Storytelling, Depression, and Psychotherapy
The health benefits of having people tell stories about their distress and suffering have been recognised for some time in psychotherapy research. For persons with depression, their narratives have been shown to index difficulties at the levels of emotional processing and personal agency in distinctive ways (Angus & Greenberg, 2011; Vanheule & Hauser, 2008). The aim of this chapter is to show, using the methods of conversation analysis (CA), how clients with depression tell stories about their troubles and how, within an emotion-focused psychotherapeutic context, psychotherapists are able to empathically connect with the client’s troubles. In performing a fine-grained analysis of how talk between therapists and clients sequentially unfolds, I show how certain therapist responses to the client’s story may be more effective at facilitating mutual affiliation. In essence, I claim that by putting more empathy into their responses, therapists are able to facilitate more understanding and endorsement of their discursive intervention.
KeywordsTherapist Response Emotional Impact Conversation Analysis Narrative Analysis Psychotherapy Research
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