Research trials have begun on an innovative research project which examines the additive therapeutic effect of two existing evidence-based techniques, marital therapy and biofeedback. Steven C. Kassel, a Marriage and Family Therapist who has been certified in Biofeedback since 1985, designed a way to combine both therapies which typically are not used together. Working with Thought Technology, the leading manufacturer of biofeedback hardware and software, a screen which displays 5 channels of physiology along with audio and video feedback is at the core of this project. Additional participants (i.e., married couples) are needed to enroll in this 10 week research project which is being conducted in West Los Angeles and Santa Clarita, CA. Early results of a small sample are promising.
Specifically, the effects on marital satisfaction and psychophysiologic reactivity will be measured. Pre and post baseline measures of physiological parameters such as breathing, heart rate and heart rate variability, sweat gland activity, and hand temperature will be monitored with specialized equipment, as well as audio and video monitoring of the couple during the study sessions. In this study, we will be monitoring and giving feedback to each partner about their physiology and teaching them how to control reactivity in order to remain more calm when discussing emotionally charged subjects with their partner. The therapist will have the ability to stop and replay recordings in order to demonstrate changes in physiology to the couples. The study hypothesizes that participants will be able to learn to modify their physiologic reactions and thereby improve communication and marital satisfaction with their intimate partner.
The aim of this study is one of directed therapy, to focus on the process of how couples talk to one another, and how to better resolve conflicts, rather than to simply talk about burning issues in the relationship. If further therapy is required to expand on specific relational issues, subjects will be referred back to their original therapist. There will be no financial compensation for participating in this study, as this is a non-funded research project, and no charge will be made for these sessions. Involvement for the full 10 sessions is a commitment that will be much appreciated and, we anticipate will be of benefit to the couples involved. In short, we are currently looking for participant couples to join a 10 session original study of Interpersonal Biofeedback.
Editorial Note: While The Behavioral Medicine Report believes that Steven Kassel will conduct safe and quality research, we cannot guarantee your safety or satisfaction with the results. We encourage all participants to discuss the research with the primary investigator and to review the informed consent documents before deciding to participate.