Exploring the process of change in emotion-focused therapy for social anxiety

Ann Haberman, Ben Shahar, Eran Bar-Kalifa, Sigal Zilcha-Mano, Gary M. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study examined purported change mechanisms in emotion-focused therapy for social anxiety disorder. Methods: The sample included nine clients who had participated in a multiple-baseline case study trial examining the efficacy of emotion-focused therapy for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Multilevel analyses were conducted to examine the trajectories of emotions over the course of treatment, and whether primary adaptive emotions in a given session predicted levels of SAD symptoms, self-criticism, and self-reassurance over the course of the following week. Results: Findings showed a significant decrease in shame, and a marginally significant increase in assertive anger, over the course of treatment. Adaptive sadness/grief in a given session predicted less fear of negative evaluation over the course of the following week. Shame in a given session predicted higher levels of inadequate-self over the course of the following week. Finally, shame, and to a lesser degree assertive anger, in a given session predicted reassurance of self over the course of the following week. Neither assertive anger nor adaptive sadness/grief in a given session predicted levels of self-criticism over the course of the following week. Conclusions: These findings lend partial preliminary support for the therapeutic role of evoking and processing adaptive sadness/grief and assertive anger in the treatment of SAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-918
Number of pages11
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Volume29
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Society for Psychotherapy Research.

Keywords

  • emotion-focused therapy
  • emotional processing
  • social anxiety

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