Script proposals: A device for empowering clients in counselling

Emmision, Michael, Butler, Carly W. and Danby, Susan (2011) Script proposals: A device for empowering clients in counselling. Discourse Studies, 13 1: 3-26. doi:10.1177/1461445610387734

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Author Emmision, Michael
Butler, Carly W.
Danby, Susan
Title Script proposals: A device for empowering clients in counselling
Journal name Discourse Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1461-4456
Publication date 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1461445610387734
Open Access Status
Volume 13
Issue 1
Start page 3
End page 26
Total pages 24
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Much of the research on the delivery of advice by professionals such as physicians, health workers and counsellors, both on the telephone and in face-to-face interaction more generally, has focused on the theme of client resistance and the consequent need for professionals to adopt particular formats to assist in the uptake of the advice. In this article we consider one setting, Kid's Helpline, the national Australian counselling service for children and young people, where there is an institutional mandate not to give explicit advice in accordance with the values of self-direction and empowerment. The article examines one practice, the use of script proposals by counsellors, which appears to offer a way of providing support which is consistent with these values. Script proposals entail the counsellors packaging their advice as something that the caller might say - at some future time - to a third party such as a friend, teacher, parent or partner, and involve the counsellor adopting the speaking position of the caller in what appears as a rehearsal of a forthcoming strip of interaction. Although the core feature of a script proposal is the counsellor's use of direct reported speech, they appear to be delivered not so much as exact words to be followed, but as the type of conversation that the client needs to have with the third party. Script proposals, in short, provide models of what to say as well as alluding to how these could be emulated by the client. In their design, script proposals invariably incorporate one or more of the most common rhetorical formats for maximizing the persuasive force of an utterance such as a three-part list or a contrastive pair. Script proposals, moreover, stand in a complex relation to the prior talk and one of their functions appears to be to summarize, respecify or expand upon the client's own ideas or suggestions for problem solving that have emerged in these preceding sequences. © The Author(s) 2011.
Keyword Advice giving
Conversation analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 24 Feb 2011, 14:26:07 EST by Debbie Lim on behalf of School of Social Science