Synchrony in psychotherapy: A review and an integrative framework for the therapeutic alliance

Koole, Sander; Tschacher, Wolfgang (2016). Synchrony in psychotherapy: A review and an integrative framework for the therapeutic alliance. Frontiers in psychology, 7, p. 862. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00862

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During psychotherapy, patient and therapist tend to spontaneously synchronize their vocal pitch, bodily movements, and even their physiological processes. In the present article, we consider how this pervasive phenomenon may shed new light on the therapeutic relationship- or alliance- and its role within psychotherapy. We first review clinical research on the alliance and the multidisciplinary area of interpersonal synchrony. We then integrate both literatures in the Interpersonal Synchrony (In-Sync) model of psychotherapy. According to the model, the alliance is grounded in the coupling of patient and therapist's brains. Because brains do not interact directly, movement synchrony may help to establish inter-brain coupling. Inter-brain coupling may provide patient and therapist with access to another's internal states, which facilitates common understanding and emotional sharing. Over time, these interpersonal exchanges may improve patients' emotion-regulatory capacities and related therapeutic outcomes. We discuss the empirical assessment of interpersonal synchrony and review preliminary research on synchrony in psychotherapy. Finally, we summarize our main conclusions and consider the broader implications of viewing psychotherapy as the product of two interacting brains.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Tschacher, Wolfgang

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
500 Science
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1664-1078

Publisher:

Frontiers Research Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Wolfgang Tschacher

Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2017 10:47

Last Modified:

30 Apr 2017 02:20

Publisher DOI:

10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00862

PubMed ID:

27378968

Uncontrolled Keywords:

co-regulation; implicit emotion regulation; inter-brain coupling; interpersonal emotion regulation; interpersonal neural synchronization; interpersonal sychrony; linguistic alignment

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.94244

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/94244

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