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Gulina, M. Dobrolioubova, V. (2018). One Language and Two Mother Tongues in the Consulting Room: Dilemmas of a Bilingual Psychotherapist. Brit. J. Psychother., 34(1):3-24.

(2018). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 34(1):3-24


One Language and Two Mother Tongues in the Consulting Room: Dilemmas of a Bilingual Psychotherapist

Marina Gulina and Vera Dobrolioubova

The purpose of the present study is twofold: first, to explore the bilingual therapist's experience of working in a second language; and second, to explore the major functions of language within the therapeutic setting. Interpretative phenomenological analysis is used to explore in depth the experience of 16 bilingual therapists of different professional orientations: psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counselling psychologists, clinical psychologists and counsellors. Semi-structured life-world interviews were employed in accordance with the exploratory nature of the research. Four major themes were identified: ‘Listening and understanding the client’; ‘Interventions and interpretations’; ‘Potential impact of language on the therapeutic encounter: Therapist's point of view’; and ‘Therapist's experience of self’. The data demonstrated differences in the understanding of functions of language within the therapeutic setting among psychotherapists. The importance of the symbolic functions of language in therapeutic discourse is discussed. In addition, the specifics of language within the therapeutic encounter are explored and outlined.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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