Compared to narrative and solution-focused therapies, in dialogical approaches the therapists’ position becomes different. Therapists are no longer interventionists with some preplanned map for the stories that clients are telling. Instead, their main focuses on how to respond to clients’ utterances as answers are the generators for mobilizing one’s own psychological resources, since ‘for the word (and consequently for a human being) there is nothing more terrible than a lack of response’ (Bakhtin, 1984, p.127). Respecting the dialogical principle that every utterance calls for a response, team members strive to answer what is said.
Answering does not mean giving an explanation or interpretation, but, rather, demonstrating in a therapist’s response that one has noticed what has been said and, when possible, opening up a new point of view on what has been said. This is not a forced interruption of every utterance to give a response, but an adaptation of one’s answering words to the emerging natural rhythm of the conversation. Team members respond as fully embodied persons, with genuine interest in what each person in the room has to say, avoiding any suggestion that someone may have said something wrong. As the process enables network members to find their voices, they also become respondents to themselves. For a speaker, hearing her own words after receiving the comments that answer them enables her to understand more of what she has said.
“Inner and Outer Voices in the Present Moment of Family and Network Therapy” – Seikkula