Narratives, Agency and Social Change: Analysis Across Disciplines

Centre for Narrative Research will run the pre-conference workshop ‘Narratives, Agency and Social Change: analysis across disciplines’ on 2 July 2018, as part of the Conference Narrative Matters at the University of Twente, Netherlands. Registration details can be viewed on this link
Narratives, Agency and Social Change: Analysis Across Disciplines
Workshop by Molly Andrews, Cigdem Esin, Aura Lounasmaa and Corinne Squire, Centre for Narrative Research (University of East London).

Narratives are a primary tool by which individuals recognise and affirm themselves as members of a collective, thereby often acting as a catalyst for the raising of political consciousness. In this workshop, viewing narratives as social acts, we will explore the function of narratives for (the) individual and/or collective storytellers, the conditions of possibility for narratives to be constituted and performed, the ways in which narratives constitute meaning linking the past, present and the future, and the relationality in narratives through which individuals shape the conditions of their lives. 

The workshop will raise questions about how stories’ stylistic structures relate to social change: in particular, certain forms of metaphor and other rhetorical tropes that can work to support social change, the peculiar dynamics surrounding research that is on overtly political, the coalescence of place, time, subjectivity and the social in narratives and the ethical complexity of working with personal-political narratives. 

The workshop leaders will use examples from political speeches, community stories of living with HIV, and other forms of political talks as well as examples from their own research on political narratives in various socio-political contexts.

Please see the full list of all pre-conference workshops on the 2nd of July below. The schedule for the day and further details can be viewed on this link.

Dr Chisomo Kalinga

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

Dr Chisomo Kalinga is a Wellcome medical humanities postdoctoral fellow at the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her work investigates literary traditions and community health narratives in Malawi and its border countries. As part of the project, she collaborated with Chancellor College at the University of Malawi to launch the first medical humanities conference and network for Malawiana studies. She was most recently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD was completed at King’s College London (2014) and offered a comparative study of Malawian and American AIDS fiction. Her research interests are sexuality, health, wellbeing, traditional healing and witchcraft and their narrative representation in African print and oral literatures.

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‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies

“Discourse and Health Research Group” 9th April 2018, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh

Sue Chowdhry Ph.D Nursing Student presents her research on ‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies


‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies In this presentation I discuss some of the findings from my PhD study investigating maternal healthcare in the context of maternal obesity discourse. In Western societies, medical and cultural representations of people labelled as ‘obese’ have been implicated in the Othering of larger people (Puhl & Heuer, 2009). Larger women’s pregnancies are labelled as ‘high-risk’ pregnancies, and consequently, involve higher levels of medicalisation than ‘low-risk’ pregnancies. Obstetricians therefore, play a significant role in the medical governance of larger women’s pregnancies; and yet, there is a gap in knowledge about how they construct this aspect of their work. The research findings I present are based on interviews with five Scottish obstetricians about their management of larger women’s pregnancies. The research data was analysed using a narrative structural approach to examine the ways obstetricians, obstetric practices, and larger women were framed in the stories obstetricians told about this aspect of their work. The findings provide a context for further discussion with which to examine the Othering of larger women in the context of maternal obesity policy: providing a focus on which to improve maternal healthcare experience, and a context for further examination of the medical management of larger women’s pregnancies in the context of neoliberal public health policy and anti-obesity discourse.

“Resistance” at the IASH


Event date: Friday 9 March
Time: 09:45 – 17:00
Location: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

RESISTANCE: an all-day symposium hosted by Scottish PEN Women Writer’s Committee and the Institute for the Advanced Studies in Humanities

Featuring Jackie Kay, Sim Bajwa, Caroline Bowditch, Beth Banjeree-Richards, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi and Alice Tarbuck

This will be an open, supported discussion on Resistance as a way of exploring and fighting for change around the boundaries of gender, womenhood, the limits of language and experiences of misogyny, violence and power. The day will be built on a fully intersectional approach, and the discussions and panel will include women and non-binary people across a range of classes, ethnicities, abilities, races, and sexualities. The day is open to all and free to attend, and includes lunch and refreshments.

Organised to align with International Women’s Day, we are interested in ensuring that our discussions of gender and discrimination remain inclusive, open, and actively support the ever-changing and dynamic nature of these issues.

The event will be BSL-interpreted throughout.

Free tickets are available here:

“Therapists Have a Lot to Add to the Field of Research, but Many Don’t Make it There” by Sofia Bager-Charleson et al.

Therapists Have a Lot to Add to the Field of Research, but Many Don’t Make it There: A Narrative Thematic Inquiry into Counsellors’ and Psychotherapists’ Embodied Engagement with Research

Sofie Bager-Charleson, Simon Du Plock & Alistair McBeath
Metanoia Institute London


Research frequently addresses a gap between practice and research in the field of psychotherapy. Castonguay et al (2010) suggest that the practice of many full-time psychotherapists is rarely or nonsubstantially influenced by research. Boisvert and Faust (2005) ask ‘why do psychotherapists not rely on the research to consistently inform their practice?’ and suggest that concerns ‘have echoed through the decades’ about psychotherapists’ failings to integrate of research and practice. This study focuses on therapists’ (counsellors and psychotherapists) reasoning about their engagement with ‘research’ as described in dissertations and in personal, anonymously presented documents, research journals and interviews included. The study focuses on the stages which generally are referred to as ‘data analysis’, which in this study refers research stages where interpretation typically is required with synthesising and analysing in mind. Turning our attention to the therapists’ ‘narrative knowing’ about research during these stages where generating own new knowledge is put to the forefront, have highlighted a complex relationship involving epistemological discrepancies, real or imagined, between practice and research. It also highlighted gender issues, culture and commonly held constructs about what constitutes a ‘counsellor’, which we believe influence therapists’ presence in research. We decided to include the citation “Therapists have a lot to add to the field of research, but many don’t make it there” in the title to illustrate some of the complexity. The study is based on a Professional Doctorate programme, which engages with psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists in practice-based research. In addition to drawing from dissertations already in the public domain students and graduates from the doctoral programme were invited to contribute their own embodied experiences from ‘doing’ a data analysis. The paper suggests a hybrid for narrative analysis, discussing the options to (re-)present narratives guided by a combined interest into the unique, personal whilst also looking for ‘themes’ within and across these narratives.

Registration is now open for Narrative Matters 2018

Registration is now open for Narrative Matters 2018
Conference theme: The ABCs of Narrative
July 2-5, 2018, Enschede, the Netherlands

Narrative Matters is a bi-annual conference on the study of narrative, which brings together scholars from different disciplines. The current booming interest for narrative or “story-telling” across academic disciplines and professional fields comes with a number of challenges. One of these challenges, as captured by the conference theme “the ABCs of narrative”, is the need for a better understanding and an interdisciplinary dialogue between A) the arts and humanities; B) the natural and computer sciences; C) the behavioral, social, and health sciences. A thorough interdisciplinary exchange can enrich our understanding of the cognitive, affective, motivational, social, political, ideological, or ethical workings of narrative, and provide insights from which also diverse professional uses of narrative can benefit. A second challenge is that of learning about exciting new developments in technological expression and computational analysis of narrative that might be productive both for researchers and professionals. A third challenge the “ABCs of narrative” aims to address is the need to stimulate “critical narrative savviness” among citizens, in particular in the many professional practices in which narrative or story-telling play a central role. A keen critical acumen and sense of responsibility are needed, in our days as much as ever in the past, to detect and resist unwanted effects of narrative world-making and persuasion.

We identified a number of topics that address these three challenges and seem relevant for a fruitful understanding and improved uses of narrative across disciplines and professions.
· Narrative coping with complexity and uncertainty;
· Narrative and the shaping of identities;
· Narratives and innovative technological modes of expressing and computational modes of analyzing;
· Narrative, affect, and the fabrication of truth;
· Narrative and power in societies, organizations, and practices.

Dr Anneke Sools has been awarded with the Early Career Award

Dr. Anneke Sools has been awarded with the Early Career Award by the Narrative Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The award is designed to recognize a researcher’s outstanding accomplishment in the area of narrative research and to honor an individual in the early career phase. The judgement of the committee on Anneke’s work: “we were particularly impressed by the unique contributions your work makes to the theoretical understandings in narrative studies. It was a great privilege to read your work.”

Dr Anneke Sools

Affiliation: University of Twente

Anneke Sools is Assistant Professor at the department of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands). She is also Program Director of the Storylab (Dutch expert centre in the area of narrative psychology, health, and technology connected to the University of Twente). Sools is the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Award from AERA (American Educational Research Association) Narrative SIG (Special Interest Group). Her PhD dissertation at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht concerned narrative research methodology in the context of health promotion. She received a MSc Degree in Psychology of Culture and Religion from the University of Nijmegen. Her MSc thesis was awarded the Professor Halkes Thesis Award in 2001. For some years she has been a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Narrative Research (University of East London) and a member of the science committee of the international conference Narrative Matters. In 2010 she founded the Network for Narrative Research Netherlands together with Floor Basten from Campus Orléon. Her current research focuses on the construction of alternative future stories in the face of uncertainty, precarity, and possibility-reducting circumstances.

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Dr Michelle O’Reilly

Affiliation: University of Leicester

Michelle O’Reilly is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester, working for the Greenwood Institute of Child Health and a Research Consultant for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. Her research activities focus on qualitative research in child mental health. For example, recent work has examined family therapy interactions and child mental health assessments. Michelle uses discourse analysis and conversation analysis to look at the social construction of mental health and to explore in detail the interactions between health professionals, parents and children. Her current project is a collection of approximately 42 hours of initial assessment data with 28 families attending their first appointment at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

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Dr Anders Nordahl-Hansen

Affiliation: University of Oslo

My research mainly involves the development of social communication and language in children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. I currently hold the position as a postdoc at the department of special needs education at the University of Oslo, Norway, where I am conducting a Campbell Systematic Review on language interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Another project concerns how media, in particular TV and film, portrays characters autism spectrum disorders. This project is one of the few that quantitatively evaluate fictional characters with ASD up against diagnostic criteria. The papers related to this project have been published in Psychiatry Research, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, The Lancet Psychiatry as well as a book-chapter in Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. I have also been involved on a project lead by Roald Øien at the University of Tromsø and Yale University that evaluate different screening instruments for autism spectrum disorders.

In collaboration with Roald Øien, Logan Hart we have worked as guest editors for a special issue in Journal of Autism and developmental Disorders (The April 2018 Issue) that contain some 30 papers related to the area of parenting and primary caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders.

I collaborate with researchers from among others The University of Edinburgh, University of Tromsø, Yale University, Royal Holloway – University of London, and the University of Helsinki.

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Identifying Depression through Language

In an Absolute State: Elevated Use of Absolutist Words Is a Marker Specific to Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation

Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi & Tom Johnstone


Absolutist thinking is considered a cognitive distortion by most cognitive therapies for anxiety and depression. Yet, there is little empirical evidence of its prevalence or specificity. Across three studies, we conducted a text analysis of 63 Internet forums (over 6,400 members) using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software to examine absolutism at the linguistic level. We predicted and found that anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation forums contained more absolutist words than control forums (ds > 3.14). Suicidal ideation forums also contained more absolutist words than anxiety and depression forums (ds > 1.71). We show that these differences are more reflective of absolutist thinking than psychological distress. It is interesting that absolutist words tracked the severity of affective disorder forums more faithfully than negative emotion words. Finally, we found elevated levels of absolutist words in depression recovery forums. This suggests that absolutist thinking may be a vulnerability factor.

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Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson

Affiliation: Metanoia Institute

Sofie Bager-Charleson is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Studies (Management) on the MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute. She has published widely in the field of research reflexivity, including the text book Practice-based Research in Therapy: A Reflexive Approach (Sage, 2014). She is the founder of the Metanoia Research Academy, and the cofounder of IMPACT, a research network at the Metanoia Institute aimed to encourage the generation and exchange of ideas and knowledge within and beyond the Institute. Sofie also practises as a UKCP and BACP registered psychotherapist and supervisor, with a PhD in narrative research into family attachment (Lund University, Sweden). Some of her recent publications are:

Bager-Charleson, S., du Plock, S., McBeath, A (2018 in press) “Therapists have a lot to add to the field of research, but many don’t make it there”. A narrative thematic inquiry into counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ embodied engagement with research. Journal for Language and Psychoanalysis, 7 2018
Bager-Charleson, S., Dewaele, J., Costa, B. & Kasap, Z. (2017) A Multilingual Outlook: Can Awarness-Raising about Multilingualism Affect Therapists’ Practice? A Mixed-Method Evaluation. Language and Psychoanalysis, 2017, 6 (2), 56-75.
Bager-Charleson & Kasap, Z. (2017a) Embodied Situatedness and Emotional Entanglement in Research. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 190– 200.
Bager-Charleson, S. (2017b) Countertransference in Research: An intersubjective reflexive approach. In Valeri, P. Introduction to Countertransference in Therapeutic Practice: A Myriad of Mirrors pp. 167-185.
Bager-Charleson, S. (2015) Relational reflexivity in therapy-based research’, In Goss, S. and Stevens, C. Making Research Matter. London: Routledge
Bager-Charleson, S. (2014) Practice-based research in therapy – a reflexive approach. London: Sage

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“Therapists and Research – an ambivalent relationship?” by Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson

Therapists and Research – an ambivalent relationship? 

References are frequently made to a strained relationship between therapeutic practice and research. Goldfried and Wolfe (1996) described the relationship as a ‘strained alliance’. Tasca (2015) refers to a ‘practice–research divide, which is widely acknowledged as a problem in psychotherapy’ and Henton (2012) has suggested that psychotherapy and research are often characterised as ‘opposing domains’.

The Research Academy at Metanoia offers workshops focusing specifically on Psychotherapy research, including two recent studies into Therapists and Research (Bager-Charleson et al 2018a, 2018b). One study focuses on therapists’ (counsellors and psychotherapists) reasoning about their engagement with ‘research’ as described in dissertations and in personal, anonymously presented documents, research journals and interviews included. Turning our attention to the therapists’ ‘narrative knowing’ about research highlighted a complex relationship involving epistemological discrepancies, real or imagined, between practice and research. It also highlighted gender issues, culture and commonly held constructs about what constitutes a ‘counsellor’, which we believe influence therapists’ presence in research. We decided to include the citation “Therapists have a lot to add to the field of research, but many don’t make it there” in the title to illustrate some of the complexity.

The Metanoia workshops touches some of these difficulties, and ranges from qualitative to quantitative research with focus on improving practice through reflexive research. The speakers include Carla Willig, Mick Cooper, Bill Stiles, Dr Marie Adams and Dr Alan Priest.

*Bager-Charleson, S., du Plock, S., McBeath, A (2018a in press) “Therapists Have a lot to Add to the Field of Research, but Many Don’t Make it There: A Narrative Thematic Inquiry into Counsellors’ and Psychotherapists’ Embodied Engagement with Research” Journal for Language and Psychoanalysis

Bager-Charleson, S., McBeath, A., du Plock, S. (2018b in Press) “The Relationship Between Psychotherapy Practice and Research: A Mixed-Method Exploration of Practitioners’ Views” Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, CPR, Journal, special issue, winter 2018.

Dr Sylvia Jaworska

Affiliation: University of Reading

Dr Sylvia Jaworska is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. She is interested in contemporary discourses around health and illness, also in context of food communication and parenting, and explores those areas using linguistic methodologies including corpus linguistics, discourse and narrative analysis. She has published work on discourses of perinatal health and postnatal depression across medical, media and lay contexts as well as pain narratives (please see her publications here). Currently, Sylvia is involved in an interdisciplinary project on the multimodality, perception and understanding of health claims on food packing.

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Dr Martin Pickersgill

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

Martyn Pickersgill is Wellcome Trust Reader in Social Studies of Biomedicine. Based in Edinburgh Medical School, he conducts research in the social sciences and medical humanities. Martyn’s primary expertise is in the sociology of science, technology and medicine. To date, his research has focused primarily on the social, legal and ethical dimensions of biomedicine and the health professions. In particular, Martyn’s work has considered the sociologies of epigenetics, neuroscience, and mental health (supported through a range of funders, including the AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, Newby Trust and Wellcome Trust).

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Dr Stefan Ecks

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

Stefan Ecks is co-founder of the Medical Anthropology Programme and a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University. He works on popular and plural professional concepts of body, health, and medicine in South Asia. Recent research explored the dynamics of the Indian pharmaceutical market, changing ideas of mental health in South Asia, pharmaceutical citizenship and access to health care for poorer people. He held visiting fellowships at the University of California at Berkeley, the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg, and the Brocher Foundation at Geneva. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Medical Anthropology Anthropology & Medicine, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and as Area Editor for Anthropology, Archaeology, Health, and Ethics of Research for the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition. Recent publications include the monograph (New York, 2013).

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Paula Greenlees

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

I am currently a PhD researcher in the psychology department at the University of Edinburgh. I graduated from the Open University with a first class honours degree in psychology in 2016. My research focuses on high demand religious groups which can be defined as those which control the social world and actions of the individual through a strictly imposed framework of rules. How the process of leaving such a group works from a social identity perspective has been an area neglected in social psychology to date. There is a growing body of data available online providing insights into the world of high demand groups which this research will utilise. The overarching aim of my research is to explore exit and identity changes by examining the various discourse constructions at play in the descriptions of those who are or have been involved with these groups. The nature of the data under examination, which contains a level of social interaction, makes it suitable for analysis using discursive psychology. CA and discursive  analysis provide a rigorous, qualitative means to psychologically examine this rarely explored process through the highlighting of category entitlements and ascriptions, moral accountability through the process and epistemic access issues in interaction.

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Dr Paul Dickerson

Affiliation: University of Roehampton

I am interested in conversation and discourse analysis. One strand of this interest involves using conversation and discourse analysis to investigate issues such as communicative impairment (autism and aphasia), interactions with robots and political talk. A second strand of this interest concerns the various debates to be had with and within various aspects of social psychology.

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Dr David C. Giles

Affiliation: University of Winchester

I am Reader in Media Psychology. After working for several years as a freelance music journalist for publications such as NME and the Independent, I studied Psychology at the University of Manchester and did a PhD with the University of Bristol looking at children’s spelling.

Wondering why there was so little research on the influence of the media on human behaviour, I began to develop the field of media psychology, with particular interest in the meanings that celebrity holds for audiences and for the celebrities themselves (Giles, 2000, 2002; Rockwell & Giles, 2009). Since then I have also explored the framing processes of news media (e.g. Giles & Shaw, 2009) and interaction in online mental health communities (Giles, 2006, 2014; Giles & Newbold, 2011, 2013). I have become increasingly interested in the way that social media have transformed the relationship between celebrities and audiences, and my current work looks at the way these developments challenge many of the assumptions of media and audience research (Giles, in prep).

I have an interest in psychological research methods generally, and I set up the journal Qualitative Research in Psychology (Taylor & Francis) with Brendan Gough and Martin Packer, whose first issue appeared in 2004. More recently I have been involved in an international network exploring the development of qualitative methods for studying online communication (MOOD – Microanalysis Of Online Data).


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“Social Science Protocols”

Social Science Protocols is a new open-access journal platform published by Edinburgh
University Library Open Journals. The official launch of the journal platform is March 2018.

Social Science Protocols is the only platform with a strong focus on publishing study protocols in the social sciences, including the disciplines of archaeology, the arts, communication studies, economics, education, geography, history, law, literature, linguistics, philosophy, politics, psychology, religious studies, sociology and social work.

Study protocols can be for proposed and ongoing studies, and should provide a detailed account of the research hypothesis, rational and methodology of the study. Study protocols that have received funding from a major funding body and ethical approval will be published without peer review. All published study protocols will receive a doi number and appear in academic databases.

Benefits of Publishing Research Protocols

  • Ensures transparency and documentation of research processes, such as a study’s plan, research question, methodology and analytic approach to data.
  • Benefits the researcher from obtaining critical and constructive feedback on their proposed study through a vigorous peer reviewing process.
  • Provides a platform to compare the initial research intent and the actual research outcome.
  • Enables the research community to identify studies that are currently being conducted in their research field.
  • Reduces duplication bias and encourages collaboration between researchers.
  • Benefits researchers who are conducting systematic reviews to source relevant studies that could reduce distortion of evidence from publication bias.
  • Improves standards of social science research to develop a strong evidence base and better societal impact.
Submissions of study protocols are welcome throughout the year for prompt online publication.
Social Science Protocols does not publish results of accepted study protocols, but it provides electronic links to associated publications and documents, such as journal articles and datasets.
We are also still looking for academics across the social science disciplines to join the editorial team. To join the editorial team or to submit study protocols, please contact the managing journal editor Dr. Laura Cariola (

Digital Scholarship talk on Complex Mental Illness in the UK Press — November 22, 2017

Presented by Laura Cariola 

Abstract: This seminar reports on an in-depth corpus-assisted discourse analysis which explores how complex mental illnesses are presented in UK newspaper articles and medical case studies.

Special attention is given to identifying how discourse types compare in their communication of stereotypes and prejudices that create and reinforce existing social stigma against individuals affected by mental illness. I will outline an analysis of discursive constructions of borderline personality disorder in the UK Press that was based on 2,139 articles (with total count of 1,868,320 words) from the first mentioning of the term “borderline personality disorder” in 1990, until 2016. The results indicated that discourses were highly gendered with significantly more references to women than men, which is consistent with women being associated with borderline personality disorder (Becker, 1997). Women’s identities were often described through familial relationships, and women’s ownership status was restrained to simplistic existential themes.

Although early parental losses and trauma were reported in both women and men, there were also stereotypical gender-based differences associated to borderline personality disorder-diagnosed women, including reports of suicide and matricide as well as unresolved parental dependencies and conflicts. This alludes to parental conflicts as the cause of developing borderline personality disorder (Whalen et al., 2014). In relation to the home environment, women were also presented as passive victims of others’ coercive or destructive behaviour. In summary, the results of this semantic analysis showed that newspaper articles present stereotypical gender-based differences of borderline personality disorder, which reinforce public’s negative ideologies towards mental illness and women, and may also interfere with clinical perceptions.

“Language and Psychoanalysis” – Call for papers Volume 7 Spring-Summer Issue 2018

The journal “Language and Psychoanalysis” is currently accepting manuscripts for Volume 7, Spring-Summer 2018. Manuscript submission due date: 31th March 2018
Language and Psychoanalysis” is a fully peer reviewed online journal that publishes twice a year. It is the only interdisciplinary journal with a strong focus on the qualitative and quantitative analysis of language and psychoanalysis. The journal is also inclusive and not narrowly confined to the Freudian psychoanalytic theory.
We welcome a wide range of original contributions that further the understanding of the interaction between Linguistic Analysis and Theory & Psychoanalytic Theories and Techniques. Any relevant manuscripts with an emphasis on language and psychoanalysis will be considered, including papers on linguistics, methodology, theory, philosophy, child development, psychopathology, psychotherapy, embodied cognition, cognitive science, applied dynamical system theory, consciousness studies, cross-cultural research, and case studies. The journal also publishes short research reports, book reviews, interviews, obituaries, and readers’ comments
Manuscripts should be send to the managing editor Laura A. Cariola <>

“Language and Psychoanalysis” has also been officially accepted to be covered by PsycINFO (APA).

Please distribute widely among your friends, colleagues and students!

“Discourse Analysis Workshop” at University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Science

There will be a series of workshops with an focus on “discourse analysis in health and social science”.
ALL ARE WELCOME but places are limited. Please contact me directly to reserve your place for the workshops. No prior knowledge of discourse analysis is required, but an interest of using qualitative approaches to health-related data is necessary.
Workshop 1 – 9thth October 2017, 3-5pm
Workshop 2 – 30th October 2017, 3-5pm
Workshop 3 – 20th November 2017, 3-5pm

Location: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

“‘I was seeing more of her’: international counselling trainees’ perceived benefits of intercultural clinical practice” by Lorena Georgiadou


Counsellor education in Britain is steadily turning into a multicultural environment. The limited relevant literature focuses on the challenges that ‘culturally different’ and international trainees may encounter. The aim of this paper is to elucidate a rarely exposed aspect of international counselling trainees’ training experience, namely, the benefits they identify in practising across languages and cultures during placement. The illustration of this positive perspective is pertinent to the profession, as it expands existing knowledge on international trainees’ experience of clinical practice and it challenges the prevailing conceptualisation of this situation as potentially problematic. It is argued that a shift towards a more holistic understanding of this population’s counselling experiences is likely to have particularly useful implications for counsellor education and the profession more broadly.



“‘My language thing … is like a big shadow always behind me’: International counselling trainees’ challenges in beginning clinical practice” By Lorena Georgiadou


Background: While counsellor education becomes increasingly culturally diverse, little is known about international trainees’ experiences of training. Objective: The present study explores one aspect of training, namely clinical practice from the perspective of international, non-native speaking trainees. In particular, this paper focuses on the challenges this group encounters when practicing in a second language. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews with four non-native English-speaking trainees were conducted and analysed following the principles of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Findings suggest that participants encounter practical difficulties related to their non-native/foreign identity in practice, such as problems with articulate self-expression and understanding the client’s speech. These difficulties generate anxiety and impact on the trainees’ confidence. Conclusions and implications for counsellor training: This study elucidates language as a fundamental aspect of culture, and identifies second language use as a significant source of difference in counselling practice. This paper highlights the need for attention to linguistic diversity and for appropriate support during counsellor education. This will improve international trainees’ experiences of training, but also enhance all trainees’ understanding of difference, resulting in better service provision for the community.

“Social Change Through Critical Knowledge Work: The case of ADHD” by Charles Marley & David Fryer


This paper addresses the questions of what it is to engage in social change through knowledge work. The authors engage critically with the constitution as a ‘social reality’ of ‘evidence-based practice’ in relation to ADHD.

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“Presentations of borderline personality disorder in the UK press” by Laura A. Cariola

This study “Presentations of borderline personality disorder in the UK press: A corpus-assisted discourse analysis” has been presented on the 5th May 2017 as an invited speaker talk at the Cross Disciplinary Perspectives on ‘anti-social personality disorder’: Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) in Context” seminar series in London (Funded by the ESRC).


People with borderline personality disorder are exposed to stigma and discrimination towards mental illness, which impacts on their quality of life and recovery. Through the use of corpus-assisted discourse analysis, this presentation explores the discursive constructions of borderline personality disorder in the UK Press. The corpus included 2,139 articles (with total count of 1,868,320 words) from the first mentioning of the term “borderline personality disorder” in 1990, until 2016.

An initial analysis of frequent key words indicated that discourses were highly gendered with significantly more references to women than men – “her” (23,820), “she” (22,539) vs. “he” (11,382), “his” (9,691), which is consistent with women being associated with borderline personality disorder (Becker, 1997). Women’s identities were often described through familial relationship – “her mother” (871), “her daughter” (591), “her family” (567), “her son” (470) and “her father” (405) – and women’s ownership status was restrained to simplistic existential themes – “her life” (1,179), “her death” (860), “her problems” (124). Suicide was more frequently reported in relation to women – “took (119), take (94), end (32), taken (40) her life” or “jumped (56) to her death”, compared to men. Women are also more often reported of having killed their own mother – e.g., “killed (46), stabbing (39), killing (23) her mother”, whereas in men, mothers were implicitly or explicitly blamed – e.g., “his mother was jailed”, “his mother was an alcoholic”, “his mother was largely to blame”, which alludes to parental conflicts as the cause of developing borderline personality disorder (Whalen et al., 2014). Although early parental losses and trauma were reported in both women and men, women were found to have continuous parental dependencies and conflicts – “her parents did take her back into their home”, “was thrown out of her home by her own parents”. In relation to the immediate home environment, women were also passive victims of others’ coercive or destructive behaviour – e.g., “she was taken from her home”, ”she was raped on her way home”.

In summary, the results of this initial semantic analysis showed that newspaper articles present stereotypical gender-based differences of borderline personality disorder, which reinforce public’s negative ideologies towards mental illness and may also interfere with clinical perceptions.


“Fake it till you make it: Fishing for Catfishes” by Walid Magdy et al.

Using language algorithms  to detect fake online profiles that deceive other users


Many adult content websites incorporate social networking features. Although these are popular, they raise significant challenges, including the potential for users to “catfish”, i.e., to create fake profiles to deceive other users. This paper takes an initial step towards automated catfish detection. We explore the characteristics of the different age and gender groups, identifying a number of distinctions. Through this, we train models based on user profiles and comments, via the ground truth of specially verified profiles. Applying our models for age and gender estimation of unverified profiles, we identify 38% of profiles who are likely lying about their age, and 25% who are likely lying about their gender. We find that women have a greater propensity to catfish than men. Further, whereas women catfish select from a wide age range, men consistently lie about being younger. Our work has notable implications on operators of such online social networks, as well as users who may worry about interacting with catfishes.

Paper to appear in IEEE/ACM ASONAM 2017

Dr Walid Magdy, University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics.

Research Fellowship in the Humanities

The Institute for Advances Studies in the Humanities has offered Laura Cariola (that’s me) a postdoctoral research fellowship to explore “Presentations of Complex Mental Illness in Media and Medical Discourses using Corpus-Based Approaches to Discourse Analysis”. This project forms part of ongoing work that investigates mental health in public and medical discourses. Collaborators include academics across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, such as clinical psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, anthropology, social work and medicine. The fellowship will also provide ample opportunities for knowledge exchange events and activities, research colloquia and a ‘Health Humanities’ invited speakers series.

The IASH was established in 1969 to promote interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Edinburgh. It support innovative research and public engagement activities across the arts, humanities and social sciences through a range of interdisciplinary and international projects and programmes. The IASH provides an international, interdisciplinary and autonomous space for discussion and debate. Since its foundation more than 1000 scholars from 66 countries have held Institute fellowships; and up to 28 Fellows are in residence at any one time.

Presentations of Complex Mental Illness in Media and Medical Discourses: A Protocol for a Corpus-Assisted Study


“Association for Psychosocial Studies Biennial Conference” 5th-7th April 2018

Bournemouth University, 5th-7th April 2018


‘Psychosocial Reflections on a Half Century of Cultural Revolution’

Fifty years after the hippie counterculture of 1967 (‘the summer of love’) and the political turbulence of 1968 (‘May 68’), this conference will stage a psychosocial examination of the ways in which today’s world is shaped by the forces symbolised by those two moments. It will explore the continuing influence of the deep social, cultural and political changes in the West, which crystallised in the events of these two years. The cultural forces and the political movements of that time aimed to change the world, and did so, though not in the ways that many of their participants expected. Their complex, multivalent legacy of ‘liberation’ is still developing and profoundly shapes the globalising world today, in the contests between what is called neo-liberalism, resurgent fundamentalisms, environmentalism, individualism, nationalisms, and the proliferation of identity politics.

A counter-cultural and identity-based ethos now dominates much of consumer culture, and is reflected in the recent development of some populist and protest politics. A libertarian critique of politics, once at the far margins, now informs popular attitudes towards many aspects of democratic governance; revolutionary critiques have become mainstream clichés. Hedonic themes suffuse everyday life, while self-reflection and emotional literacy have also become prominent values, linked to more positive orientations towards human diversity and the international community.

We invite psychosocial analyses of the development and legacy today of the ‘revolutions’ of the sixties, either through explorations of contemporary issues in politics, culture and artistic expression, or through historical studies. All proposals for papers, panels and workshops must indicate how they address both psychological and social dimensions of their topic.

Topics could include:

•  What happened to hate in the Summer of Love?
•  Lennon vs Lenin: did 1967 and 1968 announce two divergent trends in contemporary culture – and what has happened since to the psychosocial forces they expressed?
•  What are the meanings of ‘liberation’ today?
•  New inequalities in post-industrial societies
•  The resurgence of religion
•  The Six Day War, intifadas, and intractability
•  The planetary environment: fantasies and politics
•  Trajectories of feminism
•  The changing nature of ageing
•  ‘The personal is political’ and other rhetoric in historical context
•  Free minds and free markets
•  The ethics of freedom: for example, where now for freedom of speech?
•  From the Manson Family to the Islamic State
•  Pop music’s global conquest and musical hybridity
•  Changes in artistic practice, creativity and commodification
•  The transformation of media
•  The digitisation of everything
•  Higher education: democratisation and marketisation
•  The potential and limitations of theories of narcissism as a major tool for understanding late modern/post-modern cultures
•  New narcissisms in the twenty-first century
•  Therapeutic culture and its critics
•  Where are they now? Biographical narratives of the revolutionaries
•  States of mind in pivotal moments: San Francisco 67, Paris 68, and since
•  The sense of entitlement: narcissism or social justice?
•  The decline of deference and its consequences
•  The hatred of government and authority
•  The sexualisation of culture
•  Controlled decontrolling or repressive desublimation? Elias and Marcuse on cultural liberalisation
•  Our bodies ourselves: shifting patterns and perceptions of embodiment.

Send your abstract of 250-300 words to:<>
Deadline: 31 May 2017.

Decisions on acceptance will be taken by early July 2017.

Workshops on “Corpus Linguistics and Content Analysis”

In May and June 2017, the School of Health and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh offers a series of workshops on the use of corpus linguistics and content analysis to explore language data. Such quantitative approaches to language analysis are carried out using software and can provide in-depth insight on language use and word patterns that would be too difficult and too time-consuming to identify using qualitative methods.

Dr Andrew Shepard

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I’m currently employed as a Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and Higher Trainee in Forensic Psychiatry, North West of England NHS Deanery.
My research interests relate to exploring the boundaries surrounding the understanding of concepts of mental distress – including the expression of personal distress in varying institutional settings and the interaction between different agents in constructing understanding of ‘disorder.’
Affiliation: University of Manchester and North West of England NHS Deanery

Psychoanalysis and Sexuality Today Clinical Conference – 21st October 2017 in Dublin

Psychosocial Factors on Transference & Countertransference in Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy

Irish Museum of Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7, Ireland

Saturday 21 October 2017 at 9 am-5.15 pm

This clinical conference considers a range of issues relating to sexuality, as it exists in our consulting rooms today, from a clinical psychoanalytic perspective. The conference brings together clinical practitioners of psychoanalysis from a number of different traditions (Freudian, Kleinian, Lacanian, Jungian, Relational), who work in a range of settings (private practices, public services, training organisations), and in a variety of ways (with adults and/or children and adolescents, individuals, couples and groups). Speakers come from all the clinical psychoanalytic organisations operating in the South and North of Ireland: the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IFPP), the Association for Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy in Ireland (APPI), the Irish Analytical Psychology Association (IAPA), the Irish Forum for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IFCAPP), the Irish Group Analytic Society (IGAS), the Northern Ireland Institute for Human Relations (NIIHR), the Irish Psycho-Analytic Association (IPAA), the Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP), the Irish Circle of the Lacanian Orientation-New Lacanian School (ICLO-NLS), the Northern Ireland Association for the Study of Psychoanalysis (NIASP), and the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), and from a number of different traditions of psychoanalysis: Julie Brown, Gráinne Casey, José Castilho, Barbara Fitzgerald, Dr Noreen Giffney, Dr Belinda Moller, Dr Ian Miller, Ann Murphy, Pauline O’Callaghan, Dr Barry O’Donnell, Dr Ray O’Neill, Dr Medb Ruane, Florencia Shanahan, David Smith, Dr Julie Sutton, Dr Eve Watson and Rob Weatherill. Many of the speakers also work as clinical supervisors and are involved in the training and further professional development training of practitioners working in the field of clinical psychoanalysis. 

This conference is organised by Dr Noreen Giffney (the Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and the Psychoanalytic Section in the Irish Council for Psychotherapy) and Dr Eve Watson (the Association for Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy in Ireland and the Psychoanalytic Section in the Irish Council for Psychotherapy). We expect the conference to book out so early registration is advised.

Registration: 85 eu (full fee) and 50 eu (reduced fee for people who are retired, unemployed or in training).

Registration is via Eventbrite:

See the attached notice for further details about the conference and how to register. To contact the organisers, email Noreen
( and Eve (

“Borderline States of Mind and destructive Feelings: A diagnosis for our times?” 5th May 2017

ASPD in Context — Cross Disciplinary Perspectives on ‘anti-social personality disorder’
Borderline States of Mind and Destructive Feelings: A diagnosis for our times?
The Institute of Group Analysis, London NW3 5BY

“The Nuances of Metaphor Theory for Constructivist Psychotherapy” by Dennis Tay

AbstractConstructivist Psychology journal cover

Constructivist psychotherapy and contemporary metaphor theory, as part of the neighboring fields of psychology and linguistics, share fundamental assumptions rooted in constructivist philosophy. There has been much cross-disciplinary discussion of how our inclination toward metaphors translates into an important meaning-making resource in therapy and other domains of professional practice, such as education. Nevertheless, more reciprocal effort is needed to (a) show practitioners the relevance of nuanced aspects of metaphor theory and linguistic analysis that may evade their attention, and (b) sensitize linguists toward practice-driven factors in their analyses. This article attempts the first of these tasks by identifying and exemplifying four such aspects: (a) source domains at different experiential levels, (b) variable source-target relationships in discourse, (c) metaphorical processes at higher levels of analysis, and (d) discursive and communicative grounding of metaphor. I suggest how they might provide pertinent insights and future directions for interpreting, analyzing, and working with metaphors in psychotherapy.

Link to original article

“Trialogue: An Exercise in Communication Between Users, Carers, and Professional Mental Health Workers Beyond Role Stereotypes” M. Amering


Communications and collaborations between mental health care users and user activists, family carers and friends, and mental health professionals and policy makers outside and beyond traditional clinical and pedagogic encounters are needed to strengthen a rights-based approach in the field of mental health and further civil society involvement. The Trialogue experience – an exercise in communication between service users, families and friends and mental health workers on equal footing – is indicative of our capacity for surviving and gaining from serious discussions of adverse issues as well as the great possibilities of cooperative efforts and coordinated action.

Link to original article in the book “The Stigma of Mental Illness – End of the Story?”

“Saying good goodbyes to your clients: A functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) perspective” by Mavis Tsai, Tore Gustafsson, Jonathan Kanter, Mary Plummer Loudon & Robert J. Kohlenberg


Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) promotes client growth by shaping clients’ daily life problems that also show up in session with their therapists. FAP therapists create evocative contexts within therapy that afford clients the opportunity to practice, refine, and be reinforced for new, more adaptive behaviors which then can be generalized into their outside lives. In FAP, the termination process will vary from client to client depending on the nature of the client’s problems and targets. For many clients, the process can be a rich, multifaceted, final opportunity to evoke, reinforce, and promote generalization of clients’ in-session improvements, particularly improvements related to vulnerable self-expression in the service of intimate and close relationships. By making explicit agreements at the outset of therapy to participate in an intentional termination process, and by later providing an evocative structure for ending therapy with vulnerable emotional expression, clients have the opportunity to develop more adaptive behaviors in the context of relationship endings which can be a painful part of the human experience. Equipped with the skills of open-hearted communication developed from an authentic relationship with their therapist, clients can leave therapy on a trajectory of further growth in interpersonal connection and living more boldly.

Link to original article

“Bilingualism in the real world: How proficiency, emotion, and personality in a second language impact communication in clinical and legal settings” by Inbal Itzhak, Naomi Vingron, Shari R. Baum & Debra Titone


The field of psycholinguistics has long documented how communicating in a second language (L2) can be more challenging than communicating in a first language (L1) because of factors such as low L2 proficiency, accent, and L1 versus L2 differences in the appreciation of semantic or pragmatic nuance (e.g., the emotional connotations or words). Moreover, given that language performance is a primary medium through which people both express their personality and evaluate the personality characteristics of others, these differences in bilingual language processing have important consequences for real-world social interaction. Accordingly, when bilinguals interact with others in their L2, they stand the chance of being misunderstood or misjudged partly because of L1 versus L2 communicative challenges, which can have high-stakes consequences depending on the particular social setting in question. In this article, we selectively review the psycholinguistic literature pertaining to L2 proficiency, emotion, and personality, and apply this knowledge to how communicative effectiveness may be reduced in real-world medical and legal settings. We conclude that increased awareness of these phenomena, and the reasons behind them, can help professionals in the health and legal systems more effectively interact with nonnative speakers. We hope that such increased awareness will lead to the provision of higher quality services to bilingual people.

Link to original article

“Formulations in Psychotherapy Admission Interviews and the Conversational Construction of Diagnosis” by Juan Eduardo Bonnin

In this article, we contribute to understanding the interactional aspects of making clinical diagnosis in mental health care. We observe that therapists, during the “problem presentation” sequence in clinical encounters, often use a specific form of diagnostic formulations to elicit more diagnostically relevant information. By doing so, they often substitute one type of verb with another, following a diagnostic hypothesis. Specifically, in interviews that arrive at a diagnosis of neurosis, therapists formulate with behavioral verbal processes; in interviews that arrive at a diagnosis of psychosis, they do so with material ones. Such formulations often prove useful to define clinical diagnoses. They can, however, also be dangerous in that they may favor the therapist’s agenda over the patient’s. Our analysis helps therapists not only better understand the diagnostic process but also reflect upon their own use of diagnostic formulations and become aware of the clinical effects of their interactional performance.

Link to original article

“Addressing Acculturative Stress in Psychotherapy A Case Study of a Latino Man Overcoming Cultural Conflicts and Stress Related to Language Use” by Calica A. Torres, Martha R. Crowther & Stanley Brodsky


To foster engagement in treatment and improve therapeutic outcomes for immigrant clients, it is important for therapists to integrate cultural values and to recognize the psychological stressors faced as immigrants learn to adapt and assimilate changes associated with moving to a new country. This case study describes the integration of cultural values when working with immigrant Latino clients who are at an increased risk of experiencing acculturative stress as a result of moving to the United States and having limited English knowledge. The integration of cultural values of familismo and personalismo are also discussed as it related to case conceptualization and treatment process. Finally, the current case provides information about conducting therapy in two languages and transitioning from Spanish to English as part of acculturation process while also addressing multifaceted aspects involved when working with Latino clients.

Link to original article

“Multilingualism and psychotherapy: exploring multilingual clients’ experiences of language practices in psychotherapy” by Louise Rolland, Jean-Marc Dewaele & Beverley Costa


This study investigates bi- and multilingual clients’ self-reported language practices in counselling and psychotherapy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through an international web survey inviting adults who had experienced one-to-one therapy to describe their experiences. Analysis of responses by 109 multilingual clients revealed that clients did not always have an opportunity to discuss their multilingualism with therapists, and for some this inhibited their language switching. Others were assertive in their language choices, or benefited from working with a therapist who was either bilingual or skilled at creating an inclusive linguistic environment. Very few reported two main therapy languages, while nearly two thirds of participants reported short code-switches. These happened occasionally within sessions and were typically linked to difficulties in translation, expressing emotion, accessing memories or quotation. Over a third of respondents used a second or additional language as their main therapy language, nearly half of whom reported never switching to their first language in sessions, despite some using it daily for inner speech. The implications for therapy and further research are discussed, including the role of the therapist in inviting the client’s multiple languages into the therapeutic frame.

Link to original article

“Rate of speech and emotional-cognitive regulation in the psychotherapeutic process: a pilot study” by Marco Tonti and Omar Gelo


This study investigates the relationship between a client’s rate of speech (ROS) and emotional-cognitive regulation during a psychotherapysession. The ROS was measured in words per second on the timed transcript of a single session of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Emotional-cognitive regulation was assessed using the therapeutic cycles model on emotional tone (ET), abstraction (AB), and their combination in emotio-abstraction patterns (EAPs). The results were mostly consistent with our hypotheses and showed that: i) the ROS negatively correlated with the conjoined ET and AB; and ii) the ROS in the connecting EAP (high ET and high AB) was significantly lower than in other EAPs. The results support the hypothesis that a significant reduction in the client’s ROS may be a reliable marker of in-session change processes. Clinical implications and future developments are discussed.

Link to original article

Bilingualism as a Tool in Psychotherapy by Daria Diakonova-Curtis

Living in an increasingly globalised world where people move between countries and cultures influences the psychotherapeutic process in many ways. In a recent article for “The Society of Advancement of Psychotherapy”, Daria Diakonova-Curtis explores the implications of being a bilingual psychotherapist, encounters with bilingual clients and current research within this field. To read more about bilingualism in psychotherapy, follow the link to the original article…

Link to original article

New issue of “Language and Psychoanalysis” Volume 6 Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2017

We are very pleased to inform you that Volume 6 Issue 1 of the open access journal “Language and Psychoanalysis” has gone online.

This issue includes the following articles:

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. & George E. Atwood, Ph.D.   The Phenomenology of Language and the Metaphysicalizing of the Real

Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg, Ph.D.   A Psychoanalytic Look into The Effects of Childhood and Adolescent Migration in Eva Hoffman’s Lost in Translation

David Hafner, Ph.D.   An Introduction to the Transference Unconscious 

Rina Stahl Freedman, Ph.D.   Cross-Cultural Treatment Issues in Psychoanalysis      

Giuseppe Iurato, Ph.D.   Book Review. Reading Italian Psychoanalysis

Anonymous Author, M. A.   Book Review. Language Disorders in Children and Adolescents  


The journal “Language and Psychoanalysis” is also currently accepting manuscripts for the next issue in Autumn-Winter 2017.

Manuscript submission due date: 30th September 2017

Language and Psychoanalysis. Special issue on Conversational Analysis

screen-shot-2017-01-15-at-15-51-46Our guest editors Prof. Michael. B. Buchholz and Prof. Horst Kächele have put together a special issue on “Conversational Analysis in Psychotherapy Process Research”. The special issue has excellent contributions that were originally part of the panel at the 47th SPR International Annual Meeting in Jerusalem, Israel. The panel was extremely successful and produced fruitful discussions on positioning conversational analysis in the field of psychotherapy research.

The contributions of the special issue are:


“Communication and Psychotherapy” New Regular Special Issue – Call for Papers

“Communication and Psychotherapy” is a new regular special issue featured by the journal “Language and Psychoanalysis”. The special issue welcomes original contributions to further understand of communication and language in psychotherapeutic processes. It focusses on a wide range of approaches to counselling and psychotherapy, including person-centred, CBT, integrative and holistic therapies.

Any relevant manuscripts with an emphasis on communication and language in counselling and psychotherapy will be considered. The journal also publishes short research reports, book reviews, interviews, obituaries, and readers’ comments.

Manuscripts should be send to the managing editor Dr. Laura A. Cariola
Manuscript submission due date: 31st March 2017


ISSN: 2399-5041

Dr Donna Cox

Affiliation: Open University

Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Research interests are primarily in the area of critical theory and psychoanalytical approaches to textuality and culture with a particular interest in positions of rhetoric inhabited in relation to analysis. Published work has ranged from readings of the early work of Freud, identity and bodily habitation, linguistic negotiation in rap and hip-hop, and the role of phantasy in children’s literature.


Dr Laura Thompson

Dr Laura Thompson

Affiliation: Birkbeck College

Laura Thompson is a Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Social Psychology at Birkbeck College. Her research is applied and ‘real-world’, focusing broadly on health, communication and socio-psychological approaches to occupational psychology. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Laura draws across a range of methods, in particular conversation analysis, to help solve problems within the health sector, psychiatry and private or public companies. Her research aims to form the foundations for psychological treatments and interventions for individuals with health conditions, including schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. 

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“Language and Psychotherapy – Knowledge Transfer Group”

We will be hosting a series of seminars relevant to the topic of language in psychotherapy and patient-centred communication. The aims of the seminars are to transfer knowledge that complements the development of professionals (e.g., academics, practitioners and post-graduate students) working in the field of counselling, psychotherapy, clinical psychology, nursing, psychology, education and other disciplines with an interest in the use of language in therapy and patient-centred communication. The seminars will be also reaching out to NHS staff and therapists working across all three sectors: voluntary, statutory and private.

The seminars will encourage collaborative work and the development of skills for language-based psychotherapy research, and also to develop greater awareness of person-centred communicative processes within the psychotherapeutic context.

ALL ARE WELCOME but spaces are limited. Please contact to reserve your place for the KE seminars. All seminars will take place at the University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Science, Teviot Place, Old Medical School, Doorway 6, Edinburgh EH8 9AG.

10th November 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Second-language use in psychotherapy” by Dr. Lorena Georgiadou

19th December 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Subjectivity in psychotherapy from a perspective of enlightenment and critical rationalism” by Prof. Matthias Schwannauer

 24th January 2-4pm, Room 4.01 “Power and narratives in psychotherapy” by Mr. Seamus Prior

16th February 4.30-5.45pm, Room 4.01 “Autoethnography: a ‘close up’ research approach” Dr. Jonathan Wyatt

 9th March 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Phenomenology and minority experiences” by Dr. Billy Lee

 6th April, 3-5pm Room 4.01 “Metaphors in psychotherapy” by Dr. Laura A. Cariola

See you at the seminars!

Funded by the Researcher-Led Initiative Fund


“Foreign Language Learning Is Like Dating: It Spurs Anxiety” by Aneta Pavlenko

A recent article in “Psychology Today” explores the topic of anxiety in foreign language learning. It mentions the work by Prof. Jean-Marc Dewaele, University of London, who identified that girls tend to experience higher levels of anxiety than boys when learning a foreign language. Individuals scoring highly on perfectionism and introversion are also highly affected by foreign language fright to the extent that perfectionist feel overwhelmed by high performance standards and introverts feel inhibited to speak in a foreign language.

To read more, here is the link to the original article:

“Working at the Wonder: Collaborative Writing as Method of Inquiry” by Ken Gale and Jonathan Wyatt


This article offers a discussion concerning the future of collaborative writing as a method of inquiry. Taking the form of a dialogic exchange, we take up Isabelle Stengers’ notion of “wonder” as a creative and political lens through which to consider the disruptive, radical, and productive methodological capacity that collaborative writing as a research method potentially offers. Working particularly with Deleuze and Guattari, we argue that language in collaborative writing practices is deeply entangled with complex materialist practice, and through engagements with these “matterings” we make sense of collaborative writing as immanent event. We discuss—and experience—the challenges that collaborative writing has for research and this article pushes at established categories, works against the fixities of conventional theory construction, contests the humanist and phenomenological proclivities that arguably limit the process and effectiveness of collaborative writing as method of inquiry, and wonders at the immensities that are possible.

Original article: Qualitative Inquiry, 2016, pp. 1-10. Link

“Relevance theory and language change” by Billy Clark


This paper considers how ideas developed within relevance theory can be applied in accounting for language change. It briefly surveys previous relevance-theoretic work on language change and suggests that studies of procedural meaning, lexical pragmatics and metarepresentation can each play an important role in accounting for semantic change. It identifies a number of areas for further research which could help to develop understanding of both relevance theory and language change and suggests that one important line of further research would be to explore connections between work in relevance theory and approaches which adopt terms and ideas from the theory without adopting the relevance-theoretic framework overall.

Billy Clark (2016). Relevance theory and language change. Lingua, 175-176, pp. 139-153. Link

Dr Billy Clark

Dr Billy Clark

Affiliation: Middlesex University

I am a linguist with research and teaching interests covering a wide range of topics in linguistics and linguistic theory, with a particular focus on various aspects of meaning (semantics and pragmatics). This has included work on lexical and syntactic meaning, semantic change, phatic communication, prosodic meaning, multimodality and stylistics.

Recent publications include a book, Relevance Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and a collection edited with Siobhan Chapman, Pragmatic Literary Stylistics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

I have also worked with a number of groups interested in connections between work at school and at university. I am a member of the UK Linguistics Olympiad committee and, with Marcello Giovanelli and Andrea Macrae, I coordinate the Integrating English project (

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