Person-centered/experiential psychotherapy for anxiety difficulties: theory, research and practice

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Abstract

Anxiety difficulties are an increasingly important focus for person-centered/experiential (PCE) psychotherapies. I begin by reviewing person-centered, focusing-oriented, and emotion-focused therapy (EFT) theories of anxiety. Next, I summarize a meta-analysis of 19 outcome studies of PCE therapies for adults with anxiety, most commonly supportive or person-centered therapies (PCT) carried out by cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) researchers. The results indicate large pre-post change but a clear inferiority to CBT. I then summarize promising early results from an ongoing study of PCT and EFT for social anxiety, which show large amounts of pre-post change for both forms of PCE therapy but substantially more change for clients in the EFT condition. I conclude with a discussion of the implications for PCE therapy practice, including the value of process differentiation and the possibility of developing more effective PCE approaches for anxiety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-32
Number of pages17
JournalPerson-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • person-centred-experiential therapy
  • outcome research
  • emotion-focused therapy
  • EFT
  • person-centered therapies
  • PCT
  • PCE

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    Sutherland, O., Peräkylä, A. & Elliott, R., 2014, In: Psychotherapy Research. 24, 6, p. 738-751 14 p.

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    18 Citations (Scopus)
    337 Downloads (Pure)
  • Research on humanistic-experiential psychotherapies

    Elliott, R., Greenberg, L. S., Watson, J. C., Timulak, L. & Freire, E., Jan 2013, Bergin & Garfield‘s Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change. Lambert, MI. J. (ed.). 6th revised ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., p. 495-538 44 p.

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  • Emotion-focused therapy

    Elliott, R., Dec 2012, The tribes of the person-centred nation: An introduction to the schools of therapy related to the person-centred approach. Sanders, P. (ed.). 2nd revised ed. Ross-on-Wye, p. 103-130 28 p.

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