Analysing multivoicedness
: an examination of the dynamic interactional patterns between the voices of the self in clients who experience depression

  • Emma Kay

Student thesis: PsychD


Depression has been identified as being the predominant mental health problem worldwide, this recurrent disorder is linked to an increased inability to function, and a reduction in the quality of life. Both clinicians of various orientations and psychological research has supported the view that the self is constituted of multiple parts or internal voices, suggesting that these differing voices are apparent in individuals engaging in psychotherapy. Taking this into consideration, this study analysed the multivoicedness of five individuals who were receiving psychotherapy for depression in order to gain a greater understanding of this condition through a dialogical lens. A new qualitative method was used to analyse audiorecordings and transcripts emanating from psychotherapy sessions. A longitudinal case study design was adopted and the first, middle and final psychotherapy sessions were analysed. There were two main findings, the first related to the interactional patterns generated between voices of the self. A relational pattern was identified in all cases which consisted of two oppositional I-positions, these I-positions generated intrapsychic conflict, this conflict was subsequently shut down by a third apathetic, passive I-position. The second finding concerned the emergence at midpoint of an emotional I-position, which enabled a working through of previous problematic narratives and an increased degree of reflexivity, which heightened the level of dialogicality between existing I-positions. This study has two implications for clinical practice as it highlights firstly how dialogical theory can be used to understand the nature of depression from a dialogical perspective, and secondly how this understanding may impact how clinicians work with clients who are experiencing depression.
Date of Award17 Apr 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorMick Cooper (Supervisor) & Alex Gillespie (Supervisor)


  • Multivoicedness
  • Dialogical
  • I-positions
  • Meta position
  • Depression

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