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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Society for Psychotherapy Research.
- emotion-focused therapy
- emotional processing
- social anxiety