Client Perceptions of Corrective Experiences in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: An Exploratory Pilot Study

The purpose of the present study was to qualitatively investigate clients’ posttherapy accounts of corrective experiences—a proposed common factor and integrative principle of therapeutic change (Castonguay & Hill, 2012)—after completion of either a brief cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or motivational interviewing (MI) integrated with CBT (MI–CBT) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; Westra, Constantino, & Antony, 2016). Patients’ Perceptions of Corrective Experiences in Individual Therapy (PPCEIT; Constantino, Angus, Friedlander, Messer, & Heatherington, 2011) semistructured interviews were completed at therapy termination with 1 MI–CBT client and 1 CBT-only client who met the criteria for recovery. The PPCEIT interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed, and subjected to a grounded theory analysis using qualitative research methods software (ATLAS.ti). Findings indicated that both clients reported positive shifts in their experience of anxiety and increased agency in interpersonal relationships. In particular, the client undergoing integrative MI–CBT treatment reported increased confidence in her own ability to maintain positive changes posttherapy, while the CBT-only client expressed confidence in her application of CBT tools and skills to maintain therapy outcomes. The MI–CBT client attributed the shifts she experienced in therapy to an increased awareness and confidence in her own agency, indicating a potential corrective experience of self, whereas the CBT-only client attributed the positive shifts she experienced to the expertise provided by the therapist. Future research directions are discussed, in addition to implications of integrative CBT approaches, for enhanced clinical outcomes.