Positioning Shifts From Told Self to Performative Self in Psychotherapy

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State: Public
Version: Final published version
License: CC BY 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_8AA63C776FA3
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Positioning Shifts From Told Self to Performative Self in Psychotherapy
Journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Author(s)
Deppermann Arnulf, Scheidt Carl Eduard, Stukenbrock Anja
ISSN
1664-1078
Publication state
Published
Issued date
26/10/2020
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
11
Language
english
Abstract
According to Positioning Theory, participants in narrative interaction can position
themselves on a representational level concerning the autobiographical, told self, and
a performative level concerning the interactive and emotional self of the tellers. The
performative self is usually much harder to pin down, because it is a non-propositional,
enacted self. In contrast to everyday interaction, psychotherapists regularly topicalize
the performative self explicitly. In our paper, we study how therapists respond to clients’
narratives by interpretations of the client’s conduct, shifting from the autobiographical
identity of the told self, which is the focus of the client’s story, to the present performative
self of the client. Drawing on video recordings from three psychodynamic therapies
(tiefenpsychologisch fundierte Psychotherapie) with 25 sessions each, we will analyze
in detail five extracts of therapists’ shifts from the representational to the performative
self. We highlight four findings:
• Whereas, clients’ narratives often serve to support identity claims in terms of personal
psychological and moral characteristics, therapists rather tend to focus on clients’
feelings, motives, current behavior, and ways of interacting.
• In response to clients’ stories, therapists first show empathy and confirm clients’
accounts, before shifting to clients’ performative self.
• Therapists ground the shift to clients’ performative self by references to clients’
observable behavior.
• Therapists do not simply expect affiliation with their views on clients’ performative self.
Rather, they use such shifts to promote the clients’ self-exploration. Yet, if clients resist
to explore their selves in more detail, therapists more explicitly ascribe motives and
feelings that clients do not seem to be aware of. The shift in positioning levels thus
seems to have a preparatory function for engendering therapeutic insights.
Keywords
General Psychology
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
02/12/2020 20:24
Last modification date
03/12/2020 7:24
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