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‘Othering' and ‘selving' in therapeutic dialogue

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In this article we consider therapeutic conversations about suffering and sexual identity through an ethical and practical lens we refer to as ‘othering' and ‘selving'. The ethical lens is shaped by recent developments in discursive theory and approaches to therapy. Our practical lens draws from research by discourse analysts showing how conversational practices feature in consequential ways in delicate discussions such as those about suffering and sexual identity. After helping readers understand these lenses we then use them in examining actual discussions about identity and suffering. We conclude with some general ideas and reflective questions for therapists wishing to extend these kinds of sensitivities and conversational practices in their work with clients.
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Keywords: Social constructionism; counselling; discourse; identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Calgary

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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