Paper published

imgresSynchrony in Psychotherapy: A Review and an Integrative Framework for the Therapeutic Alliance

Koole, S. L., & Tschacher, W. (2016). Synchrony in psychotherapy: A review and an integrative framework for understanding the therapeutic aliance. Frontiers in Psychology7, 862. (Full text)

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.

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Media Appearance

npo_angerLotte Veenstra‘s research on anger management featured on Dutch national television: ‘Dus ik ben… boos’ at NPO2 with philosopher Stine Jensen.

Watch it here

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Visiting Researcher!

Logo_FavIcon_v2In Spring 2016, Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab will be hosting two Visiting Researchers.

Yuhei Urano is a Phd student at the University of Tokyo (Japan). He will be visiting us from April to June.

Prof. Dr. Veronika Brandstätter  from University of Zürich (Switzerland) will be visiting us in June/July.

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Excellent Dissertation prize

uni_trier_logoMonischa Chatterjee’s dissertation won an Award for Excellent Dissertations at the University of Trier. We would like to congratulate her!

You can find more information here.

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ERC Proof of Concept!

logo_ercThe European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Proof of Concept grant to Sander Koole for developing an anger management game for hand-held devices (e.g. smartphones and tablets). This new start-up will explore the market and examine the effects scientifically. The 18-month project will be held in collaboration with Prof. Heleen Riper. The research team will consist of a commercial manager, a programmer and a researcher. For general info, the press release is here.

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Visiting Researchers!

Logo_FavIcon_v2 In Fall 2015, Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab wil be hosting two Visiting Researchers.

Tobias Maldei, MSc. is a Phd Student at the University of Trier. He is doing a joint degree with VU Amsterdam. During his stay, he will work on intuitive decision-making.

Ringailė Slapšinskaitė, BA. is a recent graduate from Vytautas Magnus University. She received the Erasmus Internship Grant which is given to promising students to develop specific skills within their field. During her stay, she will work on the benefits of attentive reading among people with alexithymia.

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VU chair on ‘Emotion Regulation’

Sander Koole benoemd tot hoogleraar Klinische Psychologie*

Eerste leerstoel bij de nieuwe faculteit der Gedrags- en Bewegingswetenschappen

Sander Koole 140 x 84_tcm108-458284Per 1 juli 2015 is Sander Koole benoemd tot hoogleraar Klinische Psychologie met als opdracht in het bijzonder het onderwerp ‘emotieregulatie’. Deze benoeming is een bevestiging van zijn bijzondere en baanbrekende werk, onder andere als oprichter van het Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab.

Het onderzoek van Sander Koole richt zich op de vraag hoe mensen bewust of onbewust hun emoties proberen te controleren. Daarbij onderzoekt hij niet alleen psychologische strategieën zoals positief denken of over je gevoelens praten, maar ook lichamelijke strategieën zoals je lichaamshouding aanpassen, zachte aanraking of een wandeling maken door de natuur.

In 2011 ontving Koole een prestigieuze Consolidator Grant van de European Research Council voor zijn vernieuwende onderzoek naar belichaamde emotieregulatie. Met behulp van deze subsidie richtte Koole het Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab op, waar hij met 12 medewerkers onderzoek verricht naar uiteenlopende aspecten van emotieregulatie. “Bijna alle psychologische klachten hebben op de een of andere manier te maken met een verstoorde emotieregulatie”, vertelt Koole. “Door meer inzicht te krijgen in emotieregulatie hopen we mensen beter te kunnen helpen om hun psychologische problemen te overwinnen.”

Sander Koole behaalde zijn Master (cum laude) aan de Universiteit van Groningen en zijn doctorstitel in Psychologie (cum laude) aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Sinds 2012 is hij werkzaam bij de afdeling Klinische Psychologie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam en directeur van het Amsterdam Emotion Regulation Lab.


*Original article is published in VU University website.

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SSM Conference!

DSC00547The symposium titled, ”Thirty years of research on action versus state orientation: A tribute to Julius Kuhl” is held at The 8th Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Motivation (SSM) on May 21, 2015 in New York. Sander Koole was present at the symposium for his work on the same topic.

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APS Convention!

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 08.35.38The symposium ” Minding the Body: The New Science of Interoceptive Awareness” is held on 24th of May, 2015 at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Convention in New York.

The symposium chairs were Caroline Schlinkert and Sander Koole, and the contributers were Manos Tsakiris, Roy Salomon en Sahib Khalsa.

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Paper Published!


imgresA theory of social thermoregulation in human

IJzerman, H., Coan, J. A., Wagemans, F. A. M., Missler, M. A., Van Beest, I., Lindenberg, S. M., & Tops, M. (2015). A theory of social thermoregulation in human primates. Frontiers in Psychology. (Full text)



Beyond breathing, the regulation of body temperature—thermoregulation—is one of the most pressing concerns for many animals. A dysregulated body temperature has dire consequences for survival and development. Despite the high frequency of social thermoregulation occurring across many species, little is known about the role of social thermoregulation in human (social) psychological functioning. We outline a theory of social thermoregulation and reconsider earlier research on people’s expectations of their social world (i.e., attachment) and their prediction of the social world. We provide support and outline a research agenda that includes consequences for individual variation in self-regulatory strategies and capabilities. In our paper, we discuss physiological, neural, and social processes surrounding thermoregulation. Emphasizing social thermoregulation in particular, we appeal to the economy of action principle and the hierarchical organization of human thermoregulatory systems. We close with future directions of a crucial aspect of human functioning: the social regulation of body temperature.



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