Item Details

On the use of formulations in person-centred, solution-focused short-term psychotherapy

Issue: Vol 9 No. 1 (2012)

Journal: Communication & Medicine

Subject Areas: Healthcare Communication Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/cam.v9i1.13


According to Carl Rogers, therapy must be nondirective
in order to be effective. This means that the therapist needs to be trained to work within the clients’ frame of reference and do so in their practice. Conversation analytic research, however, suggests that therapists who claim to practise non-directive, non-authoritarian therapy nevertheless exercise subtle means of influencing their clients (e.g. through active listening, see Fitzgerald and Leudar 2010). The questions are: what in practice counts as being non-directive and how (relatively) nondirective psychotherapy is accomplished in practice. The present paper focuses on formulations which are one of the therapist’s most useful tools and we demonstrate how these are used to guide clients to think along lines conducive to change.

Author: Pamela Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Ivan Leudar

View Original Web Page

References :

Antaki, C. (2008) Formulations in psychotherapy. In A. Peräkylä, C. Antaki, S. Vehviläinen and I. Leudar (eds) Conversation Analysis of Psychotherapy, 26–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Antaki, C., Barnes, R., and Leudar, I. (2005) Diagnostic formulations in psychotherapy. Discourse Studies 7 (6): 627–647.
Atkinson, J. and Heritage, J. (eds) (1984) Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Buttny, R. (1996) Clients’ and therapists’ joint construction of the clients’ problems. Research on Language and Social Interaction 29 (2): 125–153.
Davis, K. (1986) The process of problem re(formulation) in psychotherapy. Sociology ofHealth and Illness 8: 44–74.
Drew, P. (2003) Comparative analysis of talk-in-interaction in different institutionalsettings: A sketch. In P. J. Glenn, C. D. LeBaron and J. Mandelbaum (eds) Studies inLanguage and Social Interaction: In Honor of Robert Hopper, 75–119. Mahwah, NJ:Erlbaum.
Fitzgerald, P. and Leudar, I. (2010) On listening in person-centred, solution-focused psychotherapy. Journal of Pragmatics 42: 3188–3198.
Freire, E. S. (2007) Empathy. In M. Cooper, M. O’Hara, P. F. Schmid and G. Watt (eds) The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling, 194–206. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Greenberg, L. and Elliott, R. (1997) Varieties of emotional expression. In A. Bohart and L. Greenberg (eds) Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Theory Research and Practice, 75–99. Washington DC: APA Press.
Hak, T. and de Boer, F. (1996) Formulations in first encounters. Journal of Pragmatics 25: 83–99.
Heritage, J. and Watson, D. R. (1979) Formulations as conversational objects. In G. Psathas (ed.) Everyday Language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, 123–162. New York: Irvington.
Heritage, J. and Watson, D. R. (1980) Aspects of the properties of formulations in natural conversations: Some instances analysed. Semiotica 30 (3/4): 245–262.
Hutchby, I. (2005) Active listening: Formulations and the elicitation of feelings-talk in child counselling. Research on Language and Social Interaction 38 (3): 303–329.
Leudar, I., Antaki, C. and Barnes, R. (2006) When psychotherapists disclose personal information about themselves to clients. Communication and Medicine 3 (1): 27–41.
Leudar, I., Sharrock, W., Truckle, S., Colombino, T., Hayes, J. and Booth, K. (2008) Conversation of emotions: On transforming play into psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In A. Peräkylä, C. Antaki, S Vehviläinen and I. Leudar (eds) Conversation Analysis of Psychotherapy, 152–172. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Madill, A., Widdicombe, S. and Barkham, M. (2001) The potential of Conversation Analysis for psychotherapy research. The Counselling Psychologist (29): 413–34.
Muntigl, P. and Zabala, L. H. (2008) Expandable responses: How clients get prompted to say more during psychotherapy. Research on Language & Social Interaction 41(2): 187–226.
Peräkylä, A. and Vehviläinen, S. (2003) Conversation Analysis and the professionalstocks of interactional knowledge. Discourse &Society 14 (6): 727–50.
Peräkylä, A. (2004) Making links in psychoanalytic interpretations: A conversation analytic view. Psychotherapy Research 14 (3): 289–307.
Peräkylä, A., Antaki, C., Vehviläinen, S. and Leudar, I. (2008) Analysing psychotherapy in practice. In A. Peräkylä, C. Antaki, S. Vehviläinen and I. Leudar (eds) Conversation Analysis of Psychotherapy, 5–25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pomerantz, A. (1984a) Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In J. M. Atkinson and J. Heritage (eds) Structures of Social Action. Studies in conversational analysis, 57–101.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rogers, C. R. (1980) A Way of Being. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Rogers, C. R. (1995) On Becoming a Person. A Therapist’s view of Psychotherapy. London: Constable.
Sacks, H. (1992) Lectures on Conversation, Vol. 1 and 11. Blackwell: Oxford and Cambridge.
Schlegoff, E. A. (1963) Toward a reading of Psychiatric Theory. Berkeley Journal of Sociology8: 61–91.
Schlegoff, E. A. (1972) Notes on a conversational practice: Formulating place. In D.N. Sudnow (ed.) Studies in Social Interaction, 75-119. New York: Free Press.
Schlegoff, E. A. (1991) Reflections on talk and social structure. In D. Boden and D. Zimmerman (eds) Talk and Social Structure, 44–70. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Sharry. J., Madden. B and Darmody, M. (2001) Becoming a Solution Detective. A Strengths Based Guide to Brief Therapy. London: BT Press.
Vehviläinen, S. (2003a) Preparing and delivering interpretations in psychoanalytic interaction. Text 23: 573–606.
Witty, M. C. (2007) Client-centered therapy. In N. Kazantzis, L. L’Abate and F. Gerard (eds) Handbook of Homework Assignments in Psychotherapy. Research, Practice and Prevention,65–83. New York: Springer.