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Project: Interpreter-mediated Psychotherapy: Interaction and Perception, Process and Outcome

2023-01-01 – 2025-12-31


Due to current political and demographic developments, multilingual psychotherapy for refugees and migrants is becoming increasingly relevant. Interpreters are often indispensable in bridging the language barrier between patient and therapist. Their presence is, however, not without consequences: the dyadic relationship between therapists and patients becomes a triad. In this project we analyze how therapists, patients and interpreters co-construct the therapeutic relationship over the course of a therapy, which takes, on average, 12 sessions. More concretely, we analyze through which verbal and non-verbal communicative means the participants deploy, gain and negotiate trust and empathy, which are essential building blocks of the therapeutic relationship. We combine three different methods: along with interviews with the three parties involved, we will have them complete a questionnaire and we will conduct fine-grained analyzes of video-recorded therapeutical sessions. In an accompanying process of triangulation, we will analyze the data in a transdisciplinary team which combines research expertise from the fields of psychology, interpreting studies and linguistics.

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