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“It's Not Till You Actually See It You Believe It”: How Therapy Recordings Can Make a Difference for Clients

Wendy Talbot

Centre for Health & Social Practice, Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), Waikato, New Zealand.

The author acknowledges Alice, Anne, and MJ. Excerpts from their personal stories are presented in this article. Thanks to Wintec Research Office for providing valuable editorial support.

Address correspondence to Wendy Talbot Ph.D., MNZAC, Academic Staff Member, Centre for Health and Social Practice, Wintec, Private Bag 3036, Waikato Mail Centre, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand. E-mail:


The effectiveness of using recordings of therapy sessions for client self-witnessing is not a new idea. However, understanding how recordings contribute to identity development has not been widely discussed or documented. This understanding has relevance for therapists employing therapeutic practices that seek to position clients well for rich reflection and development. This practice account discusses an identity shift for a client that occurred after listening to recordings of her therapy sessions. It considers the influence of recordings in that shift. Potential developments for the therapeutic relationship are also considered, including repositioning for clients, the benefits of client-initiated inquiry, and impact on power relations. The article advocates for the use of recordings for client witnessing and reflection and invites therapists to consider the possibilities of incorporating client-initiated inquiry and therapist-initiated inquiry.