Engaging Reflection: A Training Exercise Using Conversation and Discourse Analysis

By Strong, Tom | Counselor Education and Supervision, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Engaging Reflection: A Training Exercise Using Conversation and Discourse Analysis


Strong, Tom, Counselor Education and Supervision


The author describes an exercise for counselor trainees that promotes counselor reflection on the counseling process. The exercise, which also supports a social constructionist view of counseling, was introduced before, or concurrent with, skill development and required students to combine conversation and discourse analysis of their interactions with "clients." Methods of analysis are presented, along with specific instructions for the exercise, trainees' comments, and the author's reflections regarding the exercise.

**********

We are seeking to complete and be completed ... not to understand and be understood cognitively, not to get it right.

--Fred Newman & Lois Holzman, 1997, p. 113

In the last few years, I have been drawn to the collaborative potentials of counseling from a social constructionist perspective, according to which individuals construct and retain their understanding of the many forms of conversation that exist. Without bogging readers down in the complexities of the considerable body of knowledge regarding the theory (see Berger & Luckmann, 1967; Gergen, 1999; Shotter, 1993; or, as applied to counseling, Anderson, 1997; McNamee & Gergen, 1993; Parker, 1999), I will discuss the value I believe the constructionist perspective has for training and supervising counselors. In particular, I will offer a new twist on a standard counselor training tool: the transcribed interview.

Performing Counseling Skills for Whom? Some Self-Reflections

Perhaps like some readers, my initial exposure to counseling skills training was frustrating. In attempting to respond to the role-played clients of my training days--using sentence stems from Carkhuff (1969), Egan (1998), or Rogers (1961)--I came to doubt my abilities to communicate in general. My efforts were bound up in attempts to attain a 4 on Carkhuffs empathy or genuineness scales; this effort made me focus more on obtaining that 4 and less on clients' responses to what I was saying. Like family therapist Bowen's (1978) concerns about triangulation, I had divided loyalties such that neither clients nor my focus on Carkhuffs scales received my full attention. However, as I came closer to obtaining 4-ish responses, clients were, in fact, responsive, although my journey was awkward and deeply unsettling. The audiotape transcription exercises of my training were the zenith of my "going for 4s" efforts, helping me (a) disrupt unaware and unhelpful conversational habits while (b) adding conversational tools that improved my counseling. As I watch counselor trainees fumble, early in their training, for a "right" way to converse, I have the same concerns for them that I had for myself during my own counselor training.

Trainees bring everyday, conversational improvisation skills and competence to their roles as counselors. I want them to be more reflective about those skills and competencies, recognizing how they contribute to counseling's hermeneutic circle, that is, how their comments shape and are shaped by their talk with others. To promote conscious use of these conversation-shaping skills, I now see different purposes for the transcription exercise: It can help trainees better understand how they contribute to the processes and outcomes of counseling, turn-by-conversational-turn.

Resourcefulness and Reflection Within Counseling Constructive Conversations

Regarding counseling as socially constructed therapeutic conversation (Friedman, 1993; Gilligan & Price, 1994; McNamee & Gergen, 1993) marks a radical (some call it postmodern) departure from earlier views. This view is well established, however, in conversation and discourse analyses (e.g., Edwards, 1997; Hutchby & Wooffitt,1998; Potter, 1996). Such ideas inform discursive approaches to counseling (e.g., Anderson, 1997; Kogan & Gale, 1997; McNamee & Gergen, 1993), and a particular ethical stance is implied when these approaches are used in practice (Swim, St. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Engaging Reflection: A Training Exercise Using Conversation and Discourse Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.