Retorik i psykoterapi : Hur en psykoterapeut etablerar sitt ethos

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för kommunikation, medier och it


This paper aims to describe and discuss psychotherapy in rhetorical terms; in particular how psychotherapists can use their ethos, or person, as a means for convincing the patient, and subsequently discuss how these insights in turn can be useful for other rhetors.

Classical rhetoric is commonly associated with one speaker exercising influence on an audience of many, but modern rhetoric is broader, and includes all situations where someone is attempting, by speech or in writing, to affect anyone, including the rhetor himself. With this broader definition, psychotherapy may also be considered a form of rhetoric. Psychotherapy does, however, highlight the aspect of power distribution, in that it is clear that it is up to the patient to determine whether the rhetoric will achieve its purpose or not, that is, if he will be influenced by it. In psychotherapy, it is also important to differentiate between persuading and convincing: for a permanent change to occur in the patient’s thoughts and actions, the deeper, "internal" form of conviction is necessary for change to take place.

When attempting to convince an audience, it is important for the speaker to establish a credible ethos, that is, present a trustworthy persona. A psychotherapist can do this in several ways, including demonstrating compassion and empathy; retain an expert role but still be personal when the situation requires; and strike a balance between direct and indirect control of the situation. Creatively explored, these aspects may be fruitful for other rhetors as well.

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