Communicative practices of resistance in psychotherapy interactions: Patients resistance to solution-oriented questions
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In this thesis, I investigate the practices of linguistic resistance in psychotherapeutic interactions to uncover which communicative practices of resistance patient use in these interactions. I study this interactional linguistic phenomenon using conversation analytic methodologies, focusing on patient responses to solution-oriented questions. The data for my analysis come psychotherapeutic interactions involving four individual therapists and four individual patients. Within this thesis, I define linguistic resistance as: disconfirming responses to a therapist’s solution-oriented question. Linguistic resistance plays an important role in psychotherapeutic interactions, allowing the patient to avoid giving a preferred response and, therefore, not dealing with the topic the therapist introduced. While previous research has studied resistance from a psychoanalytic perspective, there is to date little linguistics research on the topic, leading me to my following questions: What communicative practices of linguistic resistance do by patients use? How do patients design their linguistic resistance? And how do therapists respond to this form of resistance? I divide the patients’ displays of resistance into three categories: ‘optimized responses’, ‘permanent resistance’ and ‘no resistance’. Most responses fall in the category ‘optimized responses’, suggesting patients provide a disconfirming response in response to solution-oriented questions; with therapist intervention, the patient can eventually respond in an optimized manner. One communicative practice of linguistic resistance in this category is to reject the therapist’s project through “if I… ever” [“ob ich … jemals”] or similar formulations. In displays of ‘permanent resistance’ patients reject the objective problem itself; formulations such “absolutely” [“auf jeden Fall”] are indication of ‘no resistance’.
Cite this work
Louisa Johanna Morick (2017). Communicative practices of resistance in psychotherapy interactions: Patients resistance to solution-oriented questions. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12280