Beyond the Words: How non-verbal interplay can deepen the therapeutic alliance

Apr 5 2017
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
William James College, Newton Campus Map Unavailable

Overall Learning Objectives:

Learning to listen is a skill we learn in graduate school, but how many clinicians are taught to listen with their eyes? Learn how non-verbal interplay between patient and therapist appears to deepen the power of the spoken word. In this workshop, you’ll watch video excerpts from live psychotherapy sessions and receive research tools you can use in your own practice. You’ll learn how to explore non-verbal interplay to gain additional information and meaning to make informed interventions with your clients.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to search for para-verbal clues that underly the psychotherapy interchange
  • Learn how to include non-verbal observations and interventions into your work
  • Learn how to evaluate whether non-verbal interplay has increased the effectiveness of their treatment
  • Learn how research tools can improve your clinical skills

Learning Methods:

  • Video-segments of psychotherapy sessions
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Achievement of Therapeutic Objectives (ATOS) Rating Scale
  • Achievement of Therapeutic Objectives (ATOS-Therapist) Rating Scale
  • Accessibility and Congruency Scale
  • Control and Mastery Scale


  • Bhatia, M., Gil Rodriguez, M., Fowler, D., Godin, J., Drapeau, M. & McCullough, L. (2009). Desensitization to Conflicted Feelings: Using the ATOS to measure early change in a single-case Affect Phobia Therapy treatment.  Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 1, 31-38.
  • Donvan, J., Osborn, K, Rice, S., Paraverbal Communication: Beyond the Words, in press
  • McCullough, L., Kuhn, N, Andrews, S., Wolf, J.,Kaplan, A., & Lanza Hurley, C., Treating Affect Phobia: A Manual for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, 2003
  • McCullough, L., Bhatia, M., Ulvenes, P., Berggraf, L., Osborn, K., (2011), Learning how to rate video-recorded therapy sessions: A practical guide for trainees and advanced clinicians. Psychotherapy, Vol 48(2), Jun 2011, 127-137
  • Panksepp, J. (2004) Affective Nueroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions
  • Ryum, T., Store-Valen, J., Svartberg, M., Stiles, T. C., & McCullough, L. (2014). Factor analysis of the Achievement of Therapeutic Objectives Scale (ATOS) in short-term dynamic psychotherapy and cognitive therapy. Psychological Assessment, 26, 925-934. doi: 10.1037/a0036570
  • Schanche, E., Nielsen, G. H., McCullough, L., Valen, J., & Mykletun, A. (2010). Training graduate students as raters in psychotherapy process research: Reliability of ratings with the Achievement of Therapeutic Objectives Scale (ATOS). Nordic Psychology, 62, 4-20. doi:10.1027/1901- 2276/a000013
  • Schanche, E., Stiles, T. C., McCullough, L., Svartberg, M., & Nielsen, G. H. (2011). The relationship between activating affects, inhibitory affects, and self-compassion in patients with Cluster C personality disorders. Psychotherapy, 48, 293-303. doi:10.1037/a0022012
  • Stern et al (1998), The Process of Therapeutic Change Involving Implicit Knowledge: Some Implications of Developmental Observations for Adult Psychotherapy. Infant Mental Health Journal, 19, 300-308
  • Valen, J., Ryum, T., Svartberg, M., Stiles, T. C., & McCullough, L. (2011). The Achievement of Therapeutic Objectives Scale: Interrater reliability and sensitivity to change in short-term dynamic psychotherapy and cognitive therapy. Psychological Assessment, 23, 848-855. doi:10.1037/a0023649


Jim Donovan, video segments

Kristin Osborn, video segments

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