How novice therapists convey empathy in therapeutic interaction
Empathy has a central role in facilitating therapeutic change, but its actual forms in a therapeutic context have been rarely studied. The aim of this paper was to explore how novice therapists express empathy during psychotherapy sessions, and to examine the ways in which successful and failed expressions of empathy shape the positions of the participants and how the therapeutic process unfolds on a microanalytic level. The material consisted of recorded short-term cognitive-analytic therapy processes by psychology students filmed in 2012–2013. Both therapists had one client. The recorded duration of both processes was approximately 20 hours, circa 40 in total. One of the therapists was a female, the other one a male. The analysis was performed using elements from both discursive psychology and conversation analysis.