Discourse in Psychotherapy: Using Words to Create Therapeutic Practice

  • Jarl WahlströmEmail author
Part of the The Language of Mental Health book series (TLMH)


Applying a discursive perspective, the first sessions of nine individual psychotherapies were analyzed. Six topical themes and three different forms of discourse were found. The colloquial discourse, consisting of mundane words and expressions, was the one used most by the interlocutors. The medical discourse, the use of professional terminologies from psychiatry and clinical psychology, was the one used the least and only when dealing with the presenting problem. The therapeutic discourse was used mostly by therapists. It introduced expressions by which the clients’ mind and issues related to the therapy as a treatment could be discussed. The clients and therapists used talk that served the founding of a personal relationship between them and establishing a shared observational and reflective stance towards the client’s problematic experience.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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