Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Talk as Action in Couple and Family Therapy

  • David ParéEmail author
  • Tess Rhodes
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_827


Contemporary strands of couple and family therapy associated with social constructionism have introduced a range of novel perspectives into the field; this entry focuses on their unique view of the role of language and its implications for practice. The shift in how therapeutic conversation is understood is particularly reflected in narrative therapy (White 2007; White and Epston 1990) and collaborative-dialogic therapy (Anderson 1997), which each focus in their own ways on the constructive potential of talk. Put simply, these approaches emphasize what happens within talk as critical to therapeutic outcomes, rather than treating language as a tool used by therapists to deliver particular interventions. Talk itself is regarded as the intervention. The result is a view of language, right down to the minutiae of word selection, as critical because words are seen not merely as inert labels for things but as actions themselves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Margarita Tarragona
    • 1
  1. 1.PositivaMente & Grupo Campos ElíseosMexico CityMexico