Dr. Nicole Geschwind is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University. Her research focuses on the role of positive emotions in mental health. She is particularly interested in finding and evaluating ways to recruit positive emotions more efficiently in psychological therapies. Bridging the gap between science and clinical practice, she has co-authored a treatment manual on CBT with a focus on positive emotions (positive CBT). Her research includes both clinical and experimental studies.
Let’s have fun together! Experimental research on the value of an added positive emotion component in Imagery Rescripting
Imagery Rescripting (ImRs) aims to reduce trauma-related negative emotions and intrusions. According to the Broaden-and Build Theory and the Undoing Hypothesis, positive emotions help individuals to cope with the consequences of trauma. However, ImRs protocols vary in the extent to which they explicitly target positive emotions. We used a multiple-day design with a trauma film paradigm to investigate whether adding an explicit positive emotion component to ImRs improved treatment effects in a non-clinical sample. Participants (n=105) watched a trauma film (an excerpt from the film “Salo”, in which children were tortured and abused) on day 1. Then, participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a standard ImRs condition (rescripting the scene so it was safe for the children and non-distressing for the participant), an ImRs condition with an added explicit positive emotion component (ImRs+; imagining doing something joyful together with the children after making the situation safe/non-distressing), or a no-intervention control (NIC) condition. Participants received the condition-specific intervention on day 2, and completed additional post-assessments of positive and negative affect on day 3. In addition, participants recorded intrusions from the trauma film from day 1 until day 3. Results showed that, compared to the standard ImRs and NIC conditions, ImRs+ significantly and reliably increased positive emotions. In line with the instructions to imagine doing something joyful, increases were only seen for positive emotions of medium and high but not low arousal. Unfortunately, floor effects for intrusions limited the ability investigate the beneficial effects of improved positive affect on intrusion-related outcomes, and we found no significant between-group differences for these outcomes. In conclusion, adding a positive emotion component to ImRs reliably improved positive affect. More research is needed to determine whether adding a positive emotion component improves the efficacy of ImRs with regard to intrusion-related measures. Target Audience
Beginners, intermediate, and advanced-level participants