The embodied listener: a dyadic case study of how therapist and patient reflect on the significance of therapist’s personal presence for the therapeutic change process
There is a need to understand more of the dyadic processes in therapy and how the therapist’s ways of being are experienced and reflected upon by both patient and therapist.
Objective: There is a need to understand more of the dyadic processes in therapy and how the therapist’s ways of being are experienced and reflected upon by both patient and therapist. The aim of this dyadic case study was to investigate how the therapist’s personal presence was perceived by the patient and the therapist as contributing to change.
Method: From a larger project on collaborative actions between patient and therapist, a dyadic case involving in-depth interviews of the therapist and patient was selected to examine the research question. Interpretative phenomenological analysis of four interviews with the therapist and one interview with the patient was conducted.
Results: The analyses indicated that the therapist’s way of being, as perceived by both therapist and patient, was expressed at a superordinate level through the concept of embodied listening, which was of particular help for the patient, and influenced by the therapist’s theoretical orientation, as well as being rooted in his own personal history. Three sub-themes emerged from the analysis, each illustrating how embodied listening contributed to the therapeutic relationship and process. Our findings flesh out how the underlying phenomena of emotional attunement, presence, and genuineness are observable in therapeutic encounters.
Psychotherapy Research, 2020, doi.org/10.1080/10503307.2020.1808728