An examination of mitigation strategies used in Spanish psychotherapeutic discourse

TitleAn examination of mitigation strategies used in Spanish psychotherapeutic discourse
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFlores-Ferrán, N
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
PublisherElsevier Science
Place PublishedNetherlands
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0378-2166
Accession Number2010-09960-014. First Author & Affiliation: Flores-Ferrán, Nydia
KeywordsDiscourse Analysis, mitigation strategies, motivational interviewing, Motivational interviews, Oral Communication, Psychotherapeutic Processes, Spanish psychotherapeutic discourse, speech, Strategies

The present study examined politeness phenomenon in Spanish discourse produced between a therapist and a client during psychotherapeutic motivational interviews as depression and adherence to medication are discussed. In particular, this study examined the mitigation strategies and indirect speech acts used by the interactants. Mitigation has been defined as a modification of a speech act that softens the message for its hearer (Fraser, 1980:341). Several devices such as shields, hedges, parenthetical verbs and proverbial sayings were observed in this discursive context in the qualitative and quantitative analyses. This study also revealed that the use of mitigating devices on the part of the therapist was conditioned by his intentions to attain his goals: to indirectly motivate the client to continue with treatment. The qualitative analysis revealed how references to persons varied and how the Latino cultural notions of el qúe dirán and guardar las apariencias posited by Placencia (1996) emerged in this discursive context. Although mitigating features have been investigated in Spanish ([Bravo, 2008], [Haverkate, 1990], [Hernández Flores, 1999], [Murillo Medrano, 2002] and [Placencia, 1996], among others), overall they remain relatively under investigated in Spanish psychotherapeutic discourse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

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