Exploring implicit processes in adult psychotherapy through micro analysis of nonverbal synchrony

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Thesis Language: English


Supervisor: Özlem Bozo Özen


The goal of the study was to explore implicit processes in adult face-to-face psychotherapy sessions based on microanalysis of nonverbal synchrony between psychotherapy dyads. Sample 1 included 6 different same-sex gender psychotherapy dyads who were blind to the study's purposes. The total number of the short-term psychotherapy sessions in Sample 1 was 97. Sample 2 included 2 psychotherapy dyads both of whom therapist was the present researcher. Thirtyfour psychotherapy sessions were conducted in Sample 2. Coordinated interaction units were calculated by using Motion Energy Analysis (Ramseyer & Tschacher, 2011; Ramseyer, 2018). To see the patterns in nonverbal exchanges, the microanalysis (i.e., at second by second level) of these coordinated interaction units (n = 210 of total 250 in Sample 1, and n = 55 of total 111 in Sample 2) were coded by the researcher via content analysis on the communication dimensions. Content analysis results about self regulatory dynamics revealed focusing, facial emotional expressiveness, self-regulatory behaviors, displacements of selfobject needs, and affirmativeness categories. Interactive regulation dynamics were found as interactive regulations, interactive dysregulations, rupture, and repairs, and heightened affective moments. In terms of the outcomes of the psychotherapy processes, it can be stated that synchronizing head movements might help the therapists to enter into patients’ experience. This dissertation is the first study testing the analogy of mother-infant interactions with adult psychotherapy by combining computerized assessment of nonverbal head synchrony with content analysis of coordinated interaction units via video recordings of the sessions