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English Summaries (01/2019)

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Sampo Mutka, Saija Ruotanen, Aarno Laitila & Katri Kanninen

How novice therapists convey empathy in therapeutic interaction

Empathy has a central role in facilitating therapeutic change, but its actual forms in a therapeutic context have been rarely studied. The aim of this paper was to explore how novice therapists express empathy during psychotherapy sessions, and to examine the ways in which successful and failed expressions of empathy shape the positions of the participants and how the therapeutic process unfolds on a microanalytic level. The material consisted of recorded short-term cognitive-analytic therapy processes by psychology students filmed in 2012–2013. Both therapists had one client. The recorded duration of both processes was approximately 20 hours, circa 40 in total. One of the therapists was a female, the other one a male. The analysis was performed using elements from both discursive psychology and conversation analysis. The microanalytic level of detail made it possible to examine the unfolding of the psychotherapeutic process and empathic expressions one utterance at a time. Changes in the positions of the participants were examined in relatively short sequences. In this study empathy appears as a multi-faceted phenomena, which appears on different levels simultaneously; it can manifest itself through cognitive perception and acknowledgement, affective participation or as a shared experience. Our results suggest that novice therapists express empathy in different ways that affect the clients’ positions in therapeutic-dialogical interaction. As a result, expressed empathy can change how clients position themselves in respect to their problems. 

Keywords: novice therapists, empathy, dialogism, positions


Kati Peltonen, Mila Gustavsson-Lilius, Minna Parkkila, Tuula Mentula, Johanna Stenberg & Erja Poutiainen

Psychometric properties of the Questionnaire of Learning and Mental Health Problems (KOMO)

Difficulties in learning and mental health problems increase the risk of marginalization. Studies have shown that the difficulties mentioned often occur simultaneously. Early identification of problems and their absence will allow favorable development in youth and facilitate access to employment. Easy-to-use screening methods are needed to identify these problem areas. This study examines the psychometric properties, validity and reliability of the Finnish KOMO Questionnaire (the Questionnaire of Learning and Mental Health Problems) developed in 2014–2017. KOMO is a method for simultaneously self-assessing learning and mental problems using 38 items. Data were collected from 643 young people at risk of unemployment to examine the psychometric properties of the method. The participants were 16–35 years old (M 21.10, SD 2.30) female (n = 336), male (n = 303) or other sex (n = 4). According to the explorative factor analysis, the structure of the KOMO Questionnaire seemed to have five factors and it was internally coherent. Factors were named Experienced mood and anxiety, Perceived problems in reading and verbal skills, Perceived problems in attention and executive functioning, Perceived problems in mathematical skills and Perceived problems in visuospatial skills and eye-hand co-operation. It helps to identify young adults with risk of unemployment, who experience problems in learning and in mental health, and thus helps to find appropriate support and clinical assessment for them. The KOMO Questionnaire was found to be a relatively stable method. In addition, the Questionnaire was found to be an accurate, internally consistent and reliable screening method.

Keywords: learning disability, mental health, screening method, recognition, validity, reliability


Anne Puolakanaho, Noona Kiuru & Päivi Lappalainen

A mobile-delivered ACT-program – new support for adolescents in their school work?

Effective transdiagnostic psychological treatments are needed to promote adolescents’ mental health, learning and well-being in life and to prevent related problems. Methods should be based on theory and testable hypotheses, be flexibly delivered, easily available and integrated in diverse educational and healthcare settings. These multiple requirements may be addressed in interventions based on the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approach although these methods have been studied this far with adults and studies among youth are relatively rare. The aim of the present review is to explore the feasibility of ACT-based web- and mobile-delivered interventions for adolescents by 1) describing the expected key mechanisms of therapeutic change, 2) exploring empirical study results of such interventions and their earlier usages in school settings and 3) by describing the special features of the interventions targeted to youth and 4) introducing the elements of successful web-based interventions. Finally, the article also describes the novel Finnish ACT-based web- and mobile-delivered intervention program called Youth COMPASS and describes its first efficacy results among ninth-grade adolescents facing the transition to upper secondary education. 

Keywords: acceptance and commitment therapy, adolescents, well-being, intervention, review, web- and mobile technology