The Added Value of Studying Embodied Responses in Couple Therapy Research: A Case Study

Aarno Laitila, Berta Vall, Markku Penttonen, Anu Karvonen, Virpi Liisa Kykyri, Valeri Tsatsishvili, Jukka Kaartinen, Jaakko Seikkula

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts

13 Cites (Scopus)


This article reports on the added value of embodied responses identified through sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity in couple therapy research. It focuses on moments of change and the timing of therapeutic interventions or therapeutic moves in a couple therapy session. The data for this single-case study comprise couple therapy process videotapes recorded in a multi-camera setting, and measurements of participants’ SNS activity. The voluntary participants were a marital couple in their late thirties and two middle-aged male psychotherapists. The division into topic segments showed how the key issue of seeking help, which was found to comprise three separate components, was repeatedly dealt with in the session. SNS activity showed different degrees of synchronization between the couple, between the therapists, and between the couple and therapists during the dialogue pertaining to these three components. The issue of timing emerged as a complex, even ambivalent, phenomenon. Arousal in the therapists was in line with their therapeutic activity, whereas in the clients it was more anticipatory. The approach used here rendered visible some of the intensity that therapeutic dialogue can generate when dealing with issues of relationship change in the couple context and showed how this intensity can be dialogically regulated in the therapeutic system.

Idioma originalAnglès
Pàgines (de-a)685-697
Nombre de pàgines13
RevistaFamily Process
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 de set. 2019


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