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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Booster sessions : a strategy for maintaining change in an emotionally-focused marital therapy Elbe, Norma-Jean


The primary purpose of this follow-up study was to was investigate whether couples who had regressed after receiving an Emotionally Focused couples therapy combined with a communication skills training component (EFT+CT) would increase in scores on measures of marital adjustment, communication, and target complaint improvement after receiving four booster sessions in communication skills training. The secondary purpose was to investigate whether receiving the booster sessions would enhance the maintenance of the EFT+CT couples' gains. A comparative crossover control design was used to test the hypotheses in this study. Ten volunteer couples from the EFT+CT condition in James' (1988) study were randomly assigned either to a first-booster group (FB), or a delayed booster group (DB). Both groups were measured at pre-test and then the booster sessions were administered to the FB group while the DB group served as an untreated wait-list control. Both groups were measured again at post-test. Next, a treatment crossover occurred at which time the booster sessions were administered to the DB group and the FB group entered a four month follow-up period. Final measures were taken for both groups at the end of the follow-up period. The booster sessions were administered by four therapists who were randomly assigned to couples in each group. Ratings of therapists' interventions confirmed the treatment integrity of the CT booster sessions in both groups. Tests of equivalence showed no significant differences between the FB and DB groups at pre-test on the measure of marital adjustment. The results indicated that the primary hypothesis was partially supported. A statistically significant Time main effect was found on measures of marital adjustment and target complaint improvement when the collapsed pre-test and post-test scores for the FB and DB groups were compared. The results supported the secondary hypothesis. No significant differences were found on the dependent measures, for the FB group, between the booster post-test and follow-up occasions or between booster post-test and EFT+CT post-test occasions. As an exploratory study, this investigation provides provisional support for the efficacy of booster sessions in increasing and maintaining moderately distressed couples' treatment gains following an Emotionally Focused marital therapy.

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