Shedding light on the effects of supportive techniques on nonverbal synchrony and their moderators in psychotherapy for depression

Keren Deres-Cohen, Ilana Lipsitz-Odess, Hadar Fisher, Fabian T. Ramseyer, Wolfgang Lutz, Sigal Zilcha-Mano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Accumulating research demonstrates the importance of utilizing supportive techniques in psychotherapy; however, little is known about therapeutic processes that are set in motion following the use of supportive techniques. The present study examined the effects of supportive techniques on nonverbal synchrony, both at the sample level and at the individual differences level. Method: The sample consisted of 86 patients from a randomized controlled trial for treatment of depression. Supportive techniques were rated by patients and therapists after every session, and nonverbal synchrony was quantified by motion energy analysis (MEA) for each session. The ability of supportive techniques to predict subsequent nonverbal synchrony was examined using polynomial regression and response surface analysis. Results: The findings suggest that, at the sample level, greater use of supportive techniques was a significant predictor of subsequent higher levels of nonverbal synchrony. At the individual differences level, this effect was significant for patients with low levels of depression severity and personality disorders, yet not significant for patients with high levels. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that greater use of supportive techniques in treatment may facilitate a process that manifests as higher levels of synchrony, especially for patients with lower levels of personality disorders and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-483
Number of pages14
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [grant number 186/15]; and the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Psychotherapy Research.

Keywords

  • nonverbal synchrony
  • psychotherapy process
  • supportive techniques
  • supportive-expressive treatment
  • therapeutic relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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