Rhetorical questions emerging spontaneously in consultations can be used as a tool for developing self‐reflexivity and exploring the therapeutic alliance in the process of therapy with couples and families. This paper presents a technique based on the enunciation of rhetorical questions, which can point to an impasse in the process of therapy and contain a key to its resolution. The technique focuses on the distinctive feature of rhetorical questions as convening a paradoxical injunction: a question not intended as a question, while uttered as such. The technique in four steps is illustrated by examples from therapy, supervision, consultation, and self‐supervision. Its focus is the interlink between the therapeutic relationship and the process of therapy and it is informed by a second‐order cybernetics approach, dialogical practice, and the systemic literature on emotion. The technique can help develop curiosity in working with families, lead to unforeseen developments, and touch on prejudices not made explicit in previous therapeutic encounters. Whether we are acting as supervisors, therapists, or clients, the creation of a ‘secure enough’ context for rhetorical questions becomes critical to allow freeform exploration.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;
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