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Constructing (in)competence by Judith F. Duchan, Madeline Maxwell, Dana Kovarsky

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Chapter 15

The Social Construction of Language Incompetence and Social Identity in Psychotherapy

Kathleen Ferrara

Texas A&M University

INTRODUCTION

Recent work in the dialogical or conversational version of social constructionism (Coulter, 1979; Gergen, 1994; Shotter, 1993) advances the notions that reality is interpersonally negotiable and that the social setting and its participants are primary in the ascription and ratification of mental states. McNamee and Gergen’s (1992) treatise Therapy as Social Construction, along with the work of Labov and Fanshel (1977), Therapeutic Discourse, and Ferrara (1994), Therapeutic Ways With Words, call attention to the discursive realities created within the setting of the psychotherapy session. Ferrara (1994) ...

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