Language Usage and Social Action in the Psychoanalytic Encounter: Discourse Analysis of a Therapy Session Fragment

  • Peter Schneider Brooklyn College


A fragment of a therapy session is discussed using some of the tools of discourse analysis in an effort to demonstrate how speech acts serve as vehicles for the negotiation of roles and the transmittal of emotional/relational messages in the therapeutic dyad. In particular, issues of power asymmetry, proper function of the therapist, patient autonomy, and emotional attachment are subtextually communicated about through types of speech acts such as propositional triggers and utterances that are ambiguous as to their illocutionary and perlocutionary forces. The analysis of the speech acts in the session provides a microscopic identification of the expression of macro-level theoretical phenomena such as transference and counter-transference. 


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How to Cite
Schneider, P. (2013). Language Usage and Social Action in the Psychoanalytic Encounter: Discourse Analysis of a Therapy Session Fragment. Language and Psychoanalysis, 2(1), 4-19.
Original Articles