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Forrester, M. Reason, D. (2006). CONVERSATION ANALYSIS AND PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOTHERAPY RESEARCH: QUESTIONS, ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES. Psychoanal. Psychother., 20(1):40-64.
  

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 20(1):40-64

CONVERSATION ANALYSIS AND PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOTHERAPY RESEARCH: QUESTIONS, ISSUES, PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES

Michael Forrester and David Reason

Understanding the talk of the ‘talking cure’ remains a central goal of researchers in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Here, we consider whether conversation analysis (CA) can provide techniques to understand better the conduct of the psychoanalytic therapeutic interaction. Following discussion outlining the participant-oriented nature of this qualitative methodology we consider reasons for the emergence of CA-informed studies of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Amongst other aims, CA focuses on uncovering the process and procedures which make the therapy encounter a distinct form of ‘institutional life’. For psychoanalytically-oriented researchers, CA can refine their skills of attention and engender sensitivity to understanding material in sessions. Using examples from segments of talk between a training therapist and client we highlight both the advantages of, and constraints on, employing CA as an aid to understanding psychotherapeutic sessions by considering contrasting conceptions of temporality in conversation analysis and psychoanalysis. In the former participants are oriented towards the ongoing production of sequential understandings and local ‘context’ in an unfolding present, in the latter participants aim to enhance the emergence of the remote past into the present of the therapeutic interaction. While recognizing the research benefits of CA methodology concluding comments raise questions regarding the potential complementarity between our dispositions towards the close monitoring of the activity and the feelings of fellow humans.

[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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