Underlying Cognitive Mechanisms Associated With the Emotional Work: Analysis of Depressive Patients´ Verbal Expressions
The narrative of depressed patients is characterized by the type of content verbalized and the cognitive processes involved. The work of contents associated with the patient´s emotional experience during the conversation involves 3 communicative patterns (CPs) used to work on emotional contents during change episodes (CEs): affective exploration, attunement and resignification (Valdés, Krause, Tomicic, & Espinosa, 2012). The objective of the study was to analyze patients´ and therapists´ CPs and verbalized words to determine the underlying cognitive mechanisms (cause, insight, tentative and certainty) involved in the work of emotional contents during CEs which were identified in 2 psychodynamic therapies in Santiago, Chile. The verbal expressions were analyzed using the Therapeutic Activity Coding System (Valdés, Tomicic, Pérez, & Krause, 2010) and the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (Pennebaker, Francis, & Booth, 2001). The results demonstrate that cognitive mechanisms play an important role in the process of change, depending on the CP used by the speaker. Therapy promotes a constructive reasoning in which patients eventually adopt some linguistic structures verbalized by their therapists when using the affective resignification pattern.