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Psychol Psychother. 2017 Mar;90(1):55-69. doi: 10.1111/papt.12095. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

Emotional response to a therapeutic technique: The social Broad Minded Affective Coping.

Author information

Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust, Prestwich, UK.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Early Intervention Service, Accrington, UK.
Compassion in Mind, Bude, Cornwall, UK.
Institute of Psychology, Health & Society, University of Liverpool, UK.



It has been suggested that savouring positive memories can generate positive emotions. Increasing positive emotion can have a range of benefits including reducing attention to and experiences of threat. This study investigated individuals' emotional reactions to a guided mental imagery task focussing on positive social memory called the 'social Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC)' technique. The study examined possible predictors of individuals' responses to this intervention.


An internet-based, within-group, repeated-measures design was used. One hundred and twenty-three participants completed self-report measures of self-attacking and social safeness/pleasure. They were then guided through the social BMAC. Participants completed state measures of positive and negative affect and social safeness/pleasure before and after the intervention. Forty-nine participants took part in a 2-week follow-up.


It was found that safe/warm positive affect, relaxed positive affect and feelings of social safeness increased following the social BMAC, whilst negative affect decreased. In addition, it was found that people scoring higher on inadequate self-attacking benefited most from this intervention. Changes in affect were not maintained at the 2-week follow-up.


The results provide preliminary support for the efficacy of the social BMAC in activating specific types of mood (those associated with safeness rather than drive/reward). This task has potential as part of therapeutic interventions directed at clinical groups, but further evaluation is needed.


The social Broad Minded Affective Coping (BMAC) was related to improvements in forms of positive affect linked to the affiliative system. This task may be helpful in inducing these positive mood states within therapy. Further evaluation comparing the BMAC to a control task is needed. Individuals with a greater fear of compassion or more hated-self-criticism may gain less from the task, although effects were small.


compassion; emotion; imagery; self-attacking; threat

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