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Therapists' Emotional Reactions to Patients as a Mediator in Cognitive Behavioural Treatment of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia

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The aims of this study were to examine whether therapists' emotional reactions to their patients mediate the effect of personality disorders and interpersonal problem behaviours on the outcome of treatment, focusing on an Axis I disorder; and whether therapists' reactions mediate the effect of personality disorders on the course of interpersonal problems. Therapists completed a checklist of emotional reactions to individual patients after the end of residential cognitive or guided mastery therapy for 46 inpatients with panic disorder with agoraphobia. The severity of DSM‐III‐R personality disorder was related to therapists' insecurity feelings, but not to interest and anger. A higher level of therapists' insecurity feelings was related to less reduction in self‐reported agoraphobic avoidance during treatment, whereas therapists' emotions were unrelated to symptomatic course after treatment. Therapists' insecurity feelings appeared partly to mediate the relationship between patients' severity of personality disorder and persistence of patients' interpersonal dominance and nurturance problems.

Keywords: agoraphobic avoidance; interpersonal problems; personality disorder; therapists' emotional reactions

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Research Institute, Modum Bad, Vikersund, Norway 2: Division of Psychiatry, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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