An evaluation of compassion focused group psychotherapy for those at the ‘edge of therapeutic opportunity’

Lucre, Kate (2021). An evaluation of compassion focused group psychotherapy for those at the ‘edge of therapeutic opportunity’. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The research aimed to evaluate an exploratory Compassion Focused Group Psychotherapy Program and the impact on participants’ experiences of self-criticism, usage of services and general wellbeing. Participants included patients with a history of complex Attachment and Relational Trauma (A&RT), who might attract a diagnosis of personality disorder.

This study utilised a quasi – experimental non-randomised within subject controlled design for the evaluation of the efficacy of Compassion Focused Group Psychotherapy (CFGP). In addition, a qualitative study explored the participants’ experience of this treatment.

Participants were recruited from secondary care and tertiary care services to facilitate a comparison of the two interventions. One Cohort was offered a 12-week Preparation and Engagement intervention (PEG) followed by a 40-week Compassion Focused Trauma Group intervention (CFTG), whilst the other Cohort was offered a 12-week Preparation and Engagement intervention (PEG) and Treatment As Usual (TAU) for 40 weeks. Both Cohorts were followed up after 12 months during which period they received TAU.

A comprehensive selection of self-report measures were administered for completion at various points within the therapeutic process and following completion of the group interventions. The data from these measures were analysed and presented along with the qualitative data.

A sub-sample from the PEG + CFTG Cohort only were invited to participate in a semi structured interview following completion of their treatment. The qualitative data from these interviews was analysed according to a Thematic Analysis protocol.

The results of the research showed that the provision of a long term, slow paced, Compassion Focused Group Psychotherapy intervention, enabled participants to make significant changes across all measures which were maintained at 12 month follow up. These data were supported by a significant reduction in service usage and a significant increase in engagement in employment and education. Coupled with key messages from the qualitative analysis about the importance of safeness, structure and space to return to early trauma as a mechanism for change and psychological growth.

In contrast, participants who received a short-term version of the intervention, initially made dramatic gains but these were not maintained over time.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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