Therapist interventions and emotional processing in attachment-based family therapy for unresolved anger.

A growing body of research suggests that emotional processing is a central and common change mechanism across various types of therapies (Diener & Hilsenroth, 2009; Foa, Huppert, & Cahill, 2006; Greenberg, 2010), including attachment-based family therapy (Diamond, Shahar, Sabo, & Tsvieli, 2016). The purpose of this study was to examine which therapist interventions facilitated productive emotional processing in a sample of 15 young adults receiving attachment-based family therapy (Diamond, Diamond, & Levy, 2014) for unresolved anger toward a parent, and which therapist interventions led to a discontinuation of productive emotional processing once it had begun. Therapist interventions and productive emotional processing were measured during the course of individual, alliance-building sessions with the young adult. Results indicate that young adults’ productive emotional processing occurred at a rate significantly greater than chance following therapists’ focus on vulnerable emotions, focus on attachment needs, and empty-chair interventions. In contrast, therapists’ focus on clients’ rejecting anger preceded the discontinuation of such processing at rates significantly greater than chance. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)