Experiences of the step-out technique in emotion-focused therapy for clients with autistic process

Anna Robinson, Juan Pablo Kalawski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Lower levels of experiential processing are associated with poorer therapeutic outcomes. Clients with autistic process are reported to experience sensory-body awareness processing problems which is recognized as an interoception marker. The Step-Out is a simple bodily technique, used within the Alba Method, to achieve an emotionally neutral, relaxed, and alert state. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of clients with autistic process with the Step-Out. Eleven clients learned and spoke about the technique. A thematic analysis of clients’ responses produced an overall theme “In sensing me to connecting to you.” This contained three broad themes: In-and-out of interoceptive contact, letting go of tension and beyond self-experience. Clients were able to verbally describe their internal sensations and perceptions following the task. Responses ranged across an experiential continuum from emotional overwhelm, to no felt change to experiences of relational connection. Preliminary findings provide promising support for the utility of the Step-Out as a mini experiential task to help clients with autistic process shift their attention from an externalized to an internalized process, and to recognize, express, and regulate their internal states. Findings are tentative due to the exploratory nature, limited participants, and lack of assessment measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalPerson-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date5 Sept 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • emotion-focused therapy
  • autism
  • case formulation
  • step-out technique
  • interoception
  • embodied self

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