"I am not only a disease, I am so much more". Patients with rheumatic diseases' experiences of an emotion-focused group intervention

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Dec;85(3):419-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.12.032. Epub 2011 Feb 5.


Objective: To obtain understanding of how patients with rheumatic diseases experienced participation in an emotion-focused group intervention in terms of influences on their emotional well-being and coping behavior and the processes whereby these influences arose.

Methods: The intervention, Vitality Training (VTP), was conducted in 10 group sessions over 4 months. Qualitative data were collected from 10 focus group interviews (n=69) two weeks after the intervention. Data were analyzed with a qualitative content analysis approach.

Results: Five categories were identified from the analyses: (1) recognizing oneself as both ill and healthy, (2) recognizing own emotions, (3) awareness of own needs, (4) being part of a community and (5) being recognized as a credible patient.

Conclusion: The VTP addressed participants' awareness of emotional and bodily reactions in a process-oriented and supportive group. The program had enhanced participants' recognition of their disease-related emotions and helped them to more actively relate to their own needs.

Practical implications: This study has highlighted how a process-oriented group intervention that combines topics related to life, rather than disease, and learning methods that enhance emotional awareness and adaptive emotional expression can enhance emotional well-being and coping behavior in patients with rheumatic diseases.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Awareness*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rheumatic Diseases / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology