Abstract: Coifman and Disabato

Emotion dynamics as a psychotherapy process in community adults

Karin Coifman, Ph.D., Psychological Sciences, Kent State University

David Disabato, Ph.D., Psychological Sciences, Kent State University

Psychotherapy is one of the primary treatments for psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Given the central role of emotions in mental health, understanding how psychotherapy changes emotional experiences could lead to improved treatment. While past studies have investigated the frequency of daily emotions during psychotherapy, little research has explored the role of more complex emotion dynamics: how emotions change from one hour to the next or how emotions relate to behaviors in real time (e.g., positive emotions and health behaviors). In this study, we follow adults in the community receiving psychotherapy and track their emotion dynamics over time. We will use smartphone apps to measure people’s emotional experiences in their daily lives as well as their reactions to psychotherapy sessions. This research will inform new developments in psychotherapy as well as direct therapists what emotional experiences to target in treatment.