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Recent research: six papers relevant to psychotherapy

Here are six studies relevant to improving psychotherapy outcomes.  Brewin et al report on using imagery-based interventions to help people with depressioin.  Lydiard et al highlight the importance of sleep-related disturbances as a treatment target in PTSD.  McCrady and colleagues show that working with couples rather than just individuals seems more effective when using behavioural therapy to help women with alcohol use disorders.  Geerts et al describe rather amazing research investigating "The role of parental bonding and nonverbal communication in the short-term treatment response was investigated in 104 depressed outpatients. At baseline patients completed the Parental Bonding Instrument. We registered the nonverbal involvement behaviour of patients and interviewers from video recordings of baseline clinical interviews and calculated the convergence between patient-interviewer behaviour over the interview ... As hypothesized, low maternal care and high paternal overprotection predicted a poor response to an 8-week treatment.  Maternal care was positively correlated with nonverbal convergence. Moreover, convergence moderated the relationship between maternal care and the response to treatment: Lack of convergence between patients and interviewers turned out to annul the positive effects of maternal care on the treatment response.

Oregon University research on emotional regulation, interpersonal perception & personality

I love it when I follow up ideas from a new research paper and then break through into a whole area of helpful knowledge that I haven't come across before.  This happened recently with the paper by Srivastava and colleagues (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This then linked me through to James Gross's work at Stanford, but more on that in next week's post.

Handouts & questionnaires for self-determination theory (SDT), an upgrade

I'm a big fan of self-determination theory (SDT).  I've posted before on SDT.  See, for example, the September post from last year with its links to a lecture I've given and to a number of handouts.  See too Wellbeing, time management & self-determination in the website's Good Knowledge handouts section.

I have now added a series of three questionnaires - with relevant background information - to the Good Knowledge handouts.  The questionnaires are downloaded, and reformatted, from the excellent Self-Determination website at www.psych.rochester.edu/SDT .  They are:

Basic need satisfaction scale - this 21-item scale assesses how well the three basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence & relatedness are being met. 

Handouts & questionnaires for healthy sexuality, sexual dysfunctions, and for abuse

Here are a series of handouts,questionnaires and book suggestions for healthy sexuality, for sexual dysfunctions, and for abuse screening. 

Touch, sex & caring - this two page Word handout is rather dated now, but still makes a series of very valid points.

New Year’s resolution – would you like to be happier?

So here's a blast from the past ... that could be fun and useful for a New Year's resolution.  I first came across Michael Fordyce's research year's ago (Fordyce 1977; Fordyce 1983).  It was probably the first serious scientific exploration of how to help people become happier that I'd ever read.  The approach involves a training called the "Fourteen Fundamentals".  These are fourteen characteristics of happy people, extracted from research, that Fordyce argued most people could develop for themselves.  The "Fundamentals" are: 1.) Be more active and keep busy.  2.) Spend more time socializing.  3.) Be productive at meaningful work.  4.) Get better organized and plan things out.  5.) Stop worrying.  6.) Lower your expectations and aspirations.  7.) Develop positive optimistic thinking.  8.) Get present orientated.  9.) WOAHP - work on a healthy personality. 10.) Develop an outgoing, social personality.  11.) Be yourself.  12.) Eliminate negative feelings and problems.  13.) Close relationships are the #1 source of happiness. 14.) VALHAP (value happiness) - the "secret fundamental".

Recent research: six studies on couples - attraction, touch, viewpoint, comparison, empathy & sex

Here are half a dozen recent studies on men & women.  Elliot & Niesta found that red, relative to other colours, lead men to view women as "more attractive and sexually desirable".  Holt-Lundstad & colleagues randomized couples to a "support enhancement intervention" involving shared gentle massage for 30 minutes three times weekly or a control group.  There were encouraging effects of the "warm touch" on multiple stress-sensitive systems including husbands' blood pressure.  Koo et al found that writing about how something good might not have happened (e.g. how one might never have met one's romantic partner) produced more satisfaction (with the relationship) than writing about how the positive event actually had happened (e.g.

Recent research: egosystem & ecosystem

In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.   Beatles

This is essentially the Beatles closing statement. It is the last lyric on the last album they recorded.
(Let It Be was the last album they released, but it was recorded earlier).

Recent research: a mixed bag of studies on personality, paranoia, burnout, somatization, and relationships

This week's recent research post is a mixed bag of six studies covering the physiological & psychological changes triggered by being separated from one's partner, why similar levels of anxiety & interpersonal sensitivity can lead to social anxiety in some individuals and paranoia in others, how difficulty identifying feelings is associated with increased somatization, the frequency of burnout in family doctors around Europe, personality factors that predict a longer life, and how wrong the old saying is that "Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"!  

Draft SIGN non-pharmacological depression treatments guideline, 7th post: effectiveness of psychological therapies 2

This is the 7th blog post in a series reviewing the recent Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network's (SIGN) draft guideline for "Non-pharmacological management of depression".  I gave more background details in the first post of the series.  This post covers the third session of the guideline presentation seminar.  The session was entitled "Effectiveness of psychological therapies in depression 2" and there were three speakers.  Professor Kevin Power, Area Head of Psychological Therapies, NHS Tayside, talked about "Counselling, marital, family and reminiscence therapy".  Kevin said there were comparatively few good randomized controlled trials on counselling interventions specifically for patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder.  SIGN gave a Grade

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