Edited by Claudio Scarvaglieri, Eva-Maria Graf and Thomas Spranz-Fogasy
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 331] 2022
► pp. 265–286
How are you getting on with these?
Fostering clients’ involvement in the therapeutic alliance in email counseling
This contribution explores how a counselor uses requests to encourage clients to actively participate in email counseling. Applying positioning theory and relational work from interpersonal pragmatics, I answer the following research questions: How does the counselor use requests to position clients as active participants? How do affordances of the medium influence the counselor’s efforts in such requests? I analyze five naturally occurring email counseling exchanges through content and discourse analysis, adding insight from a practitioner interview. The examined requests aim to improve joint understanding, foster reflection, elicit solutions, and elicit feedback on coping techniques. Results show that the counselor uses intricate relational work that constructs clients as active participants. The counselor employs medium affordances such as asynchronicity or emoticons.
- 2.Theoretical background and literature review
- 2.1Interpersonal pragmatics
- 2.2(Online) counseling
- 2.3Interpersonal speech activities: From questions to requests
- 3.Data and methodology
- 4.1Improving joint understanding
- 4.2Fostering reflection
- 4.3Eliciting solutions
- 4.4Eliciting feedback on applications
- 5.Conclusion and outlook