Microprocess examination of therapeutic immediacy during a dynamic research interview

A. Jill Clemence, J. Christopher Fowler, William H. Gottdiener, Sharon Krikorian, Marilyn Charles, Lee Damsky, Benjamin Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study examines the interviewer's use of immediacy during a dynamic interview to enhance the patient's ability to process affective material and deepen personal exploration. Using a microprocess design, immediacy events were identified and rated using the Consensual Qualitative Rating method. Moment-to-moment in-session activity was rated by trained observers with a focus on measuring patient process using the Therapist-Patient Interaction Rating Scale and interviewer process using the Therapeutic Environment Scale. Five immediacy events were identified and were found to range in depth from mundane exchanges to more active exchanges with affective depth. Mundane events were characterized by little attention to the affective component of the here-and-now relationship, dismissive and unsupportive comments, and had either no effect, or a negative effect on patient process. In contrast, immediacy events characterized by even limited affect and acknowledging engagement between patient and interviewer were followed by greater patient disclosure and increased capacity to process emotional information. Thus, attention to the quality of the immediacy intervention in future research appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Immediacy
  • Psychodynamic interview
  • Psychotherapy process
  • Therapist-patient interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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