Exploring the Therapeutic Family Intervention of Commendations: Insights From Research

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Offered in this article are interpretations that emerged in a qualitative, interpretive study focused on the family intervention called a “commendation.” The tradition of philosophical hermeneutics informs and shapes the analysis of the data. Research participants include a heterosexual couple and a nurse who engaged in therapeutic conversations focused on difficulties with Internet pornography. Data sources include videotapes of clinical sessions, documentation, and research interviews. Isolated segments of clinical videotape are shared with the couple to prompt their memory of commending practices that emerged in clinical sessions. Commendations are not experienced by this couple as gentle and warm but instead as extremely provocative, albeit constructive. This study illuminates the complex, contextual nature of commending practice and suggests that the noticing of strengths and resources contains much more than the spoken word.

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