What works, from the therapists’ perspective, in the treatment of medically unexplained somatic symptoms

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Rok publikování 2018
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis Objectives: Psychotherapy of medically unexplained physical somatic symptoms (MUPS) is an established area of practice with an evidence of effectiveness. Yet, there is a lack of research that explores mechanisms which lead to improvements in patients with MUPS. Some variables associated with the effectiveness of psychotherapy in MUPS received empirical support (e.g., symptom acceptance and emotional awareness). However, these variables were mostly studied in isolation and there is a lack of any overarching integration. One of the ways which may contribute to such an integration is asking the psychotherapists experienced in the treatment of people with MUPS about their conceptualizations, treatment plans, and expected mechanisms of effect. The goal of the presentation is to address this area, which has not been sufficiently explored yet. Method: Psychotherapists (N = 28) with different theoretical orientations and with at least 5 years of experience in the treatment of MUPS were recruited and interviewed using a semi-structured protocol. The data was analyzed using grounded theory analytic procedures. Results and conclusion: An analysis of a sub-sample of 8 Gestalt psychotherapists was presented. Change mechanisms and treatment principles reflected by the psychotherapists were reported as a stage model. The starting treatment phase (focusing on the working alliance and the acceptance of somatic symptoms as having a psychological component), was followed by the crucial phase of transition towards the middle "working phase", in which the psychosocial background of MUPS was explored and changes in the clients' lives introduced. The results were discussed in relation to the theory of common factors in psychotherapy and the conceptualization of clinical strategies by Goldfried.
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