When Anna O., an early patient of Breuer’s and of considerable concern to Freud, naively labeled her treatment a form of talking cure (Breuer, 1981; Brill, 1972), she correctly anticipated what in popular opinion would be grasped—sometimes for ridicule, sometimes for praise—as an essential feature of psychotherapeutic care. Popular opinion, however, is not alone in attributing a pivotal position to the talk in psychotherapy: in comparison to the behavioral (i. e., proxemic or kinesic) or physiological constituents of psychotherapeutic interaction, the talk which transpires between therapist and client has consistently been in the critical limelight—in psychotherapy research, theory and practice. Today, the idea that a clinician’s talk is instrumental in facilitating client change is as little contested as the idea that clients’ talk can be a helpful indicator of their psychological well-being. The identification of what is said in psychotherapy with what is done in psychotherapy is, thus, a practice of professionals and nonprofessionals alike. Is this consensus in any way justified? How might its evidential base best be discovered? Can such queries, pursued empirically, reasonably hope to render clinical practices more efficacious, and in what ways? These are some of the questions the reader will want to put to the following chapters, each of which presents a distinct approach to the analysis of talk in psychotherapeutic settings.
KeywordsSpeech Sample Content Category Popular Opinion Psychotherapy Research Therapist Talk
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