Reflections on cross-cultural interviewing as a potentially therapeutic space

Lorena Georgiadou, Christina Sachpasidi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This performative presentation aims to contribute to conversations that examine qualitative research in connection to psychotherapy, as a process of meaning-making that has the potential to offer therapeutic opportunities for participants (e.g. Bondi, 2013). It has been argued that the invitation to openly share one’s story in the presence of an attentive listener during a research interview can reproduce a relationship and space akin to psychotherapy,where interviewees can revisit fragmented and formless thoughts, potentially articulating them anew and reaching new meanings. In our paper we explore the therapeutic potential of qualitative research interviews, as well as the challenges this approach to interviews can entail, through examples drawn from a recently conducted research project focusing on the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic African students transitioning into the University of Edinburgh. We argue that a conceptualisation of research interviews informed by principles that are closely linked to psychotherapy can be particularly suitable for cross-cultural research,especially when the topic under investigation is sensitive or associated with stigma or trauma.Through an understanding of knowledge generation that occurs during interviews as a situated, contextual and relational activity (e.g. Caretta 2015), we highlight the importance of reflexivity as both an ability to notice our personal responses to the world around us and an awareness of how our own social and cultural contexts as researchers impact on the ways we interpret the world (Etherington, 2004; Georgiadou, 2016).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019
EventEuropean Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2019 - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Feb 201915 Feb 2019


ConferenceEuropean Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2019
Abbreviated titleECQI2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • psychotherapy
  • cross-cultural research
  • reflexivity
  • qualitative interviews


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