by SueAnne Piliero
Over the last decade, affect-focused, experiential psychotherapies have emerged as an increasingly popular and effective treatment modality. To date, however, there has been no retrospective study of the patients’ subjective experience and opinions of this type of treatment. This study marks the first time that patients who have had affect-focused, experiential therapy were formally asked to speak for themselves and assess the overall value of that experience. The goal of my research was to hear patients’ feelings and emotional reactions to having been in this type of treatment, and to hear, from the patients’ point of view, how it changed or affected their lives, what they felt was most helpful about this kind of work (i.e., whether it be the relationship and/or the techniques), and how they felt about having been in this type of therapy compared to other types of therapy.
Patients’ experiences were assessed from a retrospective point of view, using a comprehensive questionnaire designed to measure patients’ views on a number of different aspects of the therapy experience. Completed questionnaires were received from 110 former patients of affect-focused, experiential psychotherapy. Findings concerning perceptions of outcome of therapy, and attitudes about the results of therapy were as follows.
A substantial percentage of patients reported marked improvement, were satisfied with the therapy, and attributed their changes to the therapy experience. More than three-quarters (85%) indicated that they were extremely satisfied with the outcome of therapy, that they had made significant improvements in their personal well being as a result of the therapy, and that these therapeutic gains were long lasting. Furthermore, the significant gains emphasized by most of the respondents were increased mastery not only over specific symptoms, but also in many areas of living.
For more information about this research study, please contact Dr. SueAnne Piliero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SueAnne Piliero graduated from Adelphi University with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has been trained in AEDP therapy and is a faculty member of the AEDP Institute.
Quotes from SueAnne Piliero’s study can be found by scrolling down the “Our Patients Speak” page.