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ERIC Number: EJ927411
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 80
ISSN: ISSN-0022-006X
Nonverbal Synchrony in Psychotherapy: Coordinated Body Movement Reflects Relationship Quality and Outcome
Ramseyer, Fabian; Tschacher, Wolfgang
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v79 n3 p284-295 Jun 2011
Objective: The authors quantified nonverbal synchrony--the coordination of patient's and therapist's movement--in a random sample of same-sex psychotherapy dyads. The authors contrasted nonverbal synchrony in these dyads with a control condition and assessed its association with session-level and overall psychotherapy outcome. Method: Using an automated objective video analysis algorithm (Motion Energy Analysis; MEA), the authors calculated nonverbal synchrony in (n = 104) videotaped psychotherapy sessions from 70 Caucasian patients (37 women, 33 men, mean age = 36.5 years, SD = 10.2) treated at an outpatient psychotherapy clinic. The sample was randomly drawn from an archive (N = 301) of routinely videotaped psychotherapies. Patients and their therapists assessed session impact with self-report postsession questionnaires. A battery of pre- and postsymptomatology questionnaires measured therapy effectiveness. Results: The authors found that nonverbal synchrony is higher in genuine interactions contrasted with pseudointeractions (a control condition generated by a specifically designed shuffling procedure). Furthermore, nonverbal synchrony is associated with session-level process as well as therapy outcome: It is increased in sessions rated by patients as manifesting high relationship quality and in patients experiencing high self-efficacy. Higher nonverbal synchrony characterized psychotherapies with higher symptom reduction. Conclusions: The results suggest that nonverbal synchrony embodies the patients' self-reported quality of the relationship and further variables of therapy process. This hitherto overlooked facet of therapeutic relationships might prove useful as an indicator of therapy progress and outcome. (Contains 2 figures and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A