This thesis is an investigation of talk in a therapeutic setting. It takes discursive
psychology as the main influence theoretically, and also draws on the rigorous
analytical techniques of conversation analysis (CA). The data was collected in
various family therapy settings in the U.K., both residential and non-residential videotapes made during those sessions These recordings were made by therapists
for their own use initially, and were not produced especially for this project.
Videotapes were transcribed according to standard CA conventions, and
subsequently analysed. One of the primary research questions has been to examine
empirically mental state language as used in the therapeutic setting. Secondly, it has
been to examine accounting practices and the production of versions of events as
'fact'. Thirdly, the aim has been to consider the practical implications of asymmetry
as a participants' concern. As a unifying and over-arching analytic interest the use
of reported speech in each of these other aspects has been investigated to assess its
role in their production. The conclusions of the thesis demonstrate that participants
themselves orient to one another's minds as accessible and reportable entities, and
that speech is treated as reflective of inner thought. Furthermore, where speech is
reported in the therapeutic setting, it is frequently used to validate and to evidence
claims about other people's 'psyche'.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.