Focusing on Empathic Practices in Psychotherapy: An Interactional Perspective Using Conversation Analysis
Thursday, October 13, 2022
10.00 am – 12.00 pm
University of Klagenfurt, lecture hall 6 (HS6)
In this talk, Peter Muntigl first gives an overview of the relationship between psychotherapy and Conversation Analysis. He then explores how client-centred empathy is practiced within a specific interaction type: troubles telling sequences. Building on the work of Carl Rogers, who viewed empathy as a form of understanding that privileges the client’s point of view, empathy is examined as an interactional achievement in which clients create empathic opportunities by displaying their affective stance, followed by therapists taking up these opportunities through affiliative displays. He shows how empathic practices are realized through a variety of verbal (e.g., naming other’s feelings, formulations, co-completions) and non-verbal resources (nodding, smiling). Further, Muntigl argues that empathic responses are a specific type of emotional support display that can be differentiated from other forms of emotional support such as sympathy and comforting.