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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Translating Self-affirmation Interventions into Clinical Settings

by Rebecca Ferrer, PhD 3 CE Credits

Self-affirmation – a process by which individuals reflect on cherished personal values and how they fulfill or embody such values – has been shown to be an effective therapeutic intervention. For example, self-affirmation has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in reducing defensiveness to risk-related health communications. This is an important set of findings, because reduced defensiveness to such messages translates into increased disease risk perceptions and self-efficacy for preventive behaviors, as well as intentions to engage in preventive behavior, actual behavior change at extended follow-up, and improved behavior-related biological outcomes (e.g., reduced BMI). Self-affirmation has also been widely successful in reducing anxiety related to threatening academic testing situations, thereby improving performance. These robust effects of self-affirmation suggest that it could be a potent intervention for improving behavioral outcomes in a variety of clinical settings. This online course provides an empirical overview of the literature linking self-affirmation to positive outcomes relevant to clinical care. Different methods of encouraging self-affirmation in patients are addressed, providing a roadmap for implementing self-affirmation interventions within the therapeutic context. In addition, the course discusses situations in which self-affirmation may be particularly effective in motivating behavior change, as well as those in which self-affirmation may be less promising.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours and ASWB Clinical CE clock hours. NYSED CEs are NOT approved for this online course.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction/Relevance
  • Self-affirmation Theory: The Basic Underlying Mechanisms
  • Potential Clinical Applications of Self-affirmation
  • Facilitating Self-affirmation in a Clinical Setting
  • Spontaneous Self-affirmation
  • Clinical Limitations and Considerations
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Describe the theory of self-affirmation and its 2 important underlying mechanisms.
  • Identify 8 psychological symptoms/issues for which self-affirmation may be particularly effective (e.g., performance anxiety, depression/anxiety, changes in health-related regimens) and the evidence to support this.
  • Integrate at least 5 standard self-affirmation techniques into clinical practice to strengthen self-integrity and reduce psychological distress.