4th International Conference on the Dialogical Self (icds-4) University of Minho, Braga, Portugal



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15h30 – 16h30

Keynote Speaker
Nandita Chaudhary (University of Delhi, India)

Persistent patterns in cultural negotiations of the self: Using ‘dialogical self’ theory to understand self-other dynamics in India
‘Dialogical self’ theory has facilitated contextual and interpersonal constructions of the self. A major contribution of the theory has been to incorporate relationships with others as fundamental to self-processes. Meaning is believed to be created through basic disagreement between at least two perspectives, the ‘I’ and ‘Other’ (Ferreira, Salgado & Cunha, 2006). Self-culture dialogicality thus becomes a critical domain which “allows for the study of the self as ‘culture-inclusive’ and of culture as ‘self- inclusive’” (Hermans, 2001, p. 243). It is by now reasonably well accepted that self-structures and processes are divergent across cultures. Ideologies of personhood prevalent within any culture predispose specific ways of approaching relationships with the self and others’ as well as critical domains like morality (Miller, 2001). Since cultural analysis has attained vital importance in human sciences, it becomes significant to assess whether we can employ the ‘dialogical self’ to explore and understand these differences?

This paper is an attempt in this direction. I will discuss the following patterns of self-other dynamics among Indians and attempt to analyse these using the dialogical approach:

- Understanding the self as an activity rather than an entity

- The ‘idea of the self’ as inclusive of and deeply engaged with others, neither separate from nor prior to them

- The dynamic process of self-evolution as constantly changing and sensitive to context and company

- Socialisation of children regarding person- and situation-specific conduct

- Critical levels of self-coherence and self-boundary; how is ‘individuality’ maintained at such levels?

17h00 – 18h30

Interactive Symposium
Dialoguing on methodologies: The challenge from dialogical self

Jaan Valsiner (Clark University, USA) & Lívia M. Simão (University of São Paulo, Brazil) 


Leading Participants: Brady Wagoner (Cambridge University, UK), Jaan Valsiner (Clark University, USA), João Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal), Lívia M. Simão (University of São Paulo, Brazil), & Tania Zittoun (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
It will be a two-part event -- spread over 2 sessions, in two days. Day 1 will involve an introduction, by the leading participants who will raise some substantive questions that so far have not been answered in the DS framework yet, (but which need solutions). By the end of the Session 1 all participants who want to contribute to the discussion will be invited to right there briefly write down their proposal ways of solving the problems.  The results will be collected and systematized by the leading participants. The next day (Day 2), the second part of the event takes place. The solutions collected and on Day 1 will be presented and discussed-- hopefully by the persons who raised the issues and provided solutions on Day 1.  We hope that in that arrangement the ideas continue to reverberate, and the dialogues arisen lead to continuity.

17h00 – 18h30

Symposium 5
The final session of a psychoanalysis: A narrative and conversational analytic case study

Brigitte Boothe (University of Zurich, Switzerland)


This panel encompass three thematic parts: (1) Dream communication and dreamanalysis in the perspective of dialogical organization (Brigitte Boothe & Urs Spiegel); (2) „I have to leave now“- A qualitative research study on the last session of a high-frequency psychoanalytic psychotherapy (Bernhard Grimmer, Marius Neukom & Vera Luif); (3) Positioning as a device for interaction control (Arnulf Deppermann & Gabriele Lucius-Hoene). All presentations are based on the audio transcripts of the last session of a psychoanalytic treatment of more than five hundred hours (AMALIE); stemming from the University of Ulm, Germany; Prof. Dr. Horst Kächele and Prof. Dr. Erhard Mergenthaler).

Dream communication and dream-analysis in the perspective of dialogical organization

Brigitte Boothe & Urs Spiegel (University of Zurich, Switzerland)


The dream protocol is successively understood as a manifestation of the notoriously fragmentary and puzzling in individual existence. The dream report as a specific and distinctive form of communication has a repertoire of rhetoric figures and strategies that allow the fragmentary and the enigmatic to take on linguistic form. The person communicating a dream utilizes a form of unsaturated speech: the dream protocol itself is not a unified whole, but demands for expert commentaries, - it functions as invitation to dialogue. Telling a dream and commenting to a dream turns out as a dialogical exploratory movement from self-alienation to selective self-appropriation. This swinging back and forth from distance to appropriation and the to-and-fro between reference points in external life and strategies of inner processing have a key function for dream communication. The dream report takes shape as a sequential ordering, and elusive impressions become constituted after the fact as meaningful events. We want to present results out of an extensive text-analytical (www.jakob.unizh.ch), clinical, and process-oriented documentation of dream data (audio transcripts with almost hundred dreams out of psychoanalytic treatment of more than five hundred hours. We compare it with narratives of the patient.

I have to leave now” - A qualitative research study on the last session of a high-frequency psychoanalytic psychotherapy

Bernhard Grimmer, Marius Neukom & Vera Luif (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
The last session, the final scene and the topic of termination have – contrary to the initial scene and the first interview – not found much of attention in psychoanalytic theory and clinical case studies. In this paper, we oppose the ideal to the “reality” of the last hour of a psychoanalytic therapy: How do analyst and patient end their analytic relationship? How do they create their last good-bye? The underlying data of this study is based on the recorded and transcribed last hour of a high-frequency psychoanalytic therapy of the patient Amalie This data material was made available by Prof. Dr. Kächele (Ulm). The opening- and goodbye-scene of the last hour were analyzed by conversational analysis, the final dream and the final story by means of the qualitative narration analysis JAKOB. In the study, we concentrate on relationship dynamics between analyst and patient as well as on conflict dynamics of the patient facing the forthcoming end of analysis. It shows that the patient refuses the analysts attempts to pick the end out as a central theme and to give him a feed-back about his therapeutic influence to protect her self-perception as an autonomous person.

Positioning as a device for interaction control

Arnulf Deppermann (Institut fur Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, Germany) & Gabriele Lucius-Hoene (Institut of Psychology, University of Freiburg, Germany)


Ending a psychotherapy includes interactionally relevant tasks for both patient and therapist. Subjects like recognizing therapeutic efforts, evaluating results or coping with the pain of parting may be treated explicitly or implicitly, but in any case they form a background of expectations. Patient and therapist may pursue compatible, but also irreconcilable aims concerning these subjects. Based on transcripts from the last session of a high frequency psychoanalytical therapy, a patient’s interactional strategies of avoiding to refer to the parting against her therapist’s attempts to discuss it are shown. As a highly efficient device of interactional control, she constructs positions in proverbial, metaphorical or dream-related scenarios which treat the subject of parting in an abstract or hypothetical mode. The patient thereby makes clear that she considers any effort on his side to insist on a final evaluation of therapeutic outcomes to be aversive or even ridiculous. The analysis focuses on the verbal and communicative strategies by which the patient positions herself and the therapist and on their potentials and consequences as means of controlling further interactional initiatives.

17h00 – 18h30

Symposium 6
Comparing different paradigms in the theorization of schizophrenics symptoms

Giampaolo Salvatore (Third Center of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Italy)


Discussant: Paul H. Lysaker (Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)
Many theoretical model on schizophrenia focus on the attempt to explain the emergence of symptoms. In this context, some neurocognitive models relate specific symptoms to dysfunctions of complex psychological aspects, e.g. the control of intentional action and/or the monitoring of thought; and they relate these dysfunctions to the malfunctioning of specific areas of the brain. These models are part of an intrapsychic and modular psychopathological paradigm. This paradigm considers the individual a disembodied information processing entity, where this information entails the objects and the other individuals in the world. But an other paradigm is developing in the last decades, which considers the individual as continuously engaged in embodied interaction with the objects and with others. These interactions also happen when the individual is alone, through imaginative processes which are correlated to an empirically verifiable neural substrate. This last paradigm based upon a dialogical-intersubjective theory of mental processes. More recent neurocognitive theories on schizophrenia draw their inspiration from this last paradigm. These models consider schizophrenic symptoms as more related to an intersubjective ground and to the contingent context. This panel focus on the attempt to compare the intrapsychic-modular paradigm and the embodied-intersubjective one, through an analysis of the psychopathological theories on schizophrenic symptoms which draw their inspiration from those paradigms themselves

Metacognitive malfunctioning in psychosis

Raffaele Popolo, Dario Catania (Third Center of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Italy), Antonella Appetecchi (School of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Italy) & Michele Procacci (Third Center of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Italy)


Many authors support that in psychotic patients there is a damage in cognitive and metacognitive functions (Frith, 1992; Perris and Skagerlind, 1994; Lysaker, Carcione, 2005). Allucinatory experiences, and in particular auditory hallucinations, represent one of the possible positive symptoms of schizophrenia. More recent neuropsychological models hypothesize that auditory hallucinations could arise from:1) a breakdown of the monitoring system of the voluntary actions (Blakemore, Wolpert& Frith 2002; Frith, 1992); 2) "autonoetic agnosia", that is the incapability of recognize self-generated mental events (Keefe, 1998). By a single case study, we highlight how the auditory hallucinations of a psychotic patient appear in presence of a metacognitive malfunctioning (dysfunction of self-reflectivity). We discuss important involvements on the pathogenesis and psychological treatment of the positive symptoms, beginning from the study of cognitive and metacognitive malfunctioning in psychosis.

Dialogical disruption in psychosis: Implications for the psychotherapy of schizophrenia

Paul H. Lysaker (Indiana University School of Medicine, USA) & John Lysaker (University of Oregon, USA)


While impoverished self-experience is widely observed in persons with schizophrenia, little has been written about what is involved if it is a key focus of psychotherapy. Based on dialogical theories that conceptualize the self as an ongoing series of conversations within and between persons we have hypothesized that diminishments in sense of self in schizophrenia could result from a disruption in the flow of such conversations. In particular we have asserted that such a disruption could leave persons vulnerable to least three forms of disordered selves and resulting impoverished personal narratives: the barren, monological and cacophonous narrative. In this presentation the unique challenges these phenomenon present to psychotherapy are discussed and illustrated with case examples. These case examples focus on how each form of narrative impoverishment differently imperils the establishment of a therapeutic relationship and may respond better to an emphasis of different techniques.

An inter-subjective perspective on negative symptoms of schizophrenia: Implications of simulation theory

Giampaolo Salvatore, Giancarlo Dimaggio (Third Center of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Italy) & Paul Lysaker (Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)


Some of the best known neuro-cognitive schizophrenia models – the majority focusing on intrapsychic genesis – do not seem to lay any stress on the inter-subjective dimension of the disorder or to aim at explaining the mechanisms self-perpetuating psychosocial deficits central to the disorder. On this basis we critically analyse the neuro-cognitive intrapsychic models of schizophrenia based on Theory of Mind (TOM) deficits, and describe an alternative model of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, based on Simulation Theory. We start with the case analysis of a patient with schizoprenia unable to understand the intentions and affects of others, social withdrawed, and presenting psychomotor negative symptoms as limited gestures and goal-oriented actions. We assert that there are two interconnected neural correlates behind such negative symptoms: a) problems in the so called “canonical” and “mirror” neurons, situated for the most part in the premotor and parietal cortex would cause psychomotor negative symptoms; dysfunctions in mirror neurons only, located in the same areas, would cause an inability to automatically “select”, from among various hypotheses, the one most suited to understand the superordinate meanings and goals of the interpersonal transactions underway. Cause of this second dysfunction, patients are not able to attune to the context of a social interaction. On the basis of the theoretical model on negative symptoms, we present at the end also some suggestions about positive symptoms of schizophrenia.

17h00 – 18h30

Paper 5
Polyphony and multiplicity

Chair: Piotr K. Oles (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)



Silence and the dialogical self: Considerations on polyphony and authorship

Gaston Franssen (Research Institute for History and Culture, The Netherlands) & Stefan van Geelen (University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands)


The concept of the dialogical self is best understood in the light of the post-Cartesian view that the self is not unified, centralised and autonomous, but rather fundamentally formed by linguistic practices and our ability to compose narratives. As such, it is multivoiced and decentralised. This view of the self has provided many new possibilities of understanding diverse areas of human experience, ranging from the positioning of the individual in our contemporary, globalised and multicultural society, to the (re)construction of meaning in psychotherapy. It has proven to be of great epistemological relevance, in other words, but the theory of the dialogical self seems to have some far-reaching ontological corollaries as well. Ever since Hermans and Kempen’s elaborate introduction of the idea in The Dialogical Self – Meaning as Movement (1993), doubts against its ontological implications have been raised: although the ‘I’ is understood by these authors as freely moving in a dynamic field of dialogical relations, a notion of a single, authorial ‘Self’ still seems to be implied. We argue that this fundamental contradiction can be addressed by (re)establishing a dialogue with literary theory. The development of the concept of the dialogical self, after all, has been greatly influenced by Bakthin’s ideas of the polyphonic novel in relation to the (implied) author; and as a result, the methodology that is coupled with this concept abounds in notions that originate in literary studies. We believe that it is necessary to pursue this interdisciplinary investigation of the dialogical self even further and confront this concept with a fundamental (but often neglected) aspect of poetics, language and thought in general – the element of silence.

I as comic”- Unexplored position of the self

Jolanta Tomczuk (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)
According to Hermans’ theory of the dialogical self I-positions reflect points of view available to a person. The same event may be interpreted and evaluated in a different way from various points of view. The goal of this study is to show specificity of evaluation of a given life event from a particular point of view: I - as comic. The investigation was conducted by means of the Self-Confrontation Method by Hermans, adopted to the study. The participants were supposed to tell about eight events, to formulate valuations about them and to assess affects related to them. Then they were asked to reconstruct the valuations from a new position: I - as comic, and to assess affects related to these new valuations. A dialog between I - as comic and other positions was also investigated. After a few days, the participants were asked to assess affects related to the previous valuations. The changes of affective meanings of the valuations were described. The valuations were also examined on the angle of contents, related to affects and motivation.

Polyphonic narratives: Choice and articulation of identities

Carla Mouro & Paula Castro (ISCTE, Portugal)


This presentation aims at contributing to disclose the ways in which dialogues in the self bridge between different identities in polyphonic narratives (Hermans, Kempen & van Loon, 1992, Marková, 2003). Three narratives of personal experience in scientific - technician – community relationships during a project implementation are analysed. The narrators present their different strategies to deal with the images and relative statuses each group has and frame these strategies depending on whom are they talking to. We analyse how the choices of and the articulation between identities are justified in a dialogical way (Hermans, 2001, 2003), several times through the dramatization of the other’s position and the reframing of the narrative topic (Koven, 2002). We will discuss how this dialogism is related to the emergence of a community of practices regarding project implementations through which the dynamic relations between the involved groups are tentatively explained and dealt with (Dewulf, Craps & Dercon, 2004).

18h30 – 19h30

Poster Session 1
Chair: Emily Abbey (Clark University, USA)

1. Action repertoire in patient’s narratives

Marc Luder (University of Zurich, Switzerland)


The JAKOB narrative analysis is a qualitative research tool for systematically analyzing patient’s narratives. It conceptualizes narratives as dramaturgically constructed linguistic productions and interprets these in reference to the unconscious conflict material of the narrator contained therein. The goal of the narrative analysis is to achieve a psychoanalytically oriented clinical conflict diagnosis. The narratives are extracted from transcripts, a linguistic analysis is performed, and the vocabulary is encoded according to predetermined categories of the JAKOB lexicon. Subsequent interpretation steps accomplish the qualitative analysis of a story. The project investigates the individual word use (lexical choice) of different subjects and is focused on the use of verbs, i.e. the actions done by the subject and sustained by the subject. The JAKOB coding system incorporates 93 action codes, subdivided into 5 dimensions. The following questions are investigated:

Is it possible to distinguish subjects according to their use of action codes and dimensions?

Is it possible to classify subjects into different groups according to their individual use of action codes or dimensions?

The results of the investigation provide a basis for future developments and enhancements of the JAKOB coding system.



2. Talking about voices II: Reflections about dialogical approaches within psychology

P. Petracchi, J. V. Fernandes, T. Ferreira, C. Cunha, L. Meira, I. D’Alte, A. Veríssimo & J. Salgado (ISMAI, Portugal)


Dialogical approaches to psychology, such as the dialogical self-theory, open new promising pathways for a different understanding of human psychological processes. As new frameworks, these kinds of perspectives also face challenges and demands. This work presents the reflections of our research group upon several concerns and “hot topics” within the dialogical self-theory and research. We briefly identify some theoretical questions (such as the dialogical understanding of individual agency and basic psychological processes) and methodological issues (e.g. how to depict and characterize the addressee). More than propose answers, we will try to contribute with generative questions that may foster a larger discussion.

3. A case of therapy of a battered women based in Life History Approach

Jesús Garcia-Martínez, Rafael Guerrero-Gómez & Carmen Tóvar-Sánchez (University of Seville, Spain)


This poster exemplifies a case of therapy of a battered woman. The subject is a rural Andalusian woman of a low educative level. Poster is designed with the format of a logic-decision tree. The therapeutic approach is based on:

a) The Life History Interview (McAdams, 1995) as the main way to work with the self-organization of identity

b) Narrative and cognitive techniques (internal dialogues, externalization, personal construct therapy) to produce changes in the identity.

c) Life episodes are used as points to search for useful and self-enhancement meanings that could serve to reconstruct the personal perspective of the woman.

The election of therapeutic techniques based on the life history data is detailed too.

4. Approach and avoidance: Interpersonal movements in object-relational narratives

Melinda Poharnok (Universitiy of Pecs, Hungary)


According to our hypothesis the patterns and changes of spatial relations of characters in object-relational narratives could be considered as an inherent structural characteristic of a narrative which has specific psychological meaning. The existence of an interpersonal or interactive space which is organised by the relation of the self to other/s is assumed. The ends of this space would be the self and the other, and their movements in relation to each other could be regarded as fundamental characteristic of their interpersonal relationship. A linguistic analyzer module was developed to operationalize and identify the „Approach -Avoidance“ movements in object-relational narratives. The outputs are Approach - and Avoidance codes linked the given text parts. We hypothesized that the higher incidence of Approach and Avoidance movements concurs with higher emotional lability and disturbances in affect regulation. The poster the validity tests of the module in clinical and non-clinical samples. In the non-clinical sample the validity test was made by comparing the output of computational Approach-Avoidance analysis of life-events narratives with the results of personality inquires and the Thematic Apperception Test. The results show that our presumptions about the relationship between interpersonal movements and relational- and affect regulation seem to be corroborated.

5. Impact of dialogical processes on individual creativity

Sergey R. Yagolkovsky (Moscow State University, Russia)


This study assessed how dialogical processes in idea-generating dyads affect the individual creativity. We analyzed the dynamics of particular parameters of participants’ creative performance: productivity (the amount of ideas), flexibility (the number of different semantic categories surveyed by a participant), and originality (uniqueness of ideas). The influence of the ideas exchange on these characteristics was examined in an idea exposure paradigm. We used two experimental conditions: 1) participants read stimulus ideas printed on the paper; 2) they were exposed to stimuli in conditions of the interactive communication in dyads. We also varied semantic characteristics of stimulus ideas. Experimental results showed that the ideas exchange in the conditions of mediated communication influences negatively the productivity and flexibility of participants’ creative performance. But this process affects positively the originality. The ideas sharing in the conditions of interactive dialogue enhances each of the three mentioned parameters of individual creativity. These differences can be explained partially by cognitive- emotional stimulation which takes place in dialogical processes.

6. Meanings through the transition to motherhood: I-positions before and after childbirth

Ana Patrícia Borges & Ana Cecília Bastos (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil)
During the transition to motherhood, childbirth is a marker, which entails the emergence of psychological novelty, culturally constrained. In the Brazilian context, the exceeding use of surgical procedures during the labor stands out. Although those interventions are sometimes justified, its high rate can be explained by relevant cultural changes related to a process of medicalization and to different I-positions women express towards childbirth and motherhood. A descriptive and exploratory case study was conducted with eight primiparous (eight women in their first delivery) whose age varied between 18 and 35. The interviews were done on the last trimester of pregnancy and on the first two months after the delivery and took as a starting point the participants´ questions on the subject of childbirth. The main findings identified different I-positions women assume concerning decision-making process and uncertainty inherent to the labor. The meaning-making process during pregnancy is immersed in a social, historical and cultural matrix and is deeply marked by motherhood as a hyper-generalized affective field. The participants´ narratives about pregnancy and delivery are heterogeneous and reveal the ambiguity of social representations on motherhood and other social roles women assume. Therefore, the transition to motherhood entails a complex interplay of self emergence and self denial.

7. Dialogical thinking and self discrepancies

Marcin Mlynarczyk (Catholic University Lublin, Poland)


The study presented on the poster describes the relation between dialogical thinking and self discrepancies. The notions of self discrepancies come from the theory of E.T. Higgins, who distinguishes three states of self: actual self, ideal self and ought self. Discrepancies between these states cause negative emotions, such as fear, threat, sadness, disappointment. The main variables are three types of thinking and solving problems (categorial, narrative and dialogical) as well as types and magnitudes of self discrepancies and their emotional outcomes. The experiment was conducted on a group of undergraduates with the use of three short stories activating possible discrepancies between selfs. The mode of understanding of those stories was imposed by three separate instructions: naming the advantages and disadvantages (categorial thinking), imagining how the story would continue (narrative thinking), imagining a conversation between two different points of view (dialogical thinking). The hypothesis is that self discrepancies and their negative emotional consequences would be reduced in the case of dialogical thinking. Preliminary data discussion will be presented.

8. Aging, culture and well-being: A Japanese/U.S. comparison

Mayumi Karasawa (Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Japan), Katherine B. Curhan (Harvard University, USA), Hazel Rose Markus (Stanford University, USA), Shinobu Kitayama (University of Michigan, USA) & Carol D. Ryff (University of Wisconsin, USA)
The purpose of the study was to investigate age differences in multiple aspects of psychological well-being in a sample of adults from Japan (N = 482) and the U.S. (N = 3,032). Prior U.S. findings have documented gains in hedonic well-being (more positive affect, less negative affect), but age decrements have been noted in aspects of eudaimonic well-being, particularly purpose in life and personal growth. Cultural differences in individualism and collectivism may, however, bear on these patterns, suggesting that interdependent cultures provide more benign contexts for growing old. Findings from this investigation provide partial support for this view – although U.S. respondents had higher scores on numerous hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being than Japanese respondents, age patterns revealed age increments in personal growth in Japan juxtaposed with age decrement in the U.S. Purpose in life showed downward age trajectories in both cultures, but the Japanese fared comparatively better in this domain as well. Hedonic well-being, in contrast showed similarly positive trajectories in both culture. The findings were also qualified by gender effects, sometimes favoring women, while other times favoring men.

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