The Discourse of Child Counselling

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This book is an empirical study of naturally occurring interaction between child counselling professionals and young children experiencing parental separation or divorce. Based on tape recordings of the work of a London child counselling practice, it offers the reader a unique and sustained look inside the child counselling consultation room at the talk that occurs there. The book uses conversation analysis against a backdrop of sociological work in childhood and family studies to situate the discourse of child counselling at an interface between the increasing incitement to communicate in modern society, the growing recognition of children’s social competence and agency, and the enablements and constraints of institutional forms of discourse participation. Chapters include overviews of recent developments in the sociology of childhood and the sociolinguistics of children’s talk; conversation analysis and institutional discourse; and detailed empirical studies of the linguistic techniques by which counsellors draw out children’s concerns about family trauma and the means by which children, through talking and avoiding talking, either cooperate in or resist their therapeutic subjectification. This book will be of interest to readers in counselling psychology and practitioners of child counselling; to researchers and advanced students in social psychology, sociology and sociolinguistics; and to others interested in childhood and family studies, interactionism, qualitative methodology and conversation analysis.

Subjects: Discourse studies; Communication Studies; Pragmatics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Leicester

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