Psychoanalytic therapy and narrative research interviewing: some reflections
Evidence and practice    

Psychoanalytic therapy and narrative research interviewing: some reflections

Philip John Archard Mental health practitioner, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Leicester, England
Michelle O’Reilly Associate professor, University of Leicester, College of Social Sciences, Leicester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To critically assess parallels between research interviewing and psychotherapeutic practice

  • To understand how research interviews can be conceptualised and practised in a way that is informed by principles derived from psychoanalytic therapy

  • To recognise some of the limits and possibilities in using interpretive comments and feeding back analyses with a psychoanalytically informed research approach

Background This article focuses on approaches to qualitative research interviewing that draw direct inspiration from psychoanalytic therapy. The reflective discussion piece provides a critical spotlight on this method to promote reflection and ethical application.

Aim To provide clarity regarding the meaning of psychoanalytically informed, psycho-social research and the interpretive nature of qualitative interviews and of therapy, and to reflect on nurse researchers’ partiality for using quasi-dynamic interpretative comments and the sharing of formulations in interviews.

Discussion The authors review relevant literature, and comment on the apprehension and uncertainty researchers may experience with this type of research approach.

Conclusion Researchers should consider how they conduct themselves as interviewers and what to share of the analysis of participants’ accounts based on the specifics of the research, including their or their team’s experience of conducting psychotherapy and their and participants’ expectations about what may be therapeutic about interviews.

Implications for practice Psychoanalytically informed research interviewing should be used in a reflective way by nurse researchers with attention paid to the limitations and possibilities of parallels between psychotherapeutic and research interview dialogue.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1844

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Archard PJ, O’Reilly M (2022) Psychoanalytic therapy and narrative research interviewing: some reflections. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1844

Published online: 16 August 2022

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