Positioning in the therapist's inner conversation: a dialogical model based on a grounded theory analysis of therapist reflections

Peter Rober, Robert Elliott, Ann Buysse, Gerrit Loots, Kim De Corte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, a dialogical perspective has emerged in the family therapy field in which the therapist's inner conversation is conceptualized as a dialogical self. In this study, we analyze the data of a grounded theory study of therapist reflections and we portray the therapist's self as a dynamic multiplicity of inner positions embodied as voices, having dialogical relationships in terms of questions and answers or agreement and disagreement. We propose a descriptive model of the therapist's inner conversation with four positions. In this model, each of the four positions represents a concern of the therapist: attending to the client's process, processing the client's story, focusing on the therapist's own experience, and managing the therapeutic process. Detailed analyses of vignettes of therapist reflections illustrate the model, and implications of this model for training and supervision are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-421
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • family therapy
  • qualitivie research
  • ideas
  • psychotherapy
  • violence
  • clients
  • session
  • voices
  • self

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