• icon-cloud
  • icon-facebook
  • icon-feed
  • icon-feed
  • icon-feed

Recent research: six papers with broad social implications – inequality, health insurance, spanking, bullying, and religion

Here are half a dozen recent research papers with broad social implications (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  Kay and colleagues publish on "Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be."  They report four studies showing how widely this motivation acts - with political power, public funding, gender demographics, and in attacks on those who are trying to work for change.  There's relevance here to the second paper by Wilper et al on "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults" estimating that, even after adjusting for income, education, health status, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol use, lack of insurance was associated with about 45,000 excess deaths annually in the United States among people aged 18 to 64.  Still in the area of inequality and discrimination, Wexler et al publish on

Autogenic training: seventh session

Here are handouts and recordings for the seventh Autogenic Training session.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page gives introductory details of this method.  In the face-to-face trainings that I run, I would typically start the two hour class by practising last time's Autogenic Training exercise together - in this case it would be the sixth session's belly focus.  I would then collect the trainees' record sheets and go round the group looking at how each individual's practice had been going and trouble shooting/sharing experiences.  This group discussion time can be very valuable.  It brings up all kinds of interesting points, encourages people to interact and help each other, and reinforces the sense that we are all on this learning/exploring journey together.

Some great attachment websites

Last week I wrote about "A couple of fine books on attachment".  Today I want to highlight what a fantastic resource the internet is - below are details of half a dozen websites that offer lots of attachment information, and also details of further websites that are helpful but more limited.

Recent research: NICE guidance on social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education

NICE is the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - "the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health." Although their guidance applies particularly to England and Wales, the opinions they come up with are very carefully weighed and can be of use to health (and education) professionals wherever they work.

A couple of fine, recent books on attachment

I wrote earlier this month on "Attachment, compassion & relationships".  I've been aware of John Bowlby's work on adult-child attachment for many years but, when I've approached it for insights that might help in my work as a psychotherapist, I've been put off by the complexity of assessment methods and variety of reported attachment styles, as well as by the rapidly growing size of the relevant academic literature.  As Jude Cassidy and Phillip Shaver write in their preface to the 2008 meister work "Handbook of attachment (2nd ed)" - see more details at the end of this blog post - "Anybody who conducts a literature search on the topic of 'attachment' will turn up more than 10,000 entries since 1975, and the entries will be spread across scores of physiological, clinical, developmental, and social psychology journals, will include numerous

Therapeutic use of film, music & poetry

A few days ago a client lent me a DVD of the film Groundhog Day.  It's a whimsical comedy about a guy who finds himself in a weird time loop where he has to repeat the same day again, and again, and again.  Luckily for him, he isn't condemned to act the same way every time.  He has choice.  A bit like each of us, he can experiment with trying different responses - and he gradually shifts from being a self-centred, unkind, impatient prima donna to someone much more caring, fun and worth being around.  My client talked about how much the film had helped him, and this led me to thinking again about the use of film as "therapy".

Recent research: two studies on depression, one on sex, & three on positive psychology

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  The first by Fournier et al is about whether to choose antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat depression.  They found that marriage, unemployment and having experienced a greater number of recent life events all predicted a better response to cognitive therapy than to antidepressants.  In the second study Luby et al looked at depression in children aged between 3 and 6 years old.  Worryingly they found forms of depression even in kids this young.  They also found over two years of follow-up that "Preschool depression, similar to childhood depression, is not a developmentally transient syndrome but rather shows chronicity and/or recurrence."  Hopefully this kind of research will mean these troubled children have a bit more chance of being identified and helped.

Autogenic training: sixth session

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow.