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EFFT & Research 2018-09-05T23:11:00+00:00

Research

A number of scientific papers examining the processes and outcomes of EFFT interventions and related topics have been published:
Foroughe, M., Stillar, A., Goldstein, L., Dolhanty, J., Goodcase, E. T., & Lafrance, A. (2018). Brief Emotion-Focused Family Therapy: An Intervention for Parents of Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Issues. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Abstract:  This study evaluated the 2-day intensive modality of Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). The intervention attempts to prepare parents to take a primary role in their child’s recovery from a range of mental health issues. One hundred and twenty-four parents completed the intervention and provided data a week prior to intervention, post-intervention and at 4-month follow-up. Results include significantly reduced parent blocks and increased parental self-efficacy in relation to involvement in their child’s recovery, as well as significant improvement in child symptomatology. The findings confirm positive results from an earlier pilot study involving eating disorders and demonstrate the potential for EFFT as an intervention for a range of clinical problems in children and youth.

Strahan, E. J., Stillar, A., Files, N., Nash, P., Scarborough, J., Connors, L., … & Orr, E. Lafrance, A. (2017). Increasing parental self-efficacy with Emotion-Focused Family Therapy for eating disorders: a process model. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 16(3), 256-269.

Abstract:  A process model was tested whereby parental fear and self-blame were targeted in order to enhance parental self-efficacy and supportive efforts in the context of emotion-focused family therapy (EFFT) for eating disorders (ED). A 2-day EFFT group intervention was delivered to parents of adolescent and adult children with ED. Data were collected from eight treatment sites (N = 124). Data were analyzed using t-tests, regression analyses and structural equation modeling. The findings supported the proposed process model. Through the processing of parents’ maladaptive fear and self-blame, parents felt more empowered to support their child’s recovery. This increase in self-efficacy led to an increase in parents’ intentions to engage in recovery-focused behaviors. This study is the first to test a method for clinicians to increase supportive efforts by targeting and enhancing caregiver self-efficacy via the processing of emotion.  Link to full text.

Bøyum, H., & Stige, S. H. (2017). «Jeg forstår henne bedre nå» – En kvalitativ studie av foreldres opplevelse av relasjonen til egne barn etter emosjonsfokusert foreldreveiledning [“I understand her better now” – A qualitative study of parents’ experiences of their relationship to their children after Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT)]. Scandinavian Psychologist, 4, e11.

Abstract:  In this article, we report from a qualitative study investigating whether and how parents experience Emotion-Focused Family Therapy’s (EFFT’s) impact on the relationship to their children. Six parents who had attended a two-day course of EFFT were interviewed, with qualitative in-depth interviews taking place two to four months after completion of the course. We used a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach in analyzing these interviews. Analysis resulted in four main themes: Increased understanding of the child; Stronger confidence in their role as parents; Increased focus on emotions improving relationships; and Improved communication with the child. The study shows how the parents experienced becoming more secure in their role as parents and obtaining increased confidence in their own abilities. In addition, they experienced improved contact with, and better understanding of, their children. The parents underscored how these processes were ongoing and demanding and how they entailed considerable effort. Further research will contribute to expanding and nuancing our knowledge on how parents experience receiving EFFT and how such therapy affects parents’ experiences of their relationships with their children.  Link to full text.

Stillar, A., Strahan, E., Nash, P., Files, N., Scarborough, J., Mayman, S., . . . Lafrance Robinson, A. (2016). The influence of carer fear and self-blame when supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. Eating Disorders, 24(2), 173-185.

Abstract:  Carers often feel disempowered and engage in behaviours that inadvertently enable their loved one’s ED symptoms and yet little is known regarding these processes. This study examined the relationships among fear, self-blame, self-efficacy, and accommodating and enabling behaviours in 137 carers of adolescents and adults with ED. The results revealed that fear and self-blame predicted low carer self-efficacy in supporting their loved one’s recovery as well as the extent to which carers reported engaging in recovery-interfering behaviours. The relevance of these findings are discussed in the context of family-oriented ED therapies and highlight the importance for clinicians to attend to and help to process strong emotions in carers, in order to improve their supportive efforts and, ultimately, ED outcomes.  Link to full text.

Lafrance Robinson, A., & Kosmerly, S. (2015). The influence of clinician emotion on decisions in child and adolescent eating disorder treatment: a survey of self and others. Eating disorders, 23(2), 163-176.

Abstract: Eating disorder clinicians from various disciplines participated in one of two surveys: the “self” group (n = 143) completed a survey assessing the negative influence of emotions on their own clinical decisions, while the “other” group (n = 145) completed a parallel version of the survey that assessed their perceptions of the negative influence of emotion in their colleagues. Both groups endorsed this phenomenon to some degree, although differences in reporting were noted between groups. The perceived negative influence of emotion with regards to specific treatment decisions fell within three categories: decisions regarding food and weight, decisions regarding the involvement of the family in treatment, and decisions related to autonomy and control. Decisions regarding the involvement of the family were perceived to be the most emotionally charged, in particular the involvement of a critical or dismissive parent.

Lafrance Robinson, A. L., Dolhanty, J., & Greenberg, L. (2015). Emotionfocused family therapy for eating disorders in children and adolescents. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 22(1), 75-82.

Abstract:  Family‐based therapy (FBT) is regarded as best practice for the treatment of eating disorders in children and adolescents. In FBT, parents play a vital role in bringing their child or adolescent to health; however, a significant minority of families do not respond to this treatment. This paper introduces a new model whereby FBT is enhanced by integrating emotion‐focused therapy (EFT) principles and techniques with the aims of helping parents to support their child’s refeeding and interruption of symptoms. Parents are also supported to become their child’s ‘emotion coach’; and to process any emotional ‘blocks’ that may interfere with their ability to take charge of recovery. A parent testimonial is presented to illustrate the integration of the theory and techniques of EFT in the FBT model. EFFT (Emotion‐Focused Family Therapy) is a promising model of therapy for those families who require a more intense treatment to bring about recovery of an eating disorder.  Link to full text.

Lafrance Robinson, A., & Kosmerly, S. (2015). The influence of clinician emotion on decisions in child and adolescent eating disorder treatment: a survey of self and others. Eating disorders, 23(2), 163-176.

Abstract: Eating disorder clinicians from various disciplines participated in one of two surveys: the “self” group (n = 143) completed a survey assessing the negative influence of emotions on their own clinical decisions, while the “other” group (n = 145) completed a parallel version of the survey that assessed their perceptions of the negative influence of emotion in their colleagues. Both groups endorsed this phenomenon to some degree, although differences in reporting were noted between groups. The perceived negative influence of emotion with regards to specific treatment decisions fell within three categories: decisions regarding food and weight, decisions regarding the involvement of the family in treatment, and decisions related to autonomy and control. Decisions regarding the involvement of the family were perceived to be the most emotionally charged, in particular the involvement of a critical or dismissive parent.

Lafrance Robinson, A., Dolhanty, J., Stillar, A., Henderson, K., & Mayman, S. (2014). Emotion-Focused Family Therapy for Eating Disorders Across the Lifespan: A Pilot Study of a 2-Day Transdiagnostic Intervention for Parents. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 23(1), 14-23.

Abstract:  Emotion‐focused family therapy is a transdiagnostic approach that affords parents and caregivers a significant role in their loved one’s recovery from an eating disorder. A 2‐day intervention was developed on the basis of emotion‐focused family therapy principles and delivered to 33 parents of adolescent and adult children. Data were collected pre‐ and post‐intervention. Through education and skills practice, parents were taught strategies with respect to meal support and symptom interruption as well as emotion coaching. Parents were also supported to identify and work through their own emotional blocks that could interfere with their supportive efforts. Analyses revealed a significant increase in parental self‐efficacy, a positive shift in parents’ attitudes regarding their role as emotion coach and a reduction in the fears associated with their involvement in treatment, including a decrease in self‐blame. Overall, this broad‐based, low‐cost intervention shows promise, and future research is warranted. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  Link to full text.

Lafrance Robinson, A., McCague, E. A., & Whissell, C. (2014). “That chair work thing was great”: A pilot study of group-based emotion-focused therapy for anxiety and depression. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 13(4), 263-277.

Abstract:  Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based treatment for depression and it has shown promise for the treatment of anxiety. Only one other published study has examined EFT in a group therapy setting. Using mixed-methods, the current study explored the feasibility and outcomes of an EFT group with adults referred for anxiety and depression. Pre-, post-, and 12-month follow-up measures of depression, anxiety, and difficulties in emotion regulation were administered in addition to a semi-structured interview at one-year follow-up. The analysis of individual interviews suggested improvements in various areas of functioning and quantitative data revealed a significant decrease in emotion regulation difficulties. The results of this study provide preliminary support for the application and further study of group-based EFT for clinical presentations of anxiety and depression.

Lafrance Robinson, A., McCague, B., & Whissell, C. (2012). Single-case investigation of an emotion-focused therapy group for anxiety and depression. International Journal of Integrative Psychotherapy, 3(1), 59-81.

Abstract:  Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based treatment for depression and trauma and has shown promise for other presentations including anxiety. Minimal research exists investigating the outcomes of emotion-focused therapy in a group setting. The current research presents a mixed-method single-case study of one client’s experiences and outcomes following a nine-week EFT group for depression and anxiety. Weekly measures of session-feelings evaluations were collected. Follow-up measures, including a qualitative interview, were administered one year post-treatment.  Pre-, post-, and follow-up measures assessed depression, anxiety, and emotional regulation. Results showed clinically significant improvements in anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation over time. Indirect and direct evidence of client change were detected. Five super-ordinate themes with sub-themes emerged from the qualitative analysis. Link to full text.