A recurrent theme that is addressed in psychotherapies is the client’s conflicting emotions. This article discusses discursive practices of working on conflicting emotions during psychodynamic psychotherapy. We focus on a phenomenon that we refer to as a ‘delayed response’ and analyze the client’s uses of interactional means, such as a display of negative experience, to invite affiliation or empathy from the therapist. The therapist, however, does not take a turn in the first possible place after the client’s turn. Recurrently, the therapist’s silence is followed by the client’s new turn that backs down from the emotional experience under discussion. After these retractions, the therapists respond with a turn that is responsive both to the retraction and to the initial display of negative experience that occurred prior to it. We argue that the timing of the therapist’s response in these sequences is in the service of psychotherapeutic work on conflicting emotions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • 515 Psychology
  • Conversation analysis
  • empathy
  • psychotherapy
  • turn-taking

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