Psychological and physiological effects of emotion focused training for self-compassion and self-protection

  • Júlia Halamová | julia.halamova@gmail.com Institute of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Jana Koróniová Institute of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Martin Kanovský Institute of Social Anthropology, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Mária Kénesy Túniyová Institute of Experimental Psychology, Center of Social and Psychological Sciences, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • Nuriye Kupeli Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Emotion Focused Training for Self-Compassion and Self-Protection (EFT-SCP) is a novel intervention developed on the basis of the latest findings on self-criticism from Emotion-focused therapy and existing programs designed to cultivate compassion. EFT-SCP is designed to encourage participants to cultivate self-compassion and protective anger as a way of reducing selfcriticism. Our goal was to investigate the effect of this group-based intervention on self-criticism, self-protection, and self-compassion. A total of 73 students were assigned to the EFT-SCP intervention (n=19), no-treatment control (n=34) or to an active control group (n=20). The intervention group met weekly for 1.5 hours and were instructed to incorporate EFT-SCP tasks into their daily life for 12 weeks. Whilst the no-treatment group did not undergo an intervention, the active control group completed an adapted expressive writing task once a week. In addition to the assessment of heart rate variability during imagery tasks, participants also completed self-reported measures of self-compassion and self-criticism before and after the intervention. Compared with both control groups, the intervention group showed a significant increase in heart rate variability following EFT-SCP (during self-critical imagery, P=.049; probability of superiority was .63, and during self-compassionate imagery P=.007; probability of superiority was .62, both effect sizes were medium) and significant decreases in self-criticism (Hated Self P=.017; .34 and Inadequate Self P<.001; .33) and selfuncompassionate responding (P<.001; .39). All three effect sizes were small. Participating in EFT-SCP had a positive effect on psychological and physiological outcomes.

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Published
2019-07-30
Section
Articles
Keywords:
Self-criticism, Self-reassurance, Self-compassion, Emotion-focused therapy, Heart rate variability, Intervention
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How to Cite
Halamová, J., Koróniová, J., Kanovský, M., Kénesy Túniyová, M., & Kupeli, N. (2019). Psychological and physiological effects of emotion focused training for self-compassion and self-protection. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2019.358