How practitioners deal with their clients' "off-track" talk

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In institutional encounters where a client engages with a practitioner for advice or guidance, there is a phase in which the client may be expected to ‘tell their tale’ before the practitioner offers a response. In this chapter I shall analyse the kind of professional conversation which involves with a client being invited to describe a personal and indeed intimate problem, in order for the professional to offer their perspective (and possibly suggest a solution). The client’s problems here are matters of emotion, conflict or life-style, caused or sharpened by psychological disorder or disability – in other words, we shall be listening in to what the editors term as the ‘professional format’ of the counselling, personal-­support and therapy consultation.


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