The Talk of the Clinic: Explorations in the Analysis of Medical and therapeutic Discourse, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Talk of the Clinic

Explorations in the Analysis of Medical and therapeutic Discourse, 1st Edition

Edited by G. H. Morris, Ronald J. Chenail


352 pages

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This collection of original papers by scholars who closely analyze the talk of the clinic features studies that were conceived with the aim of contributing to clinical practitioners' insight about how their talk works. No previous communication text has attempted to take such a practitioner-sensitive posture with its research presentations. Each chapter focuses on one or more performances that clinical practitioners -- in consort with their clients or colleagues -- must achieve with some regularity. These speech acts are consequential for effective practice and sometimes present themselves as problematic.

Rather than calling for research to be simplified or reoriented in order for practitioners to understand it, these authors interpret state-of-the-art descriptive analysis for its practical import for clinicians. Each contributor delves deeply into clinical practice and its wisdom; therefore, each is positioned to identify alternative clinical practices and techniques and to appreciate practitioners' means of performing effectively. When reflective practitioners encounter these new pieces of work, productive alterations in how their work is done can be stimulated. By reading this work, reflective practitioners will now have new ways of considering their talk and new possibilities for speaking effectively.

The volume is uniquely constructed so as to engage in dialogue with these reflective practitioners as they struggle to articulate their work. A practical wisdom-as-research trend has recently emerged in the clinical fields stimulating these practitioners to explore new and more informative ways -- communication and literary theory, ethnography, and discourse analysis -- to express what they do in clinics and hospitals. With the studies presented in this book, the editors build upon this dialectical process between practitioner and researcher, thus helping this productive conversation to continue.


"…every chapter works with real talk, and it will be instructive (expecially to those interested in medical and counseling encounters) to see the range of what the contributors do with that kind of data."

Journal of Language and Social Psychology

"The Talk of the Clinic successfully merges an examination of critical issues in medical and therapeutic contexts with micro-analyses of discourse within those contexts to produce a text for students, researchers and practitioners."


Table of Contents

Contents: R.J. Chenail, G.H. Morris, Introduction: The Talk of the Clinic. Part I:Therapy and Conversations About Therapy. R. Buttny, A.D. Jensen, Telling Problems in an Initial Family Therapy Session: The Hierarchical Organization of Problem-Talk. C.M. Jones, W.A. Beach, Therapists' Techniques for Responding to Unsolicited Contributions by Family Members. R.J. Chenail, L. Fortugno, Resourceful Figures in Therapeutic Conversations. D.A. Todtman, Behind the Looking Glass: Tinkering With the Facts on the Other Side of a One-Way Mirror. J. Gale, M. Odell, C.S. Nagireddy, Marital Therapy and Self-Reflexive Research: Research and/as Intervention. D.A. Ratliff, G.H. Morris, Telling How to Say It: A Way of Giving Suggestions in Family Therapy Supervision. Part II:The Discourse of Medical Care. A.M. Pomerantz, J. Ende, F. Erickson, Precepting Conversations in a General Medicine Clinic. R. Hopper, J.A. Ward, W.R. Thomason, P.M. Sias, Two Types of Institutional Disclaimers at the Cancer Information Service. S.L. Ragan, C.S. Beck, M.D. White, Educating the Patient: Interactive Learning in an OB-GYN Context. R.L. Street, Jr., W.R. Gold, T. McDowell, Discussing Health-Related Quality of Life in Prenatal Consultations. R.M. Frankel, Some Answers About Questions in Clinical Interviews. W.A. Beach, Preserving and Constraining Options: "Okays" and "Official" Priorities in Medical Interviews. K.S. McNeilis, T.L. Thompson, D. O'Hair, Implications of Relational Communication for Therapeutic Discourse.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies