Vocal synchrony in psychotherapy

Catherine M. Reich, Jeffrey S. Berman, Rick Dale, Heidi M. Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Matching of nonverbal behaviors in conversation, known as synchrony, is sometimes shown to predict the rapport between conversational partners. The aim of this study was to examine whether synchrony in vocal pitch between psychotherapists and clients is similarly associated with rapport. Recordings of psychotherapy sessions were analyzed to extract the synchrony in pitch of therapist and client speech, and these synchrony measures were then related to measures of the therapy relationship and treatment outcome. Results indicated that pitch synchrony did occur in the sessions but higher levels of synchrony were related to poorer therapeutic relationships and greater distress. These findings suggest that the vocal pitch of therapists and their clients may be of importance in understanding the psychotherapy interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-494
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

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