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Researcher and Therapist: The Conversations of the Qualitative Interview
Unformatted Document Text:  4 Conversation On the other hand, Seidman (1991) cautioned interviewers against assuming a therapeutic stance in the qualitative interview. Although he recognized the parallel structures within the two processes, Seidman warned interviewers “not to confuse themselves with therapists” (p. 81). He suggested that interviewers should learn from the process of research and that the limited relationship established within the context of the interview does not allow the interviewer to assume any measure of ongoing responsibility for the participant. Seidman offered these cautions with the assumption that “most researchers are unlikely to be trained therapists” (p. 82). The Therapeutic Encounter Kottler (1991) conceptualized the art of therapy as “an educational process that facilitates learning about self and others” (p. 61). According to Kottler, learning occurs as a result of therapeutic rituals that are enacted by the therapist and client over a period of time. Therapist rituals include, but are not limited to, relationship building that inspires clients’ trust and confidence, interviewing that draws upon a conversational style of inquiry, linguistic coaching that attends to how clients communicate, interpretations that are presented as hypotheses rather than as truths, and questioning that creates a framework of sharing and exploration. According to Kottler, “these rituals are implemented in a context that encourages a mutual exchange of ideas, values, and influence” (p. 182). Egan (1994) identified the enablers of this encouragement as empathic communication, reflective listening, and selective probing that allows clients to explore issues more fully and concretely. The client’s role in these rituals compliments the broader goals of therapeutic encounters. As participants in the therapy process, clients are encouraged to discuss significant material about themselves, share personal and meaningful feelings, explore issues that may have previously been avoided, create a sense of meaning-making, and participate in expressive and vibrant

Authors: Kelly, Nancy.
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4
Conversation
On the other hand, Seidman (1991) cautioned interviewers against assuming a therapeutic
stance in the qualitative interview. Although he recognized the parallel structures within the two
processes, Seidman warned interviewers “not to confuse themselves with therapists” (p. 81). He
suggested that interviewers should learn from the process of research and that the limited
relationship established within the context of the interview does not allow the interviewer to
assume any measure of ongoing responsibility for the participant. Seidman offered these cautions
with the assumption that “most researchers are unlikely to be trained therapists” (p. 82).
The Therapeutic Encounter
Kottler (1991) conceptualized the art of therapy as “an educational process that facilitates
learning about self and others” (p. 61). According to Kottler, learning occurs as a result of
therapeutic rituals that are enacted by the therapist and client over a period of time. Therapist
rituals include, but are not limited to, relationship building that inspires clients’ trust and
confidence, interviewing that draws upon a conversational style of inquiry, linguistic coaching
that attends to how clients communicate, interpretations that are presented as hypotheses rather
than as truths, and questioning that creates a framework of sharing and exploration. According to
Kottler, “these rituals are implemented in a context that encourages a mutual exchange of ideas,
values, and influence” (p. 182). Egan (1994) identified the enablers of this encouragement as
empathic communication, reflective listening, and selective probing that allows clients to explore
issues more fully and concretely.
The client’s role in these rituals compliments the broader goals of therapeutic encounters.
As participants in the therapy process, clients are encouraged to discuss significant material about
themselves, share personal and meaningful feelings, explore issues that may have previously
been avoided, create a sense of meaning-making, and participate in expressive and vibrant


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