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Talk in Interaction in the Speech—Language Pathology Clinic: Bringing Theory to Practice Through Discourse

Leahy, Margaret M. MSc, MLitt; Walsh, Irene P. PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.TLD.0000333598.53339.5a

Clinical educators in speech–language pathology seek to provide the best possible opportunities for student clinicians to learn about clinical work and how the interaction between clinician and client is constructed. Observing and engaging in practice as apprentices under supervision are traditional means for students to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are appropriate in professional work. In this article, we propose that learning about and applying clinical discourse analysis is an additional means to stimulate and deepen awareness of how clinicians interact with clients. The contexts of student-clinician education in Ireland are presented with regard to how discourse analysis is incorporated into the curriculum. Examples are presented and discussed for using discourse extracts to teach and demonstrate the negotiation of therapy roles. Recommendations for changing how clinicians talk are outlined. In conclusion, the benefits of analyzing clinical discourse to explicate therapy dynamics are described.

From the Department of Clinical Speech & Language Studies, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Corresponding author: Margaret M. Leahy, Department of Clinical Speech & Language Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins