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A clinical treatment intervention for dysphoria: externalizing metaphors therapy.

Review article
McGuinty E, et al. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2014 Sep-Oct.

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore a novel, short-term treatment intervention for internalizing behaviours. This intervention is primarily based upon an externalizing process, transforming of metaphoric imagery, and shifting of underlying maladaptive emotional schemas. This article addresses the clinical population of children and youth, specifically through outlining the protocol, externalizing metaphors therapy. A selective review of significant works regarding the efficacy of short-term therapy was conducted, including the process of change within narrative therapy. It is proposed that two specific processes account for the mental health change experienced by clients who receive this new treatment intervention: (1) externalization of problems and (2) purposeful client-generated metaphor manipulation, impacting upon underlying schemas. From these theoretical constructs, the present article outlines a three-session treatment protocol that manualizes these key clinical processes. A case study is presented to illustrate this intervention for anxiety and depression. Further clinical research is underway to address the testable hypotheses resulting from the current theoretical model. Clinical trials in brief psychotherapy are suggested to empirically evaluate the efficacy of this new treatment intervention for dysphoria.

KEY PRACTITIONER MESSAGE: This article outlines a short-term treatment intervention for anxiety and depression (dysphoira) through a novel 3-session model, where the clinician-practitioner can obtain competency through a one-day workshop.Its relevance for the clinical researcher and the mental health community is in its versatility in addressing internalizing behavior for four clinical populations: (1) children and adolescents; (2) children and adolescents on the autism spectrum; (3) adults in general; and, (4) adults with a dual-diagnosis. The treatment protocol described within is based upon the externalizing and deconstructive properties of Narrative Therapy, and the transformation of metaphoric imagery of Metaphor Therapy; both of which have little empirical support with narrative practices gaining international attention and widespread usage - through brief therapy, long-term therapy, and walk-in clinics in North America. For the first time, the theoretical constructs of the 3-session model are described and a case example illustrates the interlinking concepts.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID

23686568 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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