What is it about?
Emotions such as joy, fear, anger and sadness are of fundamental importance for healthy human functioning. Problems dealing with such emotions are also at the core of mental disorders such as depression, PTSD and anxiety disorders. Therefore, significant efforts have been made in the field of psychotherapy during the last decades to design interventions that teach clients to deal effectively with their individual emotional problems. This meta-analysis summarizes the research that has been conducted on emotion-focused therapeutic interventions, how clients respond to these interventions, and their impacts on therapeutic improvement.
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Why is it important?
This is the first broad systematic review and meta-analysis on emotional change processes and mechanisms in psychotherapy. Changing how clients perceive emotional information appears to be a pan-theoretical change mechanism that relates to therapeutic improvement. This is done through repeated exposures to emotions that clients experience as difficult and troubling in a safe and validating environment, which improves their awareness and tolerance of these emotions. Interestingly, the effects on therapeutic improvement for improved emotional perception were stronger than what has been found for the working alliance, the most well-established change process in psychotherapy.
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This page is a summary of: Emotional changes and outcomes in psychotherapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, May 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000814.
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