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Person-centred/experiential approaches to social anxiety: initial outcome results

Elliott, Robert (2009) Person-centred/experiential approaches to social anxiety: initial outcome results. In: 40th International Meeting of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, 2009-06-24 - 2009-06-27. (Unpublished)

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Good evidence exists for the effectiveness of person-centred/experiential (PCE) therapies withclients experiencing depression and post-trauma difficulties; however, evidence for its effectivenesswith anxiety problems is much more sparse. Social anxiety (or social phobia) is a chronic, debilitatingcondition with wide-ranging effects of a person's interpersonal, occupational and psychologicalfunctioning. Almost all previous research on social anxiety has been carried out on CBT andpsychopharmacological interventions. The purpose of this presentation is to present pilot studyquantitative results on the outcome of Person-Centred/Experiential (PCE) therapy for clients with social anxiety. Method. Using a naturalistic pre-post design (open clinical trial), we assessed client functioningquantitatively on the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), CORE-Outcome Measure, Inventory of InterpersonalProblems, and Personal Questionnaire, among others. Clients were recruited from various local sources.Results: Pre-post data from our first ten clients will be presented, including pre-post significance tests,effect size, and reliable change and clinical significance calculations. Overall, clients showedsubstantial pre-post gains.Discussion: Limitations of this pilot study include the small sample size, clientself-selection bias, reactivity of study instruments, and possible researcher allegiance effects.Nevertheless, to our knowledge, this is the first study of the application of an bona fide PCE therapy withsocial anxiety, and should provide a basis for larger and more controlled studies. Our results arepromising and begin to provide justification for using PCE therapies for social anxiety.