Gloria decoded: an application of Robert Langs’ communicative approach to psychotherapy

Daniels, Debbie (2012) Gloria decoded: an application of Robert Langs’ communicative approach to psychotherapy. Other thesis, Middlesex University.


The aim of this research was to explore the theories espoused by psychoanalyst Robert Langs
pertaining to frame violations of the therapeutic framework. Langs proposes that frame
violations activate negative responses in the patient which become encoded in the patient’s
narrative. This theory was investigated through analysing transcripts from three filmed
psychotherapy sessions with three therapists and one female patient. Luborsky’s quantitative
Core Conflictual Relationship Theme method was utilised to extract themes from the
patient’s manifest narrative in the sessions. The aim was to demonstrate similarities between
the patient’s responses towards other people and towards the therapist. A qualitative approach
was also utilised to analyse the unconscious encoded narrative in the sessions. It was
discovered that both approaches revealed that there was evidence that the patient responded
towards the therapist in the same way in which she responded to other people. It could be
demonstrated that there was considerable evidence to suggest that the patient’s narrative
about other people had been activated by the therapists’ frame violations and the deviant
frame setting. The conclusion was that the results supported Langs’ theory but posed a
challenge to Freud’s theory on transference.

DPsych thesis full text
2012danielsdpsych_thesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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