Reproduction of the sociality of young middle class men and women in therapist-client relationship in Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2020

Student: Yiğit Akçin



Therapeutic practice became popular in the last 20 years especially among younger generations in Turkey. While concept of “therapy culture” was at the forefront of the analyses, sociality of the direct relationship between therapist and client was understudied in sociological literature. Based on in-depth interviews with four therapists and nine young therapy clients, this study aims to understand how therapeutic practice and the social is entrenched within their dyadic relationship. By taking therapeutic experience of mostly white-collar clients between age of 23 and 35, the study asks how sociality of young middle class men and women, in Turkey, is reproduced in therapy. The study shows that therapeutic practice has three main functions that can be distinguished based on the legitimacy of the pain that clients endure. In the case of young middle classes, the function of providing support for the “weak” and “unfit” come to the fore while therapists and clients construct the clinic as a safe zone in which clients can express their vulnerability. Sociality of the clients become visible in recognition of oppressors within the social surrounding of client and therapists’ attentiveness to resources available to client before and during the process. This sociality helps to form a partnership between therapist and client, while another facilitating factor is similarity of their class backgrounds. Consequently, this partnership provide the main reference for the self-comfort that client would like to develop outside the clinic. Furthermore, referred vulnerabilities within this zone are experienced differently along the lines of gender.