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.
- The AER Lab welcomes Nigel Janssens and Chris RyanJanuary 30, 2020This month, Nigel Janssens and Chris Ryan started their work as PhD students on the NWO-funded project “The Rhythm of Relating”. Nigel will be examining brain-to-brain synchrony and Chris movement synchrony, bith in the context of emotional sharing. We are … Continue reading →
- IN SYNC: Harmonic Dissonance Workshop february 17-21@IDlab AmsterdamJanuary 30, 2020During the workshop, artist Matthias Oostrik and Suzanne Dikker will co-develop an art/science Brain-Computer-Interface environment with dance group ICK Amsterdam centered around interpersonal synchrony at the neural, physiological and movement level.
- Open Competition Grant awarded to Sander Koole in July 2019January 30, 2020NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities has awarded funding to 41 researchers in the NWO Open Competition – SSH. This instrument makes funding available for the best research proposals in the humanities and social sciences, without any thematic limitations. The … Continue reading →