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J Clin Psychol. 2017 Feb;73(2):168-181. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22430.

Client Retrospective Accounts of Corrective Experiences in Motivational Interviewing Integrated With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

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  • 1York University.


A corrective experience (CE) is one "in which a person comes to understand or experience affectively an event or relationship in a different and unexpected way" (Castonguay & Hill, 2012, p. 5). CEs disconfirm clients' expectations based on past problematic experiences, and can be emotional, relational, behavioral, and/or cognitive. This qualitative study explored corrective shifts among recovered participants (N = 8) who had received motivational interviewing (MI) integrated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in a randomized controlled trial comparing CBT alone to MI-CBT for generalized anxiety disorder (Westra, Constantino, & Antony, 2016). We administered a posttherapy interview querying their experience of, and explanations for, any shifts in therapy. Grounded theory analysis yielded three core themes: in command of the worry train, experiencing myself in new ways in therapy, and oriented toward change. Findings are discussed in terms of MI theory, and clinical implications for therapists are provided.


corrective experience; generalized anxiety disorder; grounded theory; motivational interviewing

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