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Researcher and Therapist: The Conversations of the Qualitative Interview
Unformatted Document Text:  10 Conversation words of the interviewer (who is also a therapist) as he participated in the co-construction of the utterances of identity offered within the research event. I will focus on several techniques often utilized by therapists in their work with clients. While these strategies do not reflect the totality of repertoires available to therapists, they represent some familiar skills that are representative of the therapeutic tools of engagement (Egan, 1994; Ferrara, 1994; Kottler, 1991). The analysis will offer examples of empathy, reflective listening, and self-disclosure as they are found in the dialog of the interviews, and identify how these strategies position the interviewer and participant to take up various roles or to adopt particular understandings of truth. The examples provided will present both successful (i.e., enhances flow and depth of dialog) and unsuccessful (i.e., diminishes flow and depth of dialog) implementations of these strategies as related to the process of the interview, and the examples identify how each event enables or restricts the process of co-creation. Empathy. The art of empathetic listening is a critical skill of therapeutic discourse. It involves entering another’s reality and cultivating a moment-by-moment understanding of the way in which that person experiences the world (Egan, 1994). A therapist’s communication of empathy within the therapeutic environment encourages a client’s exploration of individualized feelings and beliefs. It validates a client’s particular way of being in the world and demonstrates understanding that captures a client’s intended message. Therapeutic empathy is an action- oriented strategy, encouraging clarification of a client’s story and offering encouragement for expanded dialog (Kottler, 1991). Expressions of empathy within the qualitative interview also reflect the interviewer’s understanding of the participant’s experience and establish a platform of encouragement for additional depth and detail in responses (Ferrara, 1994). When viewed as a discursive strategy within the text of the interview, empathetic reflections may be recognized as a

Authors: Kelly, Nancy.
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background image
10
Conversation
words of the interviewer (who is also a therapist) as he participated in the co-construction of the
utterances of identity offered within the research event.
I will focus on several techniques often utilized by therapists in their work with clients.
While these strategies do not reflect the totality of repertoires available to therapists, they
represent some familiar skills that are representative of the therapeutic tools of engagement
(Egan, 1994; Ferrara, 1994; Kottler, 1991). The analysis will offer examples of empathy,
reflective listening, and self-disclosure as they are found in the dialog of the interviews, and
identify how these strategies position the interviewer and participant to take up various roles or to
adopt particular understandings of truth. The examples provided will present both successful
(i.e., enhances flow and depth of dialog) and unsuccessful (i.e., diminishes flow and depth of
dialog) implementations of these strategies as related to the process of the interview, and the
examples identify how each event enables or restricts the process of co-creation.
Empathy. The art of empathetic listening is a critical skill of therapeutic discourse. It
involves entering another’s reality and cultivating a moment-by-moment understanding of the
way in which that person experiences the world (Egan, 1994). A therapist’s communication of
empathy within the therapeutic environment encourages a client’s exploration of individualized
feelings and beliefs. It validates a client’s particular way of being in the world and demonstrates
understanding that captures a client’s intended message. Therapeutic empathy is an action-
oriented strategy, encouraging clarification of a client’s story and offering encouragement for
expanded dialog (Kottler, 1991). Expressions of empathy within the qualitative interview also
reflect the interviewer’s understanding of the participant’s experience and establish a platform of
encouragement for additional depth and detail in responses (Ferrara, 1994). When viewed as a
discursive strategy within the text of the interview, empathetic reflections may be recognized as a


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