The Capacity for Self-Observation in Psychotherapy

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Sammanfattning: The phenomena of self-awareness and self-observation are thought by many to be uniquely human qualities, and questions about how they develop have engaged philosophers and spiritual thinkers throughout history. More recently these issues have come to interest psychologists, psychotherapists, and researchers of diverse clinical psychology orientations as well. This dissertation explored conceptual issues and empirical measurement methods related to self-awareness and self-observation capacities. The four studies approached this from different angles: Study I used mainly qualitative methods to study post-treatment processes related to continuing clinical improvement after termination of long-term psychotherapeutic treatments. The main finding was that self-analysis seemed to be related to continued improvement after ending of therapy, but contrary to our hypothesis there was no difference between psychotherapy and the more intensive psychoanalysis in this regard. Study II tested the measurement of mindfulness by self report in a sample of experienced Buddhist meditators. The findings confirmed relationships between mindfulness and psychological well-being, but raised doubt about the instruments’ sensitivity to change. Study III compared different methods for measuring theoretically related concepts of self-observation: mindfulness, mentalization, and affect consciousness. This study showed surprisingly little common variance between affect consciousness and mentalization/mindfulness. Finally, the results of Study IV showed that in patients diagnosed with clinical depression, mentalization about depressive symptoms predicted aspects of the initial psychotherapy process better than mentalization about attachment. Taken together, these studies show the complexity of the phenomenon of self-observation and the corresponding complexity of research on it. The relationships between variables related to self-observation, their measurements, and their relationships to the psychotherapy process seem more complex than would be expected from current theories. A model for types of self-observation in the process of change in psychotherapy is tentatively proposed.