Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Chapter by Muntigl et al on Empathic Practices in Person-Centred Therapy

I've now read the parts of a book chapter by Muntigl and colleagues (available on Google Books, see link at bottom of this entry). This is a very interesting conversation analysis study based on videos from the person-centred arm of Greenberg et al.'s York Depression studies comparing person-centred to EFT.  There is some really nice stuff here, i.e., "troubles telling" as "empathic opportunity", and five kinds of empathic response favoured by person-centred therapists: naming another's feelings, gist formulations, upshot formulations, and co-completing another's utterances, and nonverbal following responses.  Some of these are newly described.  They also describe the precision with which nonverbal following responses are offered in response to indicators of the client's affectual stance.  I particularly liked their discussion of the delicate epistemic stance of person-centred therapists. 

I realise that few person-centred therapists are into conversation analysis, but I think that this sort of analysis really captures to how good person-centred therapy and counselling actualy works.  I would like all my students on our Person-Centred Postgrad Diploma Counselling at Strathclyde to know this stuff, and I wish I could develop some sort of research input for the course on this.  It's also very relevant to EFT practice, which is based on person-centred empathic work as its baseline. 

As a side-note, one of our MSc students, Catherine Cowie, recently completed her dissertation on the same topic, so it will be useful for us to compare her results to those of Muntigl et al.  In the meantime, I'll just give the reference here and add my endorsement to this line of research: 

Muntigl, P., Knight, N. & Watkins A. (2014). Empathic practices in client-centred psychotherapies: Displaying understanding and affiliation with clients.  In E-M. Graf, M. Sator & T Spranz-Fogasy (eds.), Discourses of Helping Professions (pp. 33–57). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Author summary: DOI: 10.1075/pbns.252.03mun
Google Books extracts:

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