Clinical effectiveness of an integrative psychotherapy technique for the treatment of trauma: A phase I investigation of Heart Assisted Therapy

John H. Diepold, Gary E. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a need for more effective clinical interventions to assist individuals in healing from lingering negative and traumatic experiences. Furthermore, healing from such experiences and coping with residual symptoms are conceptionally separate yet important outcomes in psychotherapy. This report describes a Phase I investigation that evaluates an innovative integrative psychotherapy technique that promotes healing in addition to providing a method of coping while treatment is in progress. 43 patients were treated by 2 separate psychologists using Heart Assisted Therapy (HAT) in their private practices. There was a total of 81 specific upsetting and/or traumatic life events treated. All patients completed a standardized form to rate their degree of distress before and after HAT for each life event. Follow-up data were also collected ranging from 3 months to over 18 months post-treatment. Data analysis revealed the average number of HAT sessions for a treated incident was 3 – 4. The mean distress level was 7.55 before HAT and 0.00 after HAT for an exploratory study (n=13; p < .0000001), and 8.31 before HAT and 0.02 after HAT for a confirmatory study (n = 30; p < .0000001). These improvements were replicated across therapists, gender, and veteran status. The combined findings suggest that the integrative Heart Assisted Therapy model has important practical as well as theoretical significance. Future Phase II and Phase III studies can be performed to confirm the large magnitude of the patients perceived clinical effects and evaluate potential moderating variables such as expectancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExplore
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Heart assisted therapy
  • Heart energy
  • Integrative psychotherapy
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Nursing(all)
  • Chiropractics
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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