“You know it, how I feel, I mean you just did it”: The emergence of we-ness through re-enactment in psychotherapy

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This article explores the nature and trajectory of a shared emotional experience in a psychotherapy interaction by combining insights from embodied cognition with the notion of intercorporeality along with the concept of re-enactment. The focus of the article is a detailed interactional analysis of the way the phenomenon of we-ness (or we experience) appears in a psychotherapy session. We-ness concerns the way two (or more) people share an experience by being aware and attentive to the way they participate together in the experience. It is argued that in social interaction, we-ness needs to be examined and understood as a profoundly temporal phenomenon that gradually evolves in the flow of interaction with different levels of intensity. It is built into and enabled by a skillful embodied coordination grounded in expressive movements and dependent on reciprocal patterns of action. Furthermore, it is suggested that the embodied enactment of we-experience may play a particular prominent role in psychotherapy. For the therapist, embodied communicative practices can work as an alternative resource to enhance the sensitive responsiveness in the interactive flow and thereby create an experience of being seen for the patient in a more direct manner than if only verbalized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20192017
JournalCognitive Semiotics
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 17. Dec 2019


  • intercorporeality
  • psychotherapy
  • re-enactment
  • social interaction
  • we-ness


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