What Can Be Learned From Couple Research: Examining Emotional Co-Regulation Processes in Face-to-Face Interactions

A crucial component of successful counseling and psychotherapy is the dyadic emotion co-regulation process between patient and therapist which unfolds moment-to-moment during therapy sessions. The major reason for the disappointing progress in understanding this process is the lack of appropriate methods to assess subjectively experienced emotions continuously during therapy sessions without disturbing the natural flow of the interaction. The resulting inability has forced the field to focus on patients’ overall emotion ratings at the end of each session with limited predictive value of the dyadic interplay between patient and therapist’s emotional states within each session. The current tutorial demonstrates how couple research – confronted with a comparable problem – has overcome this issue by (i) developing a video-based retrospective self-report assessment method for individuals’ continuous state emotions without undermining the dyadic interaction and (ii) using a validated statistical tool to analyze the dynamical process during a dyadic interaction. We show how to assess emotion data continuously, and how to unravel self-regulation and co-regulation processes using a Latent Differential Equation Modeling approach. Finally, we discuss how this approach can be applied in counseling psychology and psychotherapy to test basic theoretical assumptions about the co-creation of emotions despite the conceptual differences between couple dyads and therapist-patient dyads. The present method aims to inspire future research activities examining systematic real-time processes between patients and therapists.


  • 10_JCP_special_issue.docx

    size: 62.5 KB | mime_type: application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document | date: 2021-02-27


Work Title What Can Be Learned From Couple Research: Examining Emotional Co-Regulation Processes in Face-to-Face Interactions
Open Access
  1. Peter Hilpert
  2. Timothy Brick
  3. Flückiger Christoph
  4. Matthew Vowels
  5. Eva Ceulemans
  6. peter kuppens
  7. Laura Sels
License CC BY 4.0 (Attribution)
Work Type Article
  1. American Psychological Association
Publication Date 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1037/cou0000416
Deposited February 27, 2021




This resource is currently not in any collection.

Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Creator Peter Hilpert
  • Added Creator Timothy Brick
  • Added Creator Flückiger Christoph
  • Added Creator Matthew Vowels
  • Added Creator Eva Ceulemans
  • Added Creator peter kuppens
  • Added Creator Laura Sels
  • Added 10_JCP_special_issue.docx
  • Updated License Show Changes
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
  • Published
  • Updated