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Working with traumatic memories: KISS (keep it simple, stupid) and the virtues of straightforward prolonged exposure

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."  Leonardo da Vinci

"It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."  Antoine de Sainte Exupery 

I have just written a series of three posts on Arntz & Jacob's new book "Schema therapy in practice"  This led to a query about when we should use direct exposure to trauma memories, when introduce more deliberate cognitive restructuring of linked trauma beliefs, and when add in more complex rescripting as, for example, described by Arntz & Jacob?

BABCP spring meeting: David Barlow's unified protocol - emotional avoidance, edb's & physical sensation tolerance (fifth post)

This is the fifth in a series of posts about David Barlow & colleagues' new unified protocol for treatment of anxiety, depression & related emotional disorders.  The fourth post was on "Emotional awareness training & cognitive reappraisal" and this one is on the fifth & sixth modules in the eight module training - "Emotional avoidance & emotion driven behaviours (EDB's)" (typically taking one to three treatment sessions) and "Awareness & tolerance of physical sensations" (typically taking just one treatment session).

Attachment, compassion & relationships

Well I didn't sleep too well last night.  Catero, my wife, and I went to the cinema yesterday evening and watched "500 Days of Summer" . I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about relationships.  The "Summer" of the title is a woman who doesn't believe in romantic love.  She's kind of charming and maddening and, as I biked away from the cinema, I wondered how I would have approached treating her if she had come to me for therapy!  Interestingly a newspaper reviewer commented that the film is "weirdly incurious about the inner life of its female lead".

Four aspects of helpful inner focus: 2.) nourishing positive states (part A)

Ten days ago, on this blog, I wrote about "Reducing negative states" as one aspect of a simple model entitled "Four aspects of helpful inner focus" (see below).  The model is a method I've evolved to help me organize and think about the many facets of deliberately induced altered states of consciousness.  I'm using terms loosely here.  I remember a hypnotist I came across many years ago, calling himself a "de-hypnotist".  He claimed that we walk around "hypnotised" most of the time and that he saw his job as trying to help us "wake up" from this hypnosis.  I mention this to illustrate how terms in this field - for example "inner focus" and "altered state of consciousness" - tend to creak rather a lot if one pushes at them for precise meanings. 

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