Pilot study of the influence of self-coding on empathy within an introductory motivational interviewing training.
Simper Trevor,Agley Jon,DeSalle Mallori,Todd Jennifer,Dutta Tapati
BMC medical education
BACKGROUND:Motivational interviewing (MI) is a framework for addressing behavior change that is often used by healthcare professionals. Expression of empathy during MI is associated with positive client outcomes, while absence of empathy may produce iatrogenic effects. Although training in MI is linked to increased therapeutic empathy in learners, no research has investigated individual training components' contribution to this increase. The objective of this study was to test whether a self-coding MI exercise using smartphones completed at hour 6 of an 8-h MI training was superior in engendering empathy to training as usual (watching an MI expert perform in a video clip for the same duration at the same point in the training). METHODS:This was a pilot study at two sites using randomization and control groups with 1:1 allocation. Allocation was achieved via computerized assignment (site 1, United Kingdom) or facedown playing card distribution (site 2, United States). Participants were 58 students attending a university class at one of two universities, of which an 8-h segment was dedicated to a standardized MI training. Fifty-five students consented to participate and were randomized. The intervention was an MI self-coding exercise using smartphone recording and a standardized scoring sheet. Students were encouraged to reflect on areas of potential improvement based on their self-coding results. The main outcome measure was score on the Helpful Responses Questionnaire, a measure of therapeutic empathy, collected prior to and immediately following the 8-h training. Questionnaire coding was completed by 2 blinded external reviewers and assessed for interrater reliability, and students were assigned averaged empathy scores from 6 to 30. Analyses were conducted via repeated-measures ANOVA using the general linear model. RESULTS:Fifty-five students were randomized, and 2 were subsequently excluded from analysis at site 2 due to incomplete questionnaires. The study itself was feasible, and overall therapeutic empathy increased significantly and substantially among students. However, the intervention was not superior to the control condition in this study. CONCLUSIONS:Replacing a single passive learning exercise with an active learning exercise in an MI training did not result in a substantive boost to therapeutic empathy. However, consistently with prior research, this study identified significant overall increases in empathy following introductory MI training. A much larger study examining the impact of selected exercises and approaches would likely be useful and informative.
Elements of the therapeutic relationship in CBT for anxiety disorders: A systematic review.
Luong Hoang K,Drummond Sean P A,Norton Peter J
Journal of anxiety disorders
To optimise the effects of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders, research has increasingly focussed on understanding mechanisms of change. Specifically, the therapeutic relationship has been identified as a potential "active ingredient" of therapy. The evidence for the effects of eleven elements of the therapeutic relationship (alliance, collaboration, goal consensus, group cohesion, empathy, positive regard, feedback, emotional expression, outcome expectations, treatment credibility, alliance rupture-repair) on treatment outcomes in CBT for anxiety disorders was systematically reviewed. Fifty unique studies were included, and findings were qualitatively reviewed and summarised. Results revealed consistent and sizeable evidence for the cohesion-outcome and expectation-outcome relationships. There was emerging evidence for the effects of collaboration, empathy, and alliance rupture-repair on outcomes. However, the evidence for goal consensus and credibility on outcomes was limited. Notably, review of the alliance literature revealed substantial inconsistencies across studies. No studies were identified for positive regard, feedback, and emotional expression. Overall, further research is needed to clarify the role of the therapeutic relationship in CBT for anxiety disorders. These findings will contribute to the conceptual integration of therapeutic relationship constructs in cognitive behavioural models, and help to improve treatments and outcomes for individuals.
Impact of Web-Based Sharing and Viewing of Self-Harm-Related Videos and Photographs on Young People: Systematic Review.
Journal of medical Internet research
BACKGROUND:Given recent moves to remove or blur self-harm imagery or content on the web, it is important to understand the impact of posting, viewing, and reposting self-harm images on young people. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study is to systematically review research related to the emotional and behavioral impact on children and young people who view or share web-based self-harm-related videos or images. METHODS:We searched databases (including Embase, PsychINFO, and MEDLINE) from January 1991 to February 2019. Search terms were categorized into internet use, images nonspecific and specific to the internet, and self-harm and suicide. Stepwise screening against specified criteria and data extraction were completed by two independent reviewers. Eligible articles were quality assessed, and a narrative synthesis was conducted. RESULTS:A total of 19 independent studies (20 articles) were included. Of these, 4 studies focused on images, 10 (11 articles) on videos, and 5 on both. There were 4 quantitative, 9 qualitative, and 7 mixed methods articles. In total, 11 articles were rated as high quality. There has been an increase in graphic self-harm imagery over time. Potentially harmful content congregated on platforms with little moderation, anonymity, and easy search functions for images. A range of reactions and intentions were reported in relation to posting or viewing images of self-harm: from empathy, a sense of solidarity, and the use of images to give or receive help to potentially harmful ones suggesting new methods, normalization, and exacerbation of self-harm. Viewing images as an alternative to self-harm or a creative outlet were regarded in 2 studies as positive impacts. Reactions of anger, hostility, and ambivalence have been reported. There was some evidence of the role of imitation and reinforcement, driven partly by the number of comments and wound severity, but this was not supported by time series analyses. CONCLUSIONS:Although the results of this review support concern related to safety and exacerbation of self-harm through viewing images of self-harm, there may be potential for positive impacts in some of those exposed. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness and potential harms of current posting restrictions, incorporate user perspectives, and develop recovery-oriented content. Clinicians assessing distressed young people should ask about internet use, including access to self-harm images, as part of their assessment.
Empathy as a "risky strength": a multilevel examination of empathy and risk for internalizing disorders.
Tone Erin B,Tully Erin C
Development and psychopathology
Learning to respond to others' distress with well-regulated empathy is an important developmental task linked to positive health outcomes and moral achievements. However, this important interpersonal skill set may also confer risk for depression and anxiety when present at extreme levels and in combination with certain individual characteristics or within particular contexts. The purpose of this review is to describe an empirically grounded theoretical rationale for the hypothesis that empathic tendencies can be "risky strengths." We propose a model in which typical development of affective and cognitive empathy can be influenced by complex interplay among intraindividual and interindividual moderators that increase risk for empathic personal distress and excessive interpersonal guilt. These intermediate states in turn precipitate internalizing problems that map onto empirically derived fear/arousal and anhedonia/misery subfactors of internalizing disorders. The intraindividual moderators include a genetically influenced propensity toward physiological hyperarousal, which is proposed to interact with genetic propensity to empathic sensitivity to contribute to neurobiological processes that underlie personal distress responses to others' pain or unhappiness. This empathic personal distress then increases risk for internalizing problems, particularly fear/arousal symptoms. In a similar fashion, interactions between genetic propensities toward negative thinking processes and empathic sensitivity are hypothesized to contribute to excess interpersonal guilt in response to others' distress. This interpersonal guilt then increases the risk for internalizing problems, especially anhedonia/misery symptoms. Interindividual moderators, such as maladaptive parenting or chronic exposure to parents' negative affect, further interact with these genetic liabilities to amplify risk for personal distress and interpersonal guilt as well as for consequent internalizing problems. Age-related increases in the heritability of depression, anxiety, and empathy-related constructs are consistent with developmental shifts toward greater influence of intraindividual moderators throughout childhood and adolescence, with interindividual moderators exerting their greatest influence during early childhood. Efforts to modulate neurobiological and behavioral expressions of genetic dysregulation liabilities and to promote adaptive empathic skills must thus begin early in development.
Therapeutic assessment efficacy: A meta-analysis.
Durosini Ilaria,Aschieri Filippo
Therapeutic Assessment is a brief semistructured and collaborative psychological intervention developed by Stephen E. Finn (1996, 2007). In Therapeutic Assessment, the assessor and clients are collaboratively involved in all the phases of the process and psychological tests are used as "empathy magnifiers" in order to promote positive change throughout an assessment. Over the years, many authors have tested the efficacy of Therapeutic Assessment procedures in different contexts and have concluded that Therapeutic Assessment is well-suited for use with a broad array of clients. Despite some studies documenting the benefits of Therapeutic Assessment, results of individual studies have not been meta-analytically analyzed. Therefore, we performed a series of three-level meta-analyses to examine the efficacy of Therapeutic Assessment with adult clients. We included nine studies with 42 dependent variables, grouped into three types of outcomes: treatment process (6 studies, 18 nonindependent variables), clients' symptoms (6 studies, 17 nonindependent variables), and clients' self-enhancement (5 studies, 7 nonindependent variables). The results revealed statistically significant effects for each outcome, = .46, 95% CI [.33; .59]; < .001; = .34, 95% CI [.06; .63]; = .021; = .37, 95% CI [.05; .69]; = .029. Moderator analyses also suggested that Therapeutic Assessment is resilient, since supervision, the inclusion of more Therapeutic Assessment elements, and additional hours of intervention do not impact substantially its outcomes. These results suggest that the most important aspect of Therapeutic Assessment may be its underlying philosophy and values, and not so much the exact way in which it is implemented. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Perfectionism and Therapeutic Alliance: A Review of the Clinical Research.
Miller Racheli,Hilsenroth Mark J,Hewitt Paul L
Research in psychotherapy (Milano)
In this review, we synthesize findings regarding the relationship between perfectionism and therapeutic alliance, most of which come from analyses by Blatt and colleagues. Results suggest what follows. First, patients' initial level of perfectionism negatively affects patients' bond with therapists and perception of therapists' Rogerian attributes (empathy, congruence, and regard) early in treatment and engagement in therapy later in treatment. Second, therapists' contribution to alliance is not seemingly affected by patients' initial perfectionism level. Third, individual patients of therapists who are perceived on average by their patients to be higher on Rogerian attributes experience greater decreases in perfectionism and symptoms. Fourth, more positive perceptions of therapists' Rogerian attributes early in treatment lead to greater symptom decrease for patients with moderate perfectionism. Fifth, greater early patient engagement in therapy is related to greater decrease in perfectionism, but a strong relationship with the therapist may be necessary for an accompanied greater decrease in symptoms. The relationship between pre-treatment perfectionism and alliance is partially explained by higher levels of hostility and lower levels of positive affect. Sixth, the relationship between pre-treatment perfectionism and outcome is almost entirely explained by level of patient contribution to alliance and satisfaction with social network, highlighting the importance of focusing on social functioning for patients with high perfectionism (both in and outside of the session). Limitations include that most of the findings are from analyses of one large data set and a range of measurement issues. Future research should utilize different measures, perspectives, and populations and examine specific session process.
Social anxiety and behavioral assessments of social cognition: A systematic review.
Journal of affective disorders
BACKGROUND:Social anxiety is highly prevalent and has increased in young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since social anxiety negatively impacts interpersonal functioning, identifying aspects of social cognition that may be impaired can increase our understanding of the development and maintenance of social anxiety disorder. However, to date, studies examining associations between social anxiety and social cognition have resulted in mixed findings. METHODS:The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the literature on the association between social anxiety and social cognition, while also considering several potential moderators and covariates that may influence findings. RESULTS:A systematic search identified 52 studies. Results showed mixed evidence for the association between social anxiety and lower-level social cognitive processes (emotion recognition and affect sharing) and a trend for a negative association with higher-level social cognitive processes (theory of mind and empathic accuracy). Most studies examining valence-specific effects found a significant negative association for positive and neutral stimuli. LIMITATIONS:Not all aspects of social cognition were included (e.g., attributional bias) and we focused on adults and not children, limiting the scope of the review. CONCLUSIONS:Future studies would benefit from the inclusion of relevant moderators and covariates, multiple well-validated measures within the same domain of social cognition, and assessments of interpersonal functioning outside of the laboratory. Additional research examining the moderating role of attention or interpretation biases on social cognitive performance, and the potential benefit of social cognitive skills training for social anxiety, could inform and improve existing cognitive behavioral interventions.