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January 2022

Emotional experience and facial behavior during the psychotherapeutic process and its relation to treatment outcome: A pilot study

Author(s): Anstadt, T., Ullrich, B., Krause, R., Buchheim, P.

Journal/Book: Psychother Res. 1996; 6: 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Guilford Press. 198-212.

Abstract: This study examined emotionality and affective exchange during psychotherapeutic treatments by investigating how these processes are related to each other and to treatment outcome. Facial expressions of emotion and its temporal sequence were described using the Emotional Facial Action Coding System (EMFACS) for two videotaped brief psychoanalytic treatments, a successful one and a therapeutic failure. Patient and therapist affective experience were measured with the Differentielle Affekt-Skala (DAS). High correlations were found between facial expressions of emotion and affective experience. Some correlations were the same in both dyads, but most were dyad-specific. Furthermore, aspects of facial behavior and the interaction partner's responses were both good predictors of affective experience. interpretation of the meaning of facial behavior and the measurement of affective experience provides insights into the nature of the psychotherapeutic process and its relation to success and failure. The two treatments differed in their network of facial behavior and affective experience, with the successful therapist reacting complementarily and the less successful therapist responding reciprocally to the patient's behavior.

Note: Article J Merten, Univ Saarland, D-6600 Saarbrucken, Germany

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