Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2009
In various institutional settings, professionals encounter moments where clients resist their actions and institutional agendas. In CA research on institutional interaction, such resistance has been mostly examined as overt client resistance to particular professionals' actions, especially as nonaligning responses to turns that present professionals' perspectives to their clients. The focus has mainly been on client resistance to professionals' recommendations in health care and counselling settings (Heritage & Sefi, 1992; Silverman, 1997; Stivers, 2005; Vehviläinen, 1999; Waring, 2005). Typically, professionals have the means of pre-empting such resistance (Heritage & Sefi, 1992; Maynard, 1991; Silverman, 1997). If they nevertheless do meet resistance, they typically pursue and elaborate the resisted action. Another strand of literature has shown how clients resist questions with embedded presuppositions, especially in media interviews (Berg, 2001; Clayman, 1993), but also in therapeutic settings (Halonen, Chapter 8, this volume; MacMartin, Chapter 5, this volume).
When examining psychotherapies that are based on a concept of the unconscious, the issue of resistance becomes more complex. Psychoanalysis, especially, is based on a multifaceted theory of the unconscious, as well as an elaborate technique of dealing with it. A central aim of psychoanalysis is to expand the area of consciousness, to include ideas and affects that have been repressed. This has various consequences for what resistance means for therapeutic practice, what counts as resistance, and how resistance is managed in the interaction.
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