I travelled from my country, Norway, to work for a master’s degree in systemic therapy at KCC International. At the clinic in London where I had my pair work I met a female client, Meercat1, who used most of the time we had together talking without interruptions. As therapist I found myself listening, still, I didn’t feel I was a passive participant or that the conversations became monotonous by extensive ‘monologues’ from the client. My reflections during the therapeutic process became the starting point for my interest in trying to examine what happened between us in our dialogues.
1.3. Research design Finding a methodology and a method to fit this project was a process. To me the dialogue became both a phenomenon I wanted to study and at the same time a tool, a method, for such a study. Therefore the dialogue in the present work is both an object of study, a conceptual framework for the methodology and a model for my concrete research design in gathering and understanding my data.
I didn’t want to put myself outside and study others’ relationships but to examine ‘from within’ a relationship of which I was a part. Using as a point of departure the idea that knowledge is created between people in dialogue (Bakhtin 1981, Shotter 1993) I consider myself an inquirer who is, in the words of Chen & Pearce (1995) ‘implicated in a creative process that simultaneously expresses and constructs events and experiences” (p. 146). The aim of this research is to create more knowledge about what happens in my practice and to see how the creation of this knowledge feeds back on my practice.
I consider the research as a process in which I have tried to be attentive to Meercat’s voices, my voices and the input and reflections of others. What was in the beginning meant as a fairly pre planned, structured design developed, changed and emerged during the process resulting in this dissertation.
The therapy, on which this research is based, lasted for 18 months and included 22 sessions. The research process went on for 9 months and the present report is a description of this process. The challenge has been to structure the report to comply with the requirements of 1
Meercat is the name the client chose to make herself anonymous. She chose that name because she once participated in a workshop, and she was given that name by the members of her group. They thought she showed the same curiosity and alertness as the little animal. All other names she mentions are made anonymous as well.
Dialogical Action Research - About therapeutic listening, creating space for voices to emerge and to be heard