversal theory explanations.

Link to Article2017-v6-05-Pathways

DOI: 10.12689/jmep.2017.605