Interactional positions and the production of identities: Negotiating fatherhood in family therapy talk

Authors

  • Eero Suoninen University of Tampere
  • Jarl Wahlström University of Jyväskylä

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v6i2.199

Keywords:

Institutional interaction, positions, family therapy, identity, fatherhood, discourse analysis

Abstract

Participants in a conversation may, even within the same basic role staging, create different cooperation settings. To describe these cooperative settings, we employ the concept of interactional position as a basic analytical tool. From our understanding of identity as a conversational achievement, we demonstrate how evolving interactional positions frame the construction of client identities in family therapy meetings. We focus particularly on how constructions of fatherhood identity are negotiated in the meetings. The methodological perspective of our study draws on social psychological discourse analysis, conversation analysis and social constructionism, and the data consists of video recordings of six family therapy meetings dealing with a single case. The analysis demonstrates the large variety of combinations of interactional positions that are possible in family therapy conversation and explicates how strongly the construction of the client’s identity depends on the position combinations allowed in a therapy session.

Author Biographies

Eero Suoninen, University of Tampere

Eero Suoninen, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Social Psychology and Docent in Social Psychology. His main research interests are discourse analysis, a topic on which he is a co-author of two textbooks, and face-to-face interaction in social work and therapy, on which he has published in several international journals and books. He is a member of the DANASWAC (Discourse and Narrative Approaches to Social Work and Counselling) group.

Jarl Wahlström, University of Jyväskylä

Jarl Wahlström, PhD, is Professor in Clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He graduated as a psychologist from the University of Helsinki, and received his doctorate at Jyväskylä. He has an advanced training in family and systems therapy, and, in addition to being a university teacher, has extensive experience as a clinical psychologist, family therapist, trainer and consultant. His main research interest is in psychotherapy discourse, a topic on which he has published in several international journals and books.

Published

2010-01-20

How to Cite

Suoninen, E., & Wahlström, J. (2010). Interactional positions and the production of identities: Negotiating fatherhood in family therapy talk. Communication and Medicine, 6(2), 199–209. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v6i2.199

Issue

Section

Articles