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Blanchet, A., Batt, M., Trognon, A., Masse, L. (2005). Language and Behaviour. Patterns in a Therapeutic Interaction Sequence. In L. Anolli, S. Duncan Jr., M.S. Magnusson, G. Riva (Eds.) The Hidden Structure of Interaction. From Neurons to Culture Patterns. (pp. 123-139). Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford, Tokyo, Washington, Washington DC: IOS Press.


The goal of this study is to describe an interaction sequence between a therapist and a patient. This sequence is extracted from a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapeutic session that was filmed and transcribed. The selected sequence meets a specifici criterion: to observe and analyze verbal and non-verbla dialogue in a seriees of patient-therapist exchanges that encourage the patient to change his thinking about the cause of his symptoms. We seek to specify the interactive conditions under which a form is insight is produced that we consider the key and driving factor in all psychotherapy. Two types of analysis were conducted: a hiearchical semantic analysis and an analysis of temporal behavirour patterns using the THEME program. The results show that therapeuctic interventions first result in a deconstruction of the patient's initial point of view, followed by reinforcement of the patient's new point of view by means of confirmation. In this phase of recontruction, the patient is led to reinterpret his symptoms along the lines encouraged but the therapist. The analysis of temporal patterns shows that (a) the deconstruction phrse involves many non-verbal signs associatded with challenges to the patient's statements, and (b) that certain themes in the patient discourse are regularly associated, throughout the sequence, with gestures and hand movements that might constitute these themes' gestural signature. Therapeutc influence, far from being ineffable and based on therapist' impenetrable charisma, derives from concrete action and an interaction approach that can be described and used in the psychotherapeutic training of university students.


psychotherapy, language, behaviour pattern, THEME

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