Negotiating Relationality: Mental Capacity as Narrative Congruence

David Gibson


The concept of capacity that emerges from the Mental Capacity Act (2005) is conceptually flawed and places practitioners in an impossible situation regarding its application. The continued support by the UK government and others for the Act strengthens the idea that the capacity/incapacity distinction is natural and that incapacity is an intrapsychic feature of an individual. This paper proposes an alternative model for understanding capacity and its assessment based on a narrative theory that recognises the role of the practitioner and identity negotiation. Although this more nuanced approach may at first appear more complex, it avoids the conceptual and practical difficulties raised by the notion of mental capacity.

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