Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Paivio, Sandra C.

Keywords

Psychology

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The present study tested a partial mediation model of change in emotion-focused therapy for complex trauma (EFTT), such that therapist empathy during the first therapy session contributes to client emotional engagement with trauma material, which in turn, contributes to client outcome (trauma symptoms and abuse resolution). Archival data (videotaped treatment sessions and self-report measures) collected for an outcome study (Paivio, Jarry, Chagigiorgis, Hall, &Ralston, 2010) were utilized. Clients were men (n=16) and women (n=22) who were dealing with issues related to childhood maltreatment (physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; emotional neglect). The degree of therapist empathy was rated using the Measure of Expressed Empathy (MEE; Watson, 1999). Multiple regression analyses were used to test the partial mediation. Results revealed that higher levels of empathy contributed to greater levels of client engagement and a reduction in trauma symptoms, independent of engagement. Engagement mediated the relationship between empathy and resolution at post-treatment.

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