Identifying Client Emotional Signatures

This is the premier research for the Annandale Institute. As a practitioner I am always wanting to find ways to work with my clients that would help them. As a trainer, I am also wanting to find ways to help my colleagues in their work. Based on my experiences as a practitioner and trainer, I began to conceptualise around patterns of relating to self and others, and how these patterns are useful for both the relational and technical aspects of counselling and psychotherapy.

The concepts for the research first emerged in 1994 with an article, Mirror Mirror, that was presented at the Australian and New Zealand Family Therapy Conference, Sydney, and the Australian Marriage and Family Counsellors Association, Brisbane. These ideas of abandonment and annihation were further explored in the article, Ariadne’s Thread, that was presented at the 1999 Annual Conference, APS Counselling College, Sydney before being published by Psychotherapy in Australia. After this the developing research was presented at a number of conferences: Psychotherapy Congress, 2011; PACFA Conference (2012); 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology (2010); and at the Joint Biennial National Conference (PACFA, ARCC & CAPA NSW) (2014).

In partnership with Professor Julie Fitness at Macquarie University, I explored these concepts of abandonment and annihilation. A questionnaire for emotional signatures was designed and tested. We then explored the concept of emotional signature with university undergraduate students, practitioners attending the Institute for Emotionally Focused therapy, and clients. Two different dimensions in client profiles were identified, each with their own characteristic signature of feelings, thoughts and behaviours, and childhood memories. Knowing and understanding these ideas helps us as practitioners in developing effective relationships with our clients as well as helping us chart a therapy that facilitates the healing of our clients. The process and outcomes of this research was published by PACJA in 2015.

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Webster, M. (2001). Ariadne's thread: Emotionally Focused Therapy. Psychotherapy in Australia, Vol.8, No.1, pp58-63.

Webster, M. A. (2011). Developing the Annandale Emotional Signatures scale for therapy. Presented at the Psychotherapy Congress, Sydney, 2011.

Webster, M. A. (2012). Emotional Signatures in Emotion-Focused Therapy: What, when, where, and how. Presented at PACFA conference, ‘What works? An exploration of effectiveness in counseling and psychotherapy’, Melbourne 27-28 October 2012.

Webster, M. A. & Fitness, J. (2010). Abandonment, Annihilation, and Attachment: The development of a psychological scale for identifying clients’ emotional signatures. Presented at the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology, ICAP. Hosted by APS with the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP), ICAP, 2010, Melbourne.

Webster, M. & Fitness, J. (2015). Identifying client emotional signatures: Development of a new scale.  PACJA, Third edition, Volume 3, No. 1, July 2015

Webster, M. A., & Stapleton, C. (2014). Emotional Signature: A pathway for connectedness and healing. Workshop conducted at the Joint Biennial National Conference (PACFA, ARCC & CAPA NSW), Sydney 13 - 15 June 2014.