Therapeutic Pedagogy: Thoughts on Integral Professional Formation
Josh Perry recently published this article in the law review of the University of Puerto Rico, REVISTA JURIDICA, UNIVERSIDAD DE PUERTO RICO, and has graciously offered it for reprinting here. [If you have access to the law review on line, look this one up. It has several great articles our readers might like.]
To preserve formatting (such as footnotes), we've attached a PDF of the article and the Introduction is below. Click on the title of the article to go to the attachment with the full article.
MOST LAW SCHOOL CURRICULA CREATE FEW, IF ANY, OPPORTUNITIES FOR students to reflect in an intentional, structured, and sustained manner on a fundamental element of the educational process: integration.
Law students are on a journey of professional formation, and this journey is one that cannot be separated from the journey of personal evolution that students are simultaneously undergoing. It is neither possible nor desirable to separate or compartmentalize one's development as a professional from the inevitable personal transformation that is also occurring during those several years one spends pursuing a J.D.
If we want students to enjoy careers as "happy, healthy, and ethical" members of our otherwise "unhappy, unhealthy, and unethical profession,"4 we must create a space for these burgeoning professionals to integrate their personal inner
world -wherein lies the wellspring of deep meaning and profound purpose with their professional outer world bounded by obligations to clients, employers, the court, and society. Drawing upon theories and evidence provided by scholars working in the worlds of humanizing legal education and therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ), this paper suggests that a "therapeutic pedagogy" attempting to illumine a student's inner world and move her towards integration of personal passions and professional commitments can better prepare students to "think like a professional." That is, to create a more holistic goal of legal education that would integrate: 1) the ability to rigorously apply legal theory to relevant facts and analytical judgment to judicial opinions, administrative regulations, and legislative statutes with, 2) the ability to reflect upon, discern, and develop a contemplative and practical wisdom that is in harmony with the lawyer's authentic self. "
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