Integrating Heart Energy into Psychotherapy: Heart Assisted Therapy
John H. Diepold, Jr., Ph.D.
APA Poster Session, San Francisco, CA / August 9, 2018
Research with HAT is Ongoing
Since 2015, the research team at the University of Arizona, under the direction of Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., has been laying the groundwork for highly sophisticated studies of HAT and the HAT components. Several pilot studies and formal research have yielded exciting results pertaining to the influence of heart-breaths on the heart-brain-hands interactions! The emerging data is currently being prepared for publication.
** Diepold, J. H., Jr., Pfrommer, M., Siegert, E., & Thompson, J. A. (2015). The health effects of Heart Assisted Therapy-SR. Unpublished manuscript.
Study of the "Health Effects of Heart Assisted Therapy®-SR (HAT-SR)" was engaged. The research team of John H. Diepold, Jr., Ph.D. (Psychologist), Elisabeth A. Siegert, MD (Physician), and Maria E. Pfrommer, Ph.D., APN-C, RN, CNE (Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator) evaluated the changes in physical and psychological health of residents in a Continuing Care Retirement Community after a six week pilot study using HAT-SR. Heart Assisted Therapy®-SR is an abbreviated, three-step protocol for self-regulation (SR) for personal use by non-clinicians, which was derived from several components found in the HAT® model of psychotherapy. The participating residents were assigned randomly to either one of two treatment protocols and participated in pre and post treatment assessments.
Results: In a 6-week pilot study of HAT-SR conducted at the Evergreens Continuing Care Retirement Community, randomized geriatric subjects (n=19) were assigned to an intervention or control group and administered pre and post surveys. The Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale–Revised (CAMS-R) (Feldman et al, 2007) was used to measure four aspects of trait mindfulness, including attention, awareness, acceptance, and present-focus. Separate paired t-tests were conducted to compare CAMS-R scores pre- and post-intervention for the placebo and intervention groups. Results revealed a statistically significant increase from pre- (M = 36.75 ± 6.90) to post-intervention (M=38.76 ± 6.59) in CAMS scores for the intervention group, t (N=7) = -2.43, p < .05, but not for the control group, t (N=6) = .47, p = .65.
** Pfrommer, M., McConnell, E.S., Diepold, Jr. J. H., Siegert, E.A., & Thompson, J.A. (2015). Heart Assisted Therapy-Self-Regulation (HAT-SR) for caregivers of persons with dementia. Gerontology and Geriatric Research, S4:005 http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2167-7182.S4-005
Results: Mean scores were slightly improved (M=39.00 pre to M=39.73 post) after practicing HAT-SR for just one week, however, these results were not statistically significant. The End of Educational Activity survey revealed 100% of participants increased their knowledge base regarding mindfulness, 86% reported the educational activity was helpful in identifying the challenges faced by caregivers of patients with cognitive impairments, and over 85% of participants responded favorably to using HAT-SR as a tool to promote calm and relaxation and to improve their practice and patience.
Thirty-four participants were taught HAT-SR and asked to practice HAT-SR for only one week. Of the 34 participants there were 32 females and 2 males. Occupations represented included Registered Nursing (20%), Licensed Practical Nurses (9%), Certified Nursing Assistance (32%), Physicians (6%), Physical Therapist (6%), Administration (6%), Advanced Practice Nurse (3%), Coordinator, (3%) Activities Director (3%), and Housekeeper (3%).