|Author(s)||Xue-li Yao, Wen Ma|
|Title||Question resistance and its management in Chinese psychotherapy|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Medical, Psychotherapy, Chinese, Resistance, Questions, Medical EMCA|
From the tape-recording of naturally occurring Chinese psychotherapy sessions, this article explores how repeated occurrences of resistance are managed in the course of interactional sequences and the participants’ actions within these sequences. By employing the methods of conversation analysis, we discuss the main discursive strategies employed by the clients to express their resistance and investigate how the therapist manages this. We find that clients show their resistance to the therapist’s questions in four ways: keeping silence, providing minimal response, making non-answer responses, and being over-talkative. Persistent asking is the main technique we identify in the data for the therapist to manage the resistance; in the meantime, asking questions in a stepwise way, making requests after facing resistance to questions, active retreating and reformulating of the client’s words are employed as subsidiary techniques. The successful management of resistance leads to a smooth sequential development of the psychotherapy, while inappropriate strategies might result in a halt or even breakdown of the therapeutic work. In psychotherapy, resistance is a result of the shared interaction between client and therapist. It is such a complex issue that, in order to understand and manage it, we also take into consideration the broader social and cultural context in which it occurs.