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Psychology in the News

Joe Miles and Keri Frantell awarded APF research grant

Joe Miles and his graduate student Keri Frantell have been awarded the 2017 Division 49 Group Psychotherapy Grant from the American Psychological Foundation for $1,950. Their study will examine non-conscious social signals in a psychotherapy group to examine how these signals can provide insight into group processes (e.g., engagement, empathy, interpersonal learning) and group member outcomes.

The abstract is below. 

Nonverbal social signals play an important role in group psychotherapy. Even though the importance of nonverbal and unconscious social signals in group psychotherapy has been acknowledged, little research exists on their impact on group member outcomes. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to examine nonverbal, unconscious social signals in a psychotherapy group, and their relationship to session-level and overall outcomes. Specifically, we will use an innovative technology, Sociometric Badges, to collect data on communication patterns, expressions of empathy, openness to influence from others, and interest or excitement in a semester-long interpersonal process psychotherapy group at our university counseling center. Sociometric Badges proposed use infrared sensors to record face-to-face interaction, microphones to capture features of speech, and accelerometers to collect body movement data. As such, they “capture what an observer or cross-sectional survey might miss, contributing to a more accurate understanding of group dynamics,” (Kim et al., 2012, p. 412) and potentially could provide a new source of data through which to better understand group psychotherapy. We will use Sociometric Badges to examine how nonverbal and unconscious social signals relate to the development of the group climate, and to overall outcomes as measured by the Commission for Counseling and Psychological Services measure used in our counseling center. 

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