Clients’ Facial Expressions of Self-Compassion, Self-Criticism,
and Self-Protection in Emotion-Focused Therapy Videos

Ghazaleh Bailey

Júlia Halamová

Viktória Vráblová

Clients’ facial expressions allow psychotherapists to gather more information about clients’
emotional processing. This study aims to examine and investigate the facial Action Units (AUs) of self-compassion, self-criticism, and self-protection within real Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) sessions. For this purpose, we used the facial analysis software iMotions. Twelve video sessions were selected for the analysis based on specific criteria. For self-compassion, the following AUs were significant: AUs 4 (brow furrow), 15 (lip corner depressor), and the AU12_smile (lip corner puller).
For self-criticism, iMotions identified the AUs 2 (outer brow raise), AU1 (inner brow raise), AU7 (lid tighten), AU12_smirk (unilateral lip corner puller), and AU43 (eye closure). Self-protection was combined using the occurrence of AUs 1 and 4 and AU12_smirk. Moreover, the findings support the significance of discerning self-compassion and self-protection as two different concepts.

This publication uses FEA which is fully integrated into iMotions Lab

Learn more