Questioning questions in psychotherapeutic practice: The dialogical dynamics of change in therapy through clients questioning therapists
The focus of this study is a particular type of questioning in psychotherapy: The unusual, yet recurrent, phenomenon of clients asking questions or making requests to the therapist and the way this alters the dialogical dynamics and therapeutic alliance between the two. Thus, we investigate how these types of question-answer cycles challenge the balance of the dialogical system of therapy including the normally accepted asymmetrical power relation between therapist and client. The analysis is informed by an ecological perspective which views the dialogical collaboration of therapist and client as forming a distributed cognitive system. The study shows how disaffiliation to questioning cycles on one hand stress the dialogical system through changing the language game, yet on the other hand, also entertain a subtle form of cooperativeness. The questioning cycles inform the dyadic system of therapist and client so that precautions can be made in order to secure the therapeutic alliance.