ERIC Number: ED186952
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
A Rhetorical Approach to the Study of Psychotherapeutic Discourse.
Glaser, Susan R.
The study described in this paper illustrates how key features of rhetorical analysis can be operationalized to apply to the study of therapeutic transactions. After a discussion of psychotherapy as an influence process, the paper describes the methodology used in an analysis of tape-recorded discourse between three therapist/client dyads in an attempt to discover whether rhetorical activity transcends particular approaches to therapy. It discusses the rhetorical operations applied to the discourse and presents findings with respect to four rhetorical devices previously shown to discriminate between successful and unsuccessful therapeutic transactions: ethos appeals (in which therapists attempt to increase their perceived expertness, trustworthiness, and attractiveness), logical appeals, tension release mechanisms, and stylistic devices. For each rhetorical device, segments of therapeutic dialogue are presented and discussed to illustrate how the device functions as a rhetorical resource. The paper concludes by noting several values of the study, including its contribution to verification of the hypothesis that rhetorical criticism is useful in the study of therapeutic change; by pointing to needs for further research; and by outlining implications of the study for the training of therapists. (GT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (65th, San Antonio, TX, November 10-13, 1979).