Journal of psychological consultation
2013, Vol5,9-11

A discussion about therapeutic relationship based on psychological phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience - A theoretical reconsideration and research focusing on the roles of MPFC and ACC as executive functions.

Takashi Sugiyama
Kanagawa University, Japan

心理相談研究 5 9-22

治療関係の認知神経科学と心理学的現象学に基づく再検討 ― 意識のワーキングメモリ理論と実行系における前部帯状回と前頭前野内側皮質の機能に注目した理論的考察と質問紙調査(本文は欧文タイトルをクリック)


Historically, therapeutic relationship has been argued in psychodynamic approaches or psychological phenomenology. But recently there are scientific and empirical approaches to therapeutic relationship. This article has a aim to make a theoretical and empirical reconsideration based on psychological phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience. Today, many techniques to make brain activities visible have developed, some suggestions of brain mechanism composing consciousness have accumulated. Normal consciousness is based on working memory, and executive functions of working memory are regulated by the brain network between anterior cingulate cortex( ACC) and prefrontal cortex( PFC).
One of the important issues of therapeutic relationship would be the consciousness of client in psychotherapy. Although psychological phenomenology has described the conscious experience of client in psychotherapy, there is a few scientific arguments about it. Executive functions of working memory effect the consciousness in therapeutic relationship, because ACC effect sympathy and, PFC, especially medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) affect interests to others and self-evaluation. According to psychological phenomenology, the experiences of therapeutic relationship are based on client’s sympathy for therapist’s warmhearted and favorable feelings for client. Thus ACC and MPFC might influence the consciousness in therapeutic relationship. So this article tried to make a theoretical reconsideration and research about therapeutic relationship.

Key words: therapeutic relationship, psychological phenomenology, cognitive neuroscience.