Understanding emotions in educational dialogues on civic and social issues: a psychotherapeutic approach

Efrat Firer*, Benzi Slakmon, Baruch B. Schwarz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this research is to explore emotional processes occurring during educational dialogues on civic and social issues (EDCSI) by asking what factors arouse emotions in EDCSI, how do these factors interact, how do they affect the participants, and how this effect can be explained from the perspective of group therapy. EDCSI involves a complex set of emotions at the individual, inter-personal, and group levels that cannot only be explained by already existing frameworks used in educational research. Thirty-three students discussed civic and social issues using digital media in two different settings: a three-day learning seminar for secondary school students and an undergraduate university course. Using a cued retrospective reporting protocol, the students were interviewed and asked to refer to their overall experience in the discussions and to emotional moments they experienced. The analysis of the interviews shows that factors that arouse emotions pertain to the personal, interpersonal, and group dimensions, and often interact with each other. The emotional processes described by the participants were consistent with factors identified in the field of group psychotherapy such as instillation of hope, universality, imitative behaviors, and interpersonal learning. We therefore claim that research about emotional processes in group therapy may contribute to understanding the multi-level emotional processes occurring in EDCSI and that psychotherapy practices may inspire educators in designing and facilitating EDCSI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


FundersFunder number
European Commission Research Executive Agency770045


    • CSCL
    • Deliberation
    • Educational-dialogues
    • Emotions
    • Groups
    • Therapy


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