Co-Therapy and a Dialogical Approach
-an inspiration from Scandinavian countries
Thesis for the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Trondheim
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
NTNU Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences
This is a practitioner PhD research project discovering through use of co-therapy, therapeutic potential of dialogism. A multi-disciplinary team of four men and four women, each one of them of a different background and different training who form together an outpatient service of clinical psychology and psychotherapy in a remote area of the Czech Republic have focused on transforming their service into a dialogical practice. They choose co-therapy as a context where dialogical aspects of their work can be observed and developed in the best way. Based on ideas of social constructionism they co-designed and then performed together a practitioner research consisting of first reflected co-therapy (two therapists working together with one family and then reflecting on their work) then bringing their reflections into a focus group. The content of the focus group was taped, trans-scripted, analysed and the results of the analysis were presented in the beginning of the following focus group for discussion together with the new reflections. A complex methodology was used for analysing the content of the focus group not just to categorise the utterances as such but also to map and reflect on the dialogical qualities present in the focus groups. In this way, an analytical loop of personal and theoretical reflections being tested in practise and then reflected again was formed and performed until the whole team was happy with the results. All together 6 focus groups were performed within a 1,5 years timespan. This resulted into development of dialogical ethics adopted in the team and definition of characteristics of dialogical co-therapy. These are not experienced only as theoretical concepts but as a performed day-to-day reality with which all the team members identify.