Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy

Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a 'talking cure'- clients voice their troubles to therapists, who listen, prompt, question, interpret and generally try to engage in a positive and rehabilitating conversation with their clients. Using the sophisticated theoretical and methodological apparatus of Conversation Analysis - a radical approach to how language in interaction works - this book sheds light on the subtle and minutely organised sequences of speech in psychotherapeutic sessions. It examines how therapists deliver questions, cope with resistance, reinterpret experiences and how they can use conversation to achieve success. Conversation is a key component of people's everyday and professional lives and this book provides an unusually detailed insight into the complexity and power of talk in institutional settings. Featuring contributions from a collection of internationally renowned authors, Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy will appeal to researchers and graduate students studying conversation analysis across the disciplines of psychology, sociology and linguistics.


“This volume highlights the considerable insights that emerge as a result of using conversation analysis to better understand psychotherapeutic interaction. Through an examination of the practices and procedures within the 'talking cure,' the contributors help initiate a dialogue between students of interaction and psychotherapy researchers. Their findings indicate that conversation analysis can highlight key aspects of the psychotherapeutic process which have hitherto remained somewhat opaque.”
- Dr Mike Forrester, Department of Psychology, University of Kent at Canterbury

"This is an outstanding edited collection. In a modest volume it brings together cutting edge conversation analytic studies of psychotherapist–client interaction. It presents the best available single source of current knowledge on psychotherapeutic talk. Notable aspects of the book include the rigorous empirical work and the breadth of psychoanalytic theory and practice covered. Another impressive thing is the original and ethnomethodologically inspired ways an applied thread is incorporated into some of the studies without compromising the “pure” nature of the analytic work..."
- Ann Weatherall, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Journal of Language and Social Psychology