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Small talk in clinical interactions

The role of small talk in general clinical contexts has received limited attention despite it being a focus of other domains of research (i.e., the analysis of small talk as it occurs in general service encounters e.g. hairdressing salons, travel agencies etc.). Although the value of this type of talk is recognised in some speech and language therapy contexts, little systematic analysis of its emergence in such interactions has been undertaken. This ongoing study focuses on the identification of small talk in interactions between speech and language therapists and adults with communication disorders associated with stroke and with chronic schizophrenia. Tracking the emergence of small talk in these clinical interactions demonstrates its positive influence on the relational and transactional needs of the therapeutic context.

For further information contact: Dr Irene Walsh