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What Does Therapist Presence Look Like in the Therapeutic Encounter? A Rational-Empirical Study of the Verbal and Non-Verbal Behavioural Markers of Presence

What Does Therapist Presence Look Like in the Therapeutic Encounter? A Rational-Empirical Study of the Verbal and Non-Verbal Behavioural Markers of Presence

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Title: What Does Therapist Presence Look Like in the Therapeutic Encounter? A Rational-Empirical Study of the Verbal and Non-Verbal Behavioural Markers of Presence
Author: Colosimo, Kenneth Andrew
Abstract: Humanistic approaches to psychotherapy recognize therapeutic presence as necessary to sharpening one’s attunement to ongoing dynamics of intra and interpersonal processes, promoting empathy, and developing a strong working alliance. Despite its purported value, however, little empirical research has explored the nature of presence in the psychotherapeutic encounter. Following a task analytic methodology, the current study used both rational and empirical strategies to investigate how highly present therapists manifest presence behaviourally. Results from the present study show that therapist presence is linked to a constellation of verbal and non-verbal markers that reflect four modes of expression, which were named ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘open’, and ‘communion’. The final model included prominent behaviours such as poised body posture, unwavering eye gaze, responsive nodding and facial expressiveness, and vitality in face, body, and vocal tone. Implications for the development of an observational measure are discussed, along with limitations and suggestions for future research.
Subject: Psychology
Keywords: I-Thou
Presence
Therapy
Relational depth
Connection
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/27553
Supervisor: Pos, Alberta
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Program: Psychology (Functional Area: Clinical Psychology)
Exam date: 2013-09-17
Publish on: 2014-07-09

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