Location: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Location: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Affiliation: Loughborough University
Laura Thompson is a Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Social Psychology at Loughborough University. 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.
Affiliation: Rutgers – State University of New Jersey
I use mixed methods to investigate the communication and social practices used to negotiate interactions in a variety of health and mental health contexts. My scholarship consists of three intertwining threads guided by my interest in patient engagement in real world contexts. The first thread is situated in the community and reconceptualizes the notion of communicative competence by centering on what patients do in their everyday lives. Much of this work examines the situated communication practices of individuals diagnosed with neurological and psychiatric disorders to provide a grounded perspective on everyday functioning and community participation.
The second thread is situated in the clinic and is informed by my work in the community reconceptualizing competence. I also examine clinical work practices and clinical reasoning to consider applications of patient-centered constructs such as shared decision making. These first two threads weave together a situated understanding of the “everyday-ness” of an individual’s functioning – which is often neglected or misunderstood – with an understanding of what happens in the clinic.
The final thread considers the societal need for patient participation in the collective sense, namely how to reach and work with patient communities to pose more relevant research questions and develop more sensitive research strategies to better serve patient populations and better assist caregivers and clinicians. My work informs our understanding of best practices, intervention development and implementation and therefore contains a strong applied component, particularly to inquiry in health services.