The Effectiveness of the Unified Protocol on Emotional Dysregulation and Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies in Patients with Psychosomatic Disorders

Psychologist, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Assistant Professor, Integrative Functional Gastroenterology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Associate Professor, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

PhD Student, Psychosomatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: The unified treatment approach (UP) is an emotion-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy in which the main object of treatment is emotional processes. The aim of the present research was to examine the effectiveness of The Unified Protocol (UP) on emotional dysregulation and cognitive emotion regulation strategies in patients with psychosomatic disorders.

Methods: Emotion-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (ECBT), a unified treatment, with 12 weekly group sessions of 2 hours, was presented to 14 patients with psychosomatic complaints at the Subspecialty Center of Psychiatry in Isfahan in 2013. Pre- and post-intervention assessments were done by means of the self-report tests of Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) and Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ).

Results: Significant reductions in post-test scores of total emotional dysregulation (P < 0.01) as well as the factors of non-acceptance (P < 0.05) and strategy (P < 0.01) were seen, while the other factors (goal, impulse, awareness, and clarity) did not change. Moreover, a significant reduction was observed in the catastrophizing strategy score (P < 0.05), in comparison with other cognitive strategies.

Conclusion: This pilot study including 14 patients with psychosomatic disorders indicates that the Unified treatment approach is an effective treatment in improvement of emotional dysregulation and in reduction of utilizing maladaptive cognitive strategies.


  • The unified protocol
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Cognitive emotion regulation strategies
  • Psychosomatic disorders

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