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Cure Emetophobia & Thrive Book

Comments from people who have overcome their emetophobia


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Exploring The Efficacy of The ‘Thrive Programme’ with Emetophobic Clients: Results of a Survey

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We have recently completed a comprehensive examination of Emetophobia and how its symptomology is affected after following a course of the Thrive Programme with one of our Approved and Licensed Thrive Consultants. A summary of the research is provided below. You can also download the full report, by scrolling down the page.

Summary of the research

Background: There has not been much research into the treatment of emetophobia. Veale and Lambrou (2006, p. 139) have stated that “clinicians generally regard it as challenging to treat because of high drop out or a poor response to treatment.” To date, the largest published study exploring the treatment of a fear of vomiting involved only seven participants (Philips, 1985), highlighting that larger scale studies are needed. Additionally, there is likely to be a reporting bias of successful treatment outcomes within the research literature. Veale and Lambrou (2006) found that twenty-nine percent of their sample of vomit phobics had received some form of therapy for their fear, which overall they rated as largely ineffective.

Aims of this study: Rob Kelly has developed a cognitive training programme, the Thrive Programme, which has been designed to help sufferers with a wide range of psychological disorders. Follow-up of and feedback from clients suggested that the Thrive Programme was highly effective at reducing emetophobia symptoms. The efficacy had not, however, been systematically explored. This study, thus, aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the Thrive Programme with emetophobic clients.

Participants: Participants were 35 paying clients with emetophobia, who had undertaken the Thrive Programme. A comparison group included 30 paying clients with other psychological disorders and problems (including general anxiety, social anxiety, sexual problems, depression and weight loss).

Methods: All participants undertook the Thrive Programme. Respondents completed a post-treatment questionnaire online, which explored their symptom severity before and after completing the Thrive Programme. All participants were, also, asked to fill in their scores for measures of locus of control, self-esteem and social anxiety, before and after completing the programme.

Results: The emetophobic participants reported that their phobia had started at a mean age of 11 years. On average, these clients had been suffering from their fear for 24 years. All initially rated their emetophobia as having a ‘severe’ impact upon their lives (on a four point scale which included: little to no; modest; significant; severe). This was in contrast to the comparison group, of whom the majority (23, 76.67%) rated their symptoms as having a significant impact. Five (16.67%) of the comparison group rated their symptoms as severe and two (6.67%) rated them as having a modest impact on their lives. The emetophobic participants also completed a new measure of emetophobia severity (ESS), where higher scores represented greater severity and impairment (possible range 0 to 30). Participants scored an average of 24.31 (range 18 to 30). A statistical analysis found that the emetophobic participants had a significantly more external locus of control compared to the comparison group. They also had significantly higher social anxiety scores. Levels of self-esteem were comparable between the groups.

The treatment response of the emetophobic participants was also explored. After completing the Thrive Programme, the majority (30, 85.71%) of the emetophobic participants rated their symptoms as having little to no impact on their lives. The remaining five (14.29%) rated them as having a modest impact. A statistical analysis found a significant decrease in the emetophobic participants’ emetophobia symptom severity scores post the Thrive Programme compared to their initial scores. The initial and final locus of control, self-esteem and social anxiety scores of the emetophobic participants were also compared. Participants’ locus of control scores became significantly more internal after completing the Thrive Programme. There was a decrease in the participants’ social anxiety scores (where a higher score represented greater social anxiety) and participants’ self-esteem was also raised at the end of the programme.

Conclusions: The results of this survey suggested that the Thrive Programme is a highly promising treatment for emetophobia. The findings support the notion that interventions that challenge emetophobics’ unhelpful beliefs and thinking styles can be successful in substantially improving symptoms. Future research is planned to, firstly, further explore the relationship of locus of control, self-esteem and social anxiety to emetophobia and, secondly, to continue to probe the efficacy of Thrive Programme.

Below you will find a downloadable copy of the full research report: