Moving closer. A Conversation Analytic Perspective on how a Psychotherapeutic Dyad Works on Closing their Encounters

  • Michael M. Dittmann International Psychoanalytic University (IPU)


This pilot study analyzes a blank space of research: How is the actual therapeutic session closed and how do single closings contribute to the over-all process of therapy? Data corpus is a completely transcribed single short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. All 28 closing sequences were fully analyzed with Conversation Analysis. The over-all structure of therapy is unfolded in closings in three ways: i) as a joint activity with ‘audible’ steps, describable as scheme of closing, ii) as alignment organization that reveals three closing types: compact, stretched and commented closings. (These types can be seen as manifest realizations of an implicit communicative problem, the coda dilemma: How to close a session with open topics?) And iii) thirdly, therapist and patient typically display their interactional affiliation towards the therapeutic process with joint evaluation of therapeutic help (JETH). Clinical relevant learnings of this study are: i) closing section is to be unilaterally initiated by the therapist while the patient actively suppresses open topics, ii) therapist has deontic authority only and his action is subject to approval, iii) psychotherapeutic dyad establishes a social relationship by projecting closing and iv) therapy is co-actively and locally produced when expansions after closings are taken as a comment on the therapeutic situation.


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How to Cite
Dittmann, M. (2017). Moving closer. A Conversation Analytic Perspective on how a Psychotherapeutic Dyad Works on Closing their Encounters. Language and Psychoanalysis, 5(2), 46-61.
Original Articles