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Self-affirmation as a minimal intervention in clinical standard health care provision

Human beings have a fundamental urge to maintain their personal integrity in the global world of today. Events that might endanger their self-integrity can lead to stress and self-defense that may hinder performance and personal development. An intervention, known as self-affirmation, has the potential to minimize or lower these negative effects.

Self-affirmation interventions

Self-affirmation interventions are typically structured in a way that patients disclose or report their core values through a short survey. The herein contained hidden intervention leads to a more expansive view on the inner self and on individually available resources. This hidden intervention reduces the potential threat of personal integrity. Accurately-timed self-affirmation interventions have shown to bring positive changes in educational attainment, health and social relationships. This is often related to advantages that may last for several months or years. Like other interventions and experiences, self-affirmation interventions can bring long-term advantages if they meet a positive feedback-loop between the self-system and the social system.

Research at the Academic Clinic

In our current research project at the Academic Clinic, new clients complete a self-affirmation survey supplemented by an optimism-survey, prior to entering any psychotherapeutic counselling and/or intervention setting. Participants are chosen randomly. Every second client can complete the survey, data are collected electronically. The aim of this project is to understand the positive effects of self-affirmation interventions in patients requiring psychological treatment and how this affects the treatment processes and -duration.  

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schmidt

Prof. Dr. Alexander Schmidt

Fon:  040 36122649321
Fax:  040 361226430

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Further information

  • German