|Author(s)||Peter Muntigl, Lynda Chubak, Lynne Angus|
|Title||Entering chair work in psychotherapy: An interactional structure for getting emotion-focused talk underway|
|Tag(s)||Chair work, Conversation Analysis, Deontics, Emotions, Emotion-focused therapy, Epistemics, Participation framework, EMCA|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
This paper examines the interactional accomplishment of chair work, which is one type of therapeutic intervention for exploring client emotions in Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). During this intervention, therapists guide clients to speak with either a conflicted aspect of self (two-chair work) or with a non-present significant other to address unresolved feelings or ‘unfinished business’ (empty-chair work). Using the methods of conversation analysis, we examine ten video-taped EFT sessions that incorporate chair work. It was found that chair work entry is regularly accomplished through four distinct interlocking interactional phases: 1) Formulating the client's trouble; 2) Recruiting participation in chair work; 3) Readjusting the participation frame; 4) Making contact. We will show how each phase orients to specific interactional concerns that often pertain to managing epistemic and/or deontic authority and also to accommodating the participants into entering a new participation frame. Although gaining client confirmation and compliance was at times promptly achieved within these phases, clients also regularly delayed their affiliative uptake of the therapist's prior action. We will show, in these cases, how therapists perform additional interactional work to get chair work entry back on track.