Volume 6   Number 1     Spring 2012

The Essential Elements of Dialogically-Based Research of Psychotherapy:
     A Proposal (Commentary)

Eugenie Georgaca
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
pp. 161-171

ABSTRACT. This paper outlines a proposal regarding the essential elements that I believe should be included in a dialogically based research approach to psychotherapy and discusses the extent to which the four analytical approaches presented in the papers of this section take them into account. I contend that, firstly, any dialogically based research on psychotherapy should be grounded on a view of psychotherapy as a semiotic process and therefore analyse the meanings that are produced and negotiated in actual psychotherapy sessions. Secondly, the dialogical character of the self should be explored through employing a performative micro-analysis of psychotherapy sessions, which highlights the articulation of the positions that make up and enact the client’s self. Thirdly, the analysis should focus on the interaction between client and therapist, and should specifically explore the therapist as an interactional other, as a counter-position to the client’s position, as an institutional position and as a contributor to the interaction. Finally, the role of sociocultural processes in the contribution of the self and the psychotherapeutic interaction should be actively examined as well as the role of psychotherapy as an institution. It seems that, while all four research approaches accept these points as theoretical premises, not all fully take them into account in the analysis of psychotherapy extracts.