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Conditionals in therapy and counseling sessions: therapists' and clients' uses of what-if constructions
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies. Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6800-9050
2019 (English)In: Journal of Pragmatics, ISSN 0378-2166, E-ISSN 1879-1387, Vol. 140, p. 112-126Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on transcribed spoken data, this study explores therapists’ and clients’ uses of what-if constructions in therapy and counseling sessions. It seeks to establish how these constructions are used, whether there are usage differences between these two groups of speakers, and, if so, how such differences can be explained. The study concludes that both therapists and clients use what if, but they do so to satisfy different communicative needs. Clients primarily use what if to convey worry and doubt (What if don’t like it there?), whereas therapists use what if to summarize and reconstrue their clients' worries and to present alternative perspectives and entertain potential consequences (What if you gave up your guilt?). Both groups of speakers use what if to prompt (re)enactment of scenarios, often in connection with metarepresented speech and thought (I was like, “What if he is here?”). The study offers linguistic support for clinical observations concerning the prevalence of what-if reasoning in anxiety disorders, and additionally illustrates how therapists use language to trigger reality-distancing in their clients. Through a systematic application of Chilton’s Deictic Space Theory, the study demonstrates the utility of a cognitive linguistic approach to the consideration of interactive spoken data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 140, p. 112-126
Keywords [en]
conditional constructions, what if, therapy, contrastive construal, Deictic Space Theory
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-153775DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2018.12.003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-153775DiVA, id: diva2:1267517
Available from: 2018-12-03 Created: 2018-12-03 Last updated: 2019-01-28Bibliographically approved

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Hartman, Jenny

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf