Language as power in the therapy room: A study of bilingual (Arabic–English) therapists' experiences

Article


Al-Mahroos, Z. and Di Braccio, M. 2024. Language as power in the therapy room: A study of bilingual (Arabic–English) therapists' experiences. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 24 (1), pp. 106-118. https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12608
AuthorsAl-Mahroos, Z. and Di Braccio, M.
Abstract

The topic of language as power (LaP) in individual therapeutic encounters has thus far been overlooked, and as bilingual therapists have the ability to use more than one language in the therapy room, their experience of LaP is a compelling research area that this paper attempts to explore. This qualitative, inductive, phenomenological study used interviews and interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore five bilingual Arabic–English-speaking therapists' experiences of LaP in the therapeutic encounter. The study identifies two overarching themes: (a) the emergence of identity and power from language and (b) comparisons of power in the English and Arabic languages. Within these themes, the study finds that therapists experience LaP through multiple avenues: self-disclosure, intersectionality, being transported to different identities and expressions of power and power of expression in Arabic–English. These multiple avenues illustrate the complexity of LaP in the therapeutic encounter. The study sheds light on an underexplored area in psychotherapy, illuminating an important area for psychotherapists and training institutions to consider when working with clients.

JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Journal citation24 (1), pp. 106-118
ISSN1473-3145
Year2024
PublisherWiley
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12608
Publication dates
Online24 Dec 2022
PrintJan 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Nov 2022
Deposited01 Feb 2024
Copyright holder© 2022, The Authors
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