This self-cohesion and organisation of experience is often discussed in relation to verbal art, which in turn is associated with the construal of human experience, metaphor and poetic expression. A similar methodological approach to verbal art and psychotherapy text analysis through stylistic methods (‘science of poetics’) is also advocated by Meares et al (2005) and Butt et al (2014). In this research, the poetics of the therapeutic interaction are analysed from the perspective of cohesion, coherence and texture.
A linguistic analysis of cohesion and cohesive harmony (cf. Hasan; 1984;1985) is discussed in reference to the patterning of language in instances of therapeutic text. Measures of coherence are applied to the instance and held up against the system; in addition the semantic continuities and changes are shown with the local and global differences in coherence at varying levels of delicacy. Therapeutic text is also compared with verbal art and spoken discourse. The linguistic cohesion provides a resource for texture “in order for the discourse to come to life as a text” (Halliday & Hasan, 1976:299).
This paper examines a clinical case in which Heidegger’s work took a central role, where a confluence of Conversational Model and Heideggarian ideas assisted in a current engagement in psychotherapy. In this case, Heidegger’s work functioned in two modes. Firstly, as a shared play-space between my patient and I where analogical relatedness could develop. Secondly, Heidegger’s work also functioned as a literal model for being-in-the-world that over time became integrated into the conversation. This is an example of fit, intersubjectivity and fellow-feeling. Heidegger’s concept of existential authenticity (Eigentlichkeit) derives from that which is owned. If affect is innate, then it is arguable that this is the essence of that which is owned. By engaging with the affect of our patients we are engaging on a fundamentally authentic level.
While verbal art has been regarded as the quintessential expression of what a community shares in a “collective consciousness”, equally it has been studied as the harbinger of experiential innovation. Language affords the chief source of interpersonal solidarity AND a semantic laboratory for what is incipient or even weird (outside the ken of ‘normal folk’). This polarisation of functions can in some cases be explained by changes of artistic taste – mediaeval poetry in Europe was appreciated in terms of its ensemble of standard cultural motifs – e.g. roses, blood, courtesy… Other eras, like our own (in English, at least), have given value to novelty and invention, as well as to highly marked linguistic constructions.