Research On Cognitive Affective Processes

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Intersubjectivity refers to the shared understanding between individuals (Göncü, 1993). Research shows cognitive-affective processes help to develop intersubjectivity (Tronick & Cohn, 1989). Similarly, in psychotherapeutic relationships, cognitive-affective processes are the building blocks to the therapeutic alliance. A psychotherapeutic alliance constitutes the shared client-psychotherapist relationship marked by mutual respect, caring and shared understanding of therapeutic goals. If intersubjectivity is nurtured in the client-psychotherapist relationship, this can lead to increased mutual understanding and goal achievement (as defined by the client) in psychotherapy. In order to show that psychotherapeutic alliances can be fortified by applying intersubjectivity to psychotherapeutic relationships, this paper is divided into four parts. First the literature review opens with the origin and definition of intersubjectivity, including sections on communication, affect, prolepsis and zone of proximal development (ZPD). The second section will look at applications to psychotherapy. The third section will offer implications to the field and finally concluding remarks will close with societal shifts that must be made to foster intersubjectivity in psychotherapy.
Defining Intersubjectivity
Mother-infant interaction provides the starting point for intersubjectivity (Trevarthen, 1979). Research has shown that infants as young as 3 months can shift focus and visual
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