Lombardi DR, Button ML, Westra HA
Cogn Behav Ther 2014 Jan;43(1):12-21
How clients talk about change early in treatment has been found to be a potent predictor of their subsequent treatment success. Studies examining such client motivational language (arguments for and against change) have typically been conducted in the context of motivational interviewing for addictions. This study examined the capacity of client motivational language to predict treatment outcomes in the context of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for generalized anxiety. Client early in-session statements against change (counter-change talk) were found to be robust predictors of post-treatment worry scores and differentiated treatment responders from nonresponders. Moreover, client motivational language predicted outcomes beyond initial symptom severity and self-report measures of motivation. These results strongly support the relevance of client motivational language outcomes in CBT and provide a foundation for advancing research on motivation for change in a CBT context.