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Electroencephalographic analysis: A methodology for evaluating psychotherapeutic process

Authors
Journal
Psychiatry Research
0165-1781
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0165-1781(80)90024-4
Keywords
  • Psychotherapy
  • Clinical Sensitivity
  • Lateralization
  • Hemisphere
  • Alpha Rhythm
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract The relationship between individual differences in listening style and clinical sensitivity was studied. Listening style is conceptualized as extending from a critical, analytic, focused attitude to a holistic, intuitive, free-floating attitude. We studied the listening styles of psychiatric residents while they listened to a tape recording, a 17-minute fragment of a psychotherapy that had been rated by a panel of experts as containing 22 cues reflecting the patient's concern with termination of treatment. The ability of clinicians to identify these cues is our experimental measure of clinical sensitivity. Our measures of listening style include eyeblink rate, memory for high-imagery words, and electroencephalogram recorded from electrodes over the right and left temporal areas, all measured while psychiatric residents listened to the tape. Results suggested that an abundance of alpha indicates a readiness on the part of the listener to process clinically relevant information. In addition, a listening style with engagement of the right hemisphere predicted clinical sensitivity. These findings suggest ways to study how the skilled clinician “tunes” himself empathically to his patient.

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