Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 March 2020
Emotional avoidance is a target process, offered by modern psychotherapies. Emotional exposure is often difficult to put in place when there is a major cognitive and behavioral avoidance. Education on emotional processes is necessary but often insufficient during individual follow-up.
The longitudinal study seeks to verify whether work on exposure and emotional identification influences the decreased level of anxiety and depression.
Introduction of interoceptive exposition in psychotherapy decreases the frequency of emotional avoidance.
Group psychotherapy composed of two modules: interoceptive exposure and emotional identification was proposed to patients with anxiety and depressive disorders. A group of 6 participants was evaluated at three times: T0 before the start of the group, T1 post-module 1 and T2 post-group. Assessments of HAMA anxiety, MADRS depression, QEC cognitive avoidance, UPPS impulsivity, MCQ-30 metacognition and emotional regulation REQ-21 have been proposed.
Significant differences were observed between pre- and post-intervention scores (Friedman test). The HAMA anxiety rate (P = 0.006) and the MADRS depression (P = 0.047) decreased. Participants in the group were less likely to use QEC thought substitution (P = 0.009) and urgency in their UPPS reactions (P = 0.03). Moreover, their external dysfunction REQ. 21 decreases (P = 0.03).
Faced with emotional avoidance, work on emotional identification requires prior interoceptive exposure. It is a first stage of work that involves sensitizing to the presence of emotional bodily sensations. Group work facilitates exposure to emotion and its identification; decentration leading to emotional intensity decrease. The work on the interoceptive exhibition facilitates the emotional exposure while participating in the deactivation of the associative emotional network.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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