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SITE, Studies of Intersubjectivity in Therapy and Elsewhere

Research project SITE is a multi-theoretical and integrative network with the research objective to develop further understanding of the implicit relational processes involved in the development of self, psychological connectedness and mutual understanding.

SITE uses the opportunity of creating knowledge by using novel approaches in bridging the gap between neurology and phenomenology, everyday life and clinical practice, art and science, social constructivism and neuropsychology, post modernism and reductionism, critical and experimental psychology.

Head of project

Niclas Kaiser
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

2014-01-01 2019-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Psychology

Research subject


Project description

Theoretical framework

Developmental psychology, humanisties, neuroscience, art, psychiatry, relational psychology, phenomenology, social cognition, psychopsysiology, non-linear dynamic systems theory

Projects within SITE

"On the Same Page", April 2014
A collaboration between HumLAB, the dep of Psychology and the performance artist Gabriel Bohm Calles. We will firstly set the stage for research collaborating on the subject of intersubjectivity. We wish to collect important psychophysiological, behavioral (video) and experiential (participant experience) data for analysis. A performance artist will set the stage for a performance with special focus the implicit relation between artist and participant. In developing empirically based measures, we will triangulate momentary, second-by-second-emotional coregulation (GSR oscillating negatively), attachment behavior and experiences. From a humanistic cultural and literary theorist perspective the results of the performance based experiments will be analyzed according to perspective, addressivity, gesture and boundaries.

"Emotional coregulation, behavioral measures and psychological contact in a psychiatric context" 2015
Relational processes are claimed to be of highest importance for almost all processes in psychiatric care. As central for the quality of assessment and for patient’s compliance to treatment and as the basis for Working Alliance, which is shown to be one of the significant variables in treatment-outcome in dyadic treatment processes. Relational processes in the psychiatrist/patient-relation are also discussed as part of a change-process in itself. Psychological relational connectedness have been discussed in relation to depression, and as related to deficits in implicit relational knowledge evident among persons with high function Autism and Aspergers syndrome. Different theories have been used in various research areas to understand the complexity of the dyadic process, but recent neuro-scientific advances has shed new light on the human brains relational system as mutual and interactive.

To date it is unclear how to study implicit relational processes and their impact. This study, which will be the first integrative multi-disciplined relational clinical study in Sweden, will use both psychophysiological, observational, psychological and qualitative data to help fill the knowledge gap in the understanding of implicit relational processes in psychiatric care. The senior advisors are specialists in different areas integrated in the project, such as psychiatry, neurology, relational psychology, psychophysiology and phenomenology.