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Storytelling, Depression, and Psychotherapy

  • Peter Muntigl
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Therapist Response Emotional Impact Conversation Analysis Narrative Analysis Psychotherapy Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Recommended reading

  1. • Angus, L., & McLeod, J. (Eds.) The handbook of narrative psychotherapy: Practice, theory and research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. • Greenberg, L. S., & Watson, J. (2006). Emotion-focused therapy for depression. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. • Mandelbaum, J. (2013). Storytelling in conversation. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers (Eds.), The handbook of conversation analysis (pp. 492–508). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar

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© Peter Muntigl 2016

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  • Peter Muntigl

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