Moving beyond words: therapeutic discourse and ethical problematization

Hodges, I. 2002. Moving beyond words: therapeutic discourse and ethical problematization. Discourse Studies. 4 (4), pp. 455-479.

TitleMoving beyond words: therapeutic discourse and ethical problematization
AuthorsHodges, I.
Abstract

The operation of power within psychotherapeutic practice is explored in this article through an analysis of radio therapeutic discourse. A Foucauldian methodological approach is adopted where the operation of power is conceptualized in terms of practices concerning the constitution and regulation of the self and which employs the analytics of problematization and ethical self-formation. Ten complete calls were examined for the effect of therapeutic intervention on callers' accounts of their problems; two calls are reported in detail. It was found that through therapeutic problematization callers' worries were restructured so that the locus of concern was shifted towards the caller's relationship with themselves (that is towards an ethics orientation), in particular providing the means through which callers might regulate their own behaviour and normalize their future possible conduct. In this way callers were invited to account for themselves as both the target of and the responsible agent in their own cure. Thus power is linked with psychotherapeutic practice - in this setting - through the production of certain kinds of person with certain kinds of responsibilities. Finally, it is argued that here the psychotherapeutic process is more moral than 'psychological' and that the ethical operation of therapeutic discourse is linked to our contemporary 'therapeutic' moral order.

(Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Ltd from Hodges, Ian, Moving beyond words: therapeutic discourse and ethical problematization. © 2002 SAGE Publications)

KeywordsAudience participation, discourse analysis, Foucault, moral order, power, radio phone-in, talk-back radio, therapeutic discourse
JournalDiscourse Studies
Journal citation4 (4), pp. 455-479
ISSN1461-4456
YearNov 2002
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1461445602004004025
Web address (URL)http://dis.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/4/4/455
Publication dates
PublishedNov 2002

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