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The 5 minute 'Health' read - Psychedelics, recent research (February)

I read a fair amount of research and thought some people might be interested in recent studies that I've found helpful.  I plan to write an approximately 1,200 word (5 minutes to read) blog post pretty much every week, highlighting helpful material that has emerged in the previous couple of months.  I'll rotate through six topic areas ... Lifestyle, Positive Psychology, Relationships, Ageing, Psychedelics, and Meditation.  I also plan to write occasional posts where I go into more detail about particular related subject areas. 

Here, for example, are ... Psychedelics abstracts mostly published in the last few weeks.

McAlpine, R. G., G. Blackburne, et al. (2024). Development and psychometric validation of a novel scale for measuring ‘psychedelic preparedness’. Scientific Reports 14(1): 3280.   

A wide-angle assessment of emotional states

My all-time favorite topic in positive psychology is the study of positive emotions. I'm fascinated by how pleasant experiences, which can be so subtle and fleeting, can add up over time to change who we become. I'm especially excited these days about investigating how positive emotions change the very ways that our cells form and function to keep us healthy.  Barbara Fredrickson

Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not easy.   Aristotle

We transmit and catch moods from each other in what amounts to a subterranean economy of the psyche in which some encounters are toxic, some nourishing.    Daniel Goleman

Emotions give life colour & vitality.  Yet we are often relatively unaware of our emotional states.

Vitality project - measurement issues

                                   What gets measured, gets managed.   Peter Drucker

If one's going to put a good deal of effort into measuring and so better managing something, then it's important that what one is measuring is significant.  The earlier (and first) blog post in this series - Background & importance of a three month vitality projecthighlights several reasons why nourishing zest & vitality is likely to be very worthwhile.  So how can one measure one's level of zest/vitality and how track whether the things we do to try to increase this very important quality are actually helping or not?

Trip-sitting for a dear friend: before

“ Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ” - Thomas Edison

               

                  Trip-sitting for a dear friend: before

               "Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff?"   Lao Tzu

I'm just off to the Netherlands with a dear friend.  They're planning to take psychedelic truffles and have asked me to 'trip-sit' for them.  Thinking about the different things I can do to support them, I came up with the somewhat 'clunky' acronym IDSPM. It stands for Information, Discussion, Safety, Practicalities & Measurement.  

How to live well - a shared exploration: course questionnaires

I'm running a ten-session training, starting next week, called "How to live well - a shared exploration".  Here's a link to a description of the first evening - "How to live well: 1st meeting - values, self-determination theory, roles & goals".  Before, during & after the course, there's encouragement to fill in questionnaires.  This is suggested for at least three reasons.  One is that when we measure something, we tend to pay more attention to it.  Keeping track is often a therapeutic intervention in its own right.  Secondly we're using questionnaires to see if changes in our behaviours actually produce the improvements we're hoping for. 

A better way to assess & monitor progress with OCD

When assessing and monitoring progress with OCD sufferers, originally I used the Y-BOCS questionnaire.  Then some years ago I switched to using the OCI (distress scale).  This is fine ... it's the officially recommended OCD questionnaire by IAPT, the English Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies initiative (see pages 39-41 of their freely downloadable Appendices and helpful resources manual).  But a hassle about the 42-item OCI is that it's time consuming, taking about 12 minutes to complete and a fair amount of time to review & score.  I've now shifted to using the 18-item OCI-R (see Veale et al, 2016 below)

Warwick BABCP conference: pre-conference workshop on anger (1st post)

OK, the annual summer British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies conference has come around again and this year it is back at Warwick University.  As usual there are a wealth of one-day pre-conference workshops - a dozen in all this year.  I'm off in a few minutes to Ray Novaco & John Taylor presenting on "Anger dysregulation: assessment, case formulation, and treatment".  

Introduction & monitoring

The impediment to action advances the action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.

- Marcus Aurelius

Here are a series of forms that I use almost every session with clients, or for screening and orientation at the start of therapy:

Assessment & monitoring questionnaires for CBT treatment of social anxiety disorder

I went to a workshop on the treatment of social anxiety disorder with David Clark in July.  It was very helpful.  I've listed assessment & monitoring questionnaires that he recommended below:

As a general measure to assess and track changes in social anxiety severity, the freely available Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) is the questionnaire recommended by the England & Wales NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) "outcomes toolkit".  Interestingly David seems to prefer the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) probably because it makes a pretty full job of assessing both anxiety and avoidance.  

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