The Significance of Silent Moments in Creating Words for the Not-Yet-Spoken Experiences in Threat of Divorce


In the context of couple therapy involving the threat of divorce, the study examined the significance of silent moments for arriving at words for the not-yet-spoken experiences. It also examined whether interactional and embodied synchrony occurred during such silent moments. A mixed method analysis was conducted, focusing on the therapeutic dialogue, psychophysiological data (the Autonomic Nervous System, ANS), and the participants’ thoughts and feelings during individual Stimulated Recall interviews. Two episodes containing several silent moments were analyzed. The analysis indicated that during the silent moments the participants continued the therapeutic conversations through their entire bodies. Moreover, the conversation on fundamental issues such as the permanence of the relationship and the possible separation of family members continued after the silent moments. Synchrony was observed between the participants during the silent moments, particularly in the prosody of the speech and in the ANS reactions. In the ANS data, breathing emerged as the most prominent and interesting measure, providing new information on bodily reactions during silent moments. We suggest that silent moments played a key role in arriving at words for experiences that had not been spoken of; they promoted the rhythm of the conversation, and allowed the conversation to move forward, giving the participants a chance to react and to think. These are aspects, which can be seen as necessary for the discussion of fundamental issues.

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Itävuori, S. , Korvela, E. , Karvonen, A. , Penttonen, M. , Kaartinen, J. , Kykyri, V. and Seikkula, J. (2015) The Significance of Silent Moments in Creating Words for the Not-Yet-Spoken Experiences in Threat of Divorce. Psychology, 6, 1360-1372. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.611133.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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