A discourse pragmatic study to demystify empathic and empowering communicative processes in person-centred therapeutic interactions

Dawe, Jennifer (2022) A discourse pragmatic study to demystify empathic and empowering communicative processes in person-centred therapeutic interactions. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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A central tenet of person-centred therapy is that empathy and empowerment must be communicated in therapist-client interactions. Furthermore, empathy and empowerment are considered as related therapeutic processes. However, current theory about empathic and empowering communication lacks empirical evidence regarding how person-centred therapist-client dyads make these processes happen in practice. This thesis describes a linguistic study which adds knowledge about how empathic and empowering communications happen, and how they are related, in person-centred therapeutic interactions. A hybrid methodological framework comprising discourse analysis, conversation analysis and pragmatics approaches has been developed to address the complex and multifaceted nature of empathy and empowerment in person-centred therapeutic communications. Findings produced from the application of this framework are that empathy and empowerment are communicated in interactions by single, or combined, uses of reformulations, metaphors, personal pronouns, questions, and hedging. The overarching findings are suggestive that clients should be considered in agentic terms because they also actively contribute to the success of their therapy. Empathy and empowerment should also be understood, and researched, as being co-constructed processes. Further, views of power in person-centred therapeutic theory, especially how it relates to client empowerment, must regard its complexity and fluidity. The application of linguistic features for empathy and empowerment may also comprise a subtle strategy for therapists to address sensitive client issues and broach matters of blame and responsibility whilst simultaneously retaining the essential nondirective nature of person-centred therapeutic practice. Research suggestions include to expand the framework to incorporate alternate methodological approaches for analysing empathy and empowerment in related studies. Practice suggestions include that the findings be used to demystify empathic and empowering processes during person-centred therapeutic training. The findings may also be applied in support contexts which utilise person-centred therapeutic notions of empathy and empowerment, particularly when support is offered in textformat.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2023 11:06
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2023 11:06
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92256


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