Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 70 Issue 2 (June 1997), Pages 113-207

Procedures as dialogical sequences: A revised version of the fundamental concept in cognitive analytic therapy (pages 193-207)

Problematic action patterns that patients are unable to abandon or modify are important treatment targets in cognitive analytic therapy. They are called procedural sequences in the conceptual model underlying the approach. Interpersonal events in the patients' lives, and in the consulting room as well, frequently display such patterns. They are called reciprocal role procedures. In the present paper the sequential description of problem procedures will be examined by using Bakhtin's dialogical understanding of mental phenomena. A restatement of the original concept will be presented with the aim of integrating the sequential and reciprocal aspects of problematic action patterns. The revised concept of dialogical sequences will be illustrated by a number of case vignettes. The analysis of dialogical sequences provides a clear conceptual basis for early description of problem procedures in therapy. It also provides an effective tool for a detailed supervision of therapy sessions. Finally, dialogical sequence analysis may be used as a psychotherapy process research method to examine the interpersonal patterns in patient narratives.

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