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Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Empathy in psychotherapy: Using conversation analysis to explore the therapists’ empathic interaction with clients

Yijin Wu

Abstract


Conversation analysis of 274 ‘the therapist’s empathic response to the client’s problematic experiences’ sequences identified ten different interactional practices that therapists used to display relevant understanding of clients’ problematic experiences. This article focuses mainly on the specific interactional practices that are employed by therapists to show their empathy to clients. In addition to examining interactional practices therapists use to express empathy, this study also provides a detailed account of how these practices are organised in psychotherapeutic interactions. By offering a detailed turn-by-turn analysis of these interactional practices, it suggests that these interactional practices are sequentially organised and interactionally achieved.



AJOL African Journals Online