Process characteristics of client-identified helpful events in emotion-focused therapy for adult survivors of childhood abuse (EFT-AS).

Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Paivio, Sandra,


Psychology, Clinical.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Few studies have investigated client views of helpful processes within trauma therapies, and it is not known whether clients find controversial reexperiencing interventions useful. The present study used archival data (client self-report questionnaires, interviews, and videotapes of therapy sessions) collected as part of a larger process-outcome investigation (Paivio & Nieuwenhuis, 2001) to examine process characteristics of client-identified helpful events (HE) (N = 29) and researcher-identified control events (CE) (N = 29) in Emotion Focused Therapy for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse (EFT-AS). HE were identified by clients on Helpful Aspects of Therapy Questionnaires (HAT; R. Elliott, 1985; Llewelyn, 1988) and post-treatment interviews (PTI; Paivio & Nieuwenhuis, 2001). HE then were located in videotaped sessions and criteria were used to select one event for examination from each client. CE for each client were selected from sessions which did not contain HE, and were from the same stage of therapy as the HE. Selected events were examined from an observer perspective to determine if HE were distinguished from the remainder of therapy (CE) in terms of child abuse content and emotion processes. The Client Experiencing Scale (EXP; Klein, Mathieu-Coughlan, & Kiesler, 1986) and the Emotional Arousal Scale (EAS; Daldrup, Beutler, Engle, & Greenberg, 1988) were used to rate emotion processes. Available client ratings on the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI; Horvath & Greenberg, 1989) from sessions containing HE and CE also were examined. Results indicated that HE were characterized by a greater focus on child abuse material, greater use of the exposure-based imaginal confrontation (IC) intervention, and higher levels of both modal and peak emotional arousal compared to CE. Statistically significant differences in level of experiencing between HE and CE were not found, possibly due to insufficient power. Finally, the therapeutic alliance was equally strong in HE and CE sessions. Results support key features of EFT-AS and the benefits of the IC reexperiencing intervention in this sample of abuse survivors. As well, results support the reliability and validity of client perspectives about aspects of therapy that are critical to change.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .H65. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3710. Adviser: Sandra Paivio. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.