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Exploring Silence in Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Work [Volume 2]

Acheson, Rachel Alice (R.A.); (2020) Exploring Silence in Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Work [Volume 2]. Doctoral thesis (D.Psych), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Psychotherapy process research is important in developing technique and enhancing clinical skills. Silence, as an aspect of child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy, has been a neglected area of research, despite it being acknowledged as an often challenging yet therapeutically useful aspect of the work. This study aims to explore silence in adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy, by studying the emergence of silence in therapy sessions and the adolescents’ views. Three Short Term Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies of adolescents with depression were sampled, and silences occurring in six sessions of each therapy were coded using the Pausing Inventory Categorization System (PICS). The study identified that in the three therapies sampled, on average almost one-third of session time was spent in silence, and that most of this silence was coded as ‘obstructive’. The study also found that the change in silence amount through each stage of therapy was different in each patient-therapist dyad. Follow-up interviews conducted with the adolescents were analysed using thematic analysis and found that the adolescents expressed negative feelings about silence in their therapy. Findings from the follow-up interviews were related to silence and outcome data to suggest processes that may have been taking place in each of the therapies. A key hypothesis was that the majority of the silence in the therapies sampled appeared to relate to conflict, which could be viewed as both an aspect of the developmental stage of adolescence, and a symptom of depression. Clinical implications of the findings indicated that long silence do not appear to be useful in adolescent therapy in the way they are considered to be in adult therapy, and so adaptation of therapeutic technique is required.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Psych
Title: Exploring Silence in Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Work [Volume 2]
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Silence, Adolescent, Therapy, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytic, STPP, Silent, Adolescence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088859
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