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Recent research: articles from autumn journals

I read a lot of research.  When I find an article of particular interest I download it to my bibliographic database - Endnote - which currently contains over 21,400 abstracts.  I also regularly tweet about emerging research, so following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (click on the relevant icon at the top of this web page) will keep you up to speed with what I'm finding interesting.  Additionally you can view this highlighted research by visiting Scoop.it (click on the "it!" icon at the top of this page).  At Scoop.it, I stream publications into five overlapping topic areas: Cognitive & General Psychotherapy, Depression, Compassion & Mindfulness, Positive Psychology and Healthy Living.

Sessional client feedback: a launch pad for improving outcomes

Counselling & psychotherapy are often helpful.  In fact they are more effective than, for example, many interventions in cardiology or ...  .  Worryingly though ... despite a wealth of emerging research ... there has been little improvement in the outcomes we achieve.  The same, of course, could be said about pharmacological approaches to mental health problems.  Training, qualifications & years of experience make surprisingly little difference to the results therapists achieve.  Yet there is considerable variation in the success rates of different therapists ... although therapists themselves are poor judges of their own effectiveness.  In this situation, methodical, skilful use of feedback on client progress holds arguably more promise than any other way of improving therapist success rates. 

More to follow.

Maximizing exposure therapy

Michelle Craske & colleagues from the Anxiety Disorders Research Center of UCLA have, for many years, been publishing careful, challenging research on underlying mechanisms & on ways of boosting the effectiveness of exposure therapies for different forms of anxiety.  Craske's list of publications & research presentations runs to 31 pages and begins with a study on musical performance anxiety published in 1984.  As the presentation titles on her list show, for some years the majority of her many lectures at prestigious conferences all over the world have revolved around the theme of how to take evolving scientific findings about fear learning and use them to optimize exposure treatments for anxiety disorders.

Peer residential group, final morning: review, group function & the benefit of working with difficulties (4th post)

Yesterday we had the final morning of the 'long weekend' three day Scottish Mixed Group.  I have already written posts about arriving, and the first and the second full days.  This was the fourth year that we had met for these annual get-togethers that run from Friday evening to Monday lunchtime; and several of us from the group have also met for an occasional full day workshop during the year between residentials.

Peer residential group, second full day: meditation, turbulence, sharing, conflict & singing (3rd post)

I wrote yesterday about the first full day of this Scottish Peer Mixed Group, singing a celebration of what felt like one of the really special days of my life.  And then yesterday the river of the group slipped into more shadow for me, the emotional/interpersonal weather changing.  Squalls, rain, cross currents & turbulence.  One of the more difficult group days.  So fascinating this.  Metaphors can be very helpful when navigating challenges.  Important to be cautious & thoughtful with them though, because metaphors/models/charts aren't the reality itself.  What's actually going on is so complex & multi-layered in a group of eighteen people that it highlights the, at times, over-simplicity of operating charts ...