AN OPEN TRIAL OF EMOTION REGULATION THERAPY FOR GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER AND COOCCURRING DEPRESSION


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Abstract

Background:Although CBT is efficacious for a wide variety of psychiatric conditions, relatively fewer GAD patients achieve high endstate functioning as compared to patients receiving CBTs for other disorders. Moreover, GAD trials that utilized patient samples without prominent depression have tended to report that effect sizes for depressive outcomes were small or diminished to pretreatment levels in the follow-up period. Emotion regulation therapy (ERT) integrates principles from traditional and contemporary cognitive behavioral treatments with basic and translational findings from affect science to offer a blueprint for improving intervention by focusing on motivational, regulatory, and contextual learning mechanisms.Method:The purpose of this investigation was to provide initial support for the efficacy of ERT in an open trial of patients with GAD and cooccurring depressive symptoms. Twenty-one patients received a 20-session version of ERT delivered in weekly individual sessions. Standardized clinician ratings and self-report measures were assessed at pre-, mid-, and posttreatment as well as at three- and nine-month follow-ups. Intent-to-treat analyzes were utilized.Results:GAD patients, half with comorbid major depression, evidenced statistically, and clinically meaningful improvements in symptom severity, impairment, quality of life, and in model-related outcomes including emotional/motivational intensity, mindful attending/acceptance, decentering, and cognitive reappraisal. Patients maintained gains across the three and nine month follow-up periods.Conclusions:These findings, although preliminary, provide additional evidence for the role of emotion dysregulation in the onset, maintenance, and now treatment of conditions such as GAD and cooccurring depressive symptoms.

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