Practices of Argumentation in a Community of Therapists: Constructing a Dilemma

  • Alexis Ibarra Martínez Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Keywords: discursive psychology, ethnomethodology, rhetoric, dilemmas, professional interaction, collaborative therapy


The research reported in this article adopted a discursive perspective, focusing on the production of arguments in interaction between therapists: that is, intersubjective coordination as it unfolds through narrative sequences. The key premise is that people constitute their social reality through the active use of language. The data consist of tape-recordings of meetings between therapists reflecting on their clinical practice. Therapists' descriptions of their clinical work can be divided into two different argumentative positions: one labeled "collaborative," the other labeled "directive." Analysis focuses on how therapists justify and criticize both positions. It is through this process of argumentation that therapists advocate for a collaborative stance, while at the same time keeping a directive stance even though it represents a clash with their preferred values. Therapists resolve this opposition by creating arguments oriented to justify the adoption of a directive stance while recognizing its undesirability. These findings are discussed in terms of the notion of dilemma as a rhetorical construction which enables and constrains the ways of thinking within a community of therapists.



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Author Biography

Alexis Ibarra Martínez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Alexis IBARRA MARTÍNEZ es Doctor en Psicología Social por la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Actualmente se desempeña como profesor e investigador en la FES Iztacala de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Sus líneas de investigación giran en torno a la psicología discursiva.

How to Cite
Ibarra Martínez, A. (2014). Practices of Argumentation in a Community of Therapists: Constructing a Dilemma. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(3).
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