The use of a self-affirmation intervention and group therapy to increase psychological help-seeking
The self-stigma of seeking help is a significant barrier to utilizing psychotherapy (Vogel, Wade, & Haake, 2006). Self-stigma may also impair therapeutic factors from emerging during the therapy process itself (Kendra, Mohr, & Pollard, 2014). In order to manage fears of negative reactions, clients may conceal painful emotions, interfering with therapeutic work (Corrigan & Rao, 2012). This may help explain why the majority of clients only attend one session (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2018). Research has provided evidence for the ability of a self-affirmation intervention to reduce self-stigma and, via an indirect effect, increase anticipated benefits and decrease anticipated risks of self-disclosure among clients about to meet for a psychotherapy intake (Seidman, Lannin, Heath, & Vogel, 2018). However, research is needed to examine if this intervention influences actual behaviors in a therapy session. In addition, there is no known research on its effect on post-session perceptions of therapy or openness to continued help-seeking. This study tested the utility of a self-affirmation intervention to improve group therapy process variables (e.g., cohesion) and increase openness to continued help-seeking (i.e., less public stigma, self-stigma, increased attitudes and intentions). This study also sought to replicate and extend upon findings from a previous study (Wade et al., 2011), which demonstrated that attending a single session of group therapy reduces self-stigma compared to a waitlist condition.