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.
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