Linguistic and interactional restrictions in an outpatient clinic

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Interactions with patients with functional neurological symptoms are considered particularly difficult by doctors. In keeping with this, neurologists orient to the challenging nature of these consultations by employing self-selected restricted linguistic and interactional practices through which they deliberately avoid the use of more direct and explicit resources. The use of restricted practices is correlated to patients’ resistance. Neurologists try to anticipate and pre-empt their patients’ resistance, or they manage it as it emerges during the consultations, to try and minimize disaffiliation and maximize patients’ alignment with their explanations. Restricted practices and avoidance display extreme caution on the part of the neurologists throughout these consultations and constitute the trademark of these interactions.


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