Article Version of Record

The ‘blame game’: Discourse analysis of family members’ and therapist negotiation of problem definition in systemic family therapy

Author(s) / Creator(s)

Patrika, Pinelopi
Tseliou, Eleftheria

Abstract / Description

The present article aims at shedding light to the complex ways in which blame and responsibility are negotiated, when family members and the therapist engage in problem definition talk in systemic family therapy. The article draws from a qualitative research study which was designed to explore problem talk in systemic family therapy by means of discourse analysis methodology. Nine videotaped initial systemic family therapy sessions in which four different therapists and six different families with a variety of reported difficulties were sampled. They were transcribed verbatim and subjected to micro-analysis by means of the Discursive Action Model. In the present article, we present the detailed analysis of one of the identified patterns of blame allocation, in which family members are shown to construct the identified patient’s deviation from normality as the cause of their difficulties while the therapist is shown to attempt to exonerate blame from the identified patient by means of positive connotation. We discuss the implications of our analysis for theory development and clinical practice in the field, in the context of a growing body of related research. We also hint to the potential of discourse analysis methodology for family therapy research.

Keyword(s)

accountability blame discourse analysis problem talk qualitative research responsibility Systemic Family Therapy

Persistent Identifier

Date of first publication

2016-03-23

Journal title

The European Journal of Counselling Psychology

Volume

4

Issue

1

Page numbers

101–122

Publisher

PsychOpen GOLD

Publication status

publishedVersion

Review status

peerReviewed

Is version of

Citation

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Patrika, Pinelopi
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Tseliou, Eleftheria
  • PsychArchives acquisition timestamp
    2018-11-29T07:49:02Z
  • Made available on
    2018-11-29T07:49:02Z
  • Date of first publication
    2016-03-23
  • Abstract / Description
    The present article aims at shedding light to the complex ways in which blame and responsibility are negotiated, when family members and the therapist engage in problem definition talk in systemic family therapy. The article draws from a qualitative research study which was designed to explore problem talk in systemic family therapy by means of discourse analysis methodology. Nine videotaped initial systemic family therapy sessions in which four different therapists and six different families with a variety of reported difficulties were sampled. They were transcribed verbatim and subjected to micro-analysis by means of the Discursive Action Model. In the present article, we present the detailed analysis of one of the identified patterns of blame allocation, in which family members are shown to construct the identified patient’s deviation from normality as the cause of their difficulties while the therapist is shown to attempt to exonerate blame from the identified patient by means of positive connotation. We discuss the implications of our analysis for theory development and clinical practice in the field, in the context of a growing body of related research. We also hint to the potential of discourse analysis methodology for family therapy research.
    en_US
  • Publication status
    publishedVersion
  • Review status
    peerReviewed
  • ISSN
    2195-7614
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12034/1657
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://doi.org/10.23668/psycharchives.2023
  • Language of content
    eng
  • Publisher
    PsychOpen GOLD
  • Is version of
    https://doi.org/10.5964/ejcop.v4i1.80
  • Keyword(s)
    accountability
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    blame
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    discourse analysis
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    problem talk
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    qualitative research
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    responsibility
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    Systemic Family Therapy
    en_US
  • Dewey Decimal Classification number(s)
    150
  • Title
    The ‘blame game’: Discourse analysis of family members’ and therapist negotiation of problem definition in systemic family therapy
    en_US
  • DRO type
    article
  • Issue
    1
  • Journal title
    The European Journal of Counselling Psychology
  • Page numbers
    101–122
  • Volume
    4
  • Visible tag(s)
    Version of Record