This paper presents a preliminary investigation into the descriptive adequacy of a linguistic approach to the analysis of clinical interaction. The analyses involved description of Generic Structure and the Exchange, based on Systemic Functional Linguistics. The research investigated the extent to which the findings from the analyses reflected interpersonal aspects of the clinician/client relationship, and the extent to which the analyses may be sensitive to the experience of the clinicians. Three video recorded treatment sessions were analysed, involving three different aphasic subjects and their clinicians, varying in clinical experience. Findings suggest that clinician and client roles are strongly reflected in the manner and structure of the therapy exchange, regardless of the experience of the clinician. However, it was also found that the more experienced clinicians were observed to spend more time in building rapport with clients. The more experienced clinicians were also observed to exploit the structural opportunities within sessions to allow for a repeated review of tasks, progress, and planning. It is suggested that this linguistic approach allows for critical reflection on important aspects of the clinical process and, hence, provides a useful tool in clinical education and reflective practice.
Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics Vol. 15, p. 229-243