Emotion Regulation: An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study on the Change and Grow Therapeutic Model
Emotion dysregulation has been linked to psychopathology in general and, in particular, to substance abuse and other addiction-related disorders, such as eating disorders, impulsive disorder, and gambling. It has been proposed that a lessening of the difficulties in emotion regulation can have a significant positive impact on the treatment of these disorders. The present study explores the association between the progress in the Change & Grow® therapeutic model (5 stages of treatment), and the decrease in the difficulties related to emotion regulation. The Change & Grow® model has five stages of treatment according to the model’s five principles (Truth, Acceptance, Gratitude, Love and Responsibility) and incorporates different therapeutic approaches such as positive psychology, cognitive and behavioral therapy and third generation therapies. The main objective is to understand the impact of the presented therapeutic model on difficulties in emotion regulation in patients with addiction-related disorders. The exploratory study has a cross-sectional design. Participants were 44 (15 women and 29 men) Portuguese patients in the residential Villa Ramadas International Treatment Centre. The instrument used was the Portuguese version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), which measures six dimensions of emotion regulation (Strategies, Non-acceptance, Awareness, Impulse, Goals, and Clarity). The mean rank scores for both the DERS total score and the Impulse subscale showed statistically significant differences according to Stage of Treatment/Principles. Furthermore, Stage of Treatment/Principles held a negative correlation with the scores of the Non-acceptance and Impulse subscales, as well as the DERS total score. The results indicate that the Change & Grow® model seems to have an impact in lessening the patient’s difficulties in emotion regulation. The Impulse dimension suffered the greater impact, which supports the well-known relevance of impulse control, or related difficulties, in addiction-related disorders.
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