David M. Fresco, Department of Psychological Sciences, Kent State University
Despite extensive efficacy findings, a sizable subgroup of individuals remains refractory to CBT. In particular, patients with “distress disorders” (generalized anxiety disorder and/or major depressive disorder) evidence suboptimal treatment response coupled with reduced life functioning and satisfaction. These patients are often characterized by intense emotional experiences resulting in an inordinately cautious manner that favors protection over reward as well as perseverative cognition (i.e., worry, rumination) that disrupts new contextual learning. Using this hypothesized profile as a framework, Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT) was developed as a theoretically-derived, evidence based, treatment integrating principles from traditional and contemporary CBT with basic and translational findings from affect science to offer a blueprint for improving intervention by focusing on the motivational responses and corresponding regulatory characteristics of individuals with distress disorders. This presentation will offer an introduction to ERT by reviewing open-label and randomized controlled trial findings as well as recent studies that begin to elucidate the neurobehavioral and peripheral psychophysiological markers for the proposed underlying mechanisms.