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Rate of speech and emotional-cognitive regulation in the psychotherapeutic process: a pilot study

Marco Tonti, Omar C.G. Gelo
  • Marco Tonti
    Faculty of Psychotherapy Sciences, Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria
  • Omar C.G. Gelo
    Faculty of Psychotherapy Sciences, Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria; Department of History, Society e Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce,, Italy |


This study investigates the relationship between a client’s rate of speech (ROS) and emotional-cognitive regulation during a psychotherapy session. The ROS was measured in words per second on the timed transcript of a single session of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Emotional-cognitive regulation was assessed using the therapeutic cycles model on emotional tone (ET), abstraction (AB), and their combination in emotion-abstraction patterns (EAPs). The results were mostly consistent with our hypotheses and showed that: i) the ROS negatively correlated with the conjoined ET and AB; and ii) the ROS in the connecting EAP (high ET and high AB) was significantly lower than in other EAPs. The results support the hypothesis that a significant reduction in the client’s ROS may be a reliable marker of in-session change processes. Clinical implications and future developments are discussed.


Computer-assisted text analysis; Rate of speech; Therapeutic Cycles Model; Emotional-cognitive regulation; Psychotherapy process

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Submitted: 2016-07-05 15:38:53
Published: 2016-10-19 15:53:02
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Copyright (c) 2016 Marco Tonti, Omar C.G. Gelo

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