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Cognitive therapy versus exposure therapy for hypochondriasis (health anxiety): A randomized controlled trial

Excessive health anxiety is associated with high levels of distress, disability and increased health care use.  It is common.  A recent study - "Health anxiety in Australia: prevalence, comorbidity, disability and service use" - reported "Health anxiety affects approximately 5.7% of the Australian population across the lifespan and 3.4% met criteria for health anxiety at the time of the interview ... Health anxiety was associated with significantly more distress, impairment, disability and health service utilisation than that found in respondents without health anxiety.

Don Baucom on couple-based interventions for anxiety disorders

Just about to start the second day of this two day workshop led by Professor Don Baucom on "Couple-Based Interventions for Anxiety Disorders".  We're here at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in London's East End.  St Katharine's aims to provide a "sense of an oasis in the city" and I think it succeeds really well.  I've been to workshops here before and I would thoroughly recommend it.  But how was yesterday's first day of this workshop?

Kathy Shear workshop on complicated grief: identification (2nd post)

I wrote a blog post yesterday morning setting the scene for a two day workshop I was about to go to with Professor Kathy Shear on her treatment approach for complicated grief.  Well, how did the day go?  It was very interesting, inspiring, and also a little too much "simply sitting listening" for my tastes. It's hard to know what the best design for this kind of two day seminar should be. I strongly suspect though that just sitting taking in, even such excellent information with the opportunity for regular questions, isn't the most effective way of transferring knowledge.  Hard to do it, but more active audience participation would probably serve the workshop's goals even better.  Despite this, the material being shared was great ... really fascinating and important.

Kathy Shear workshop on complicated grief: before (1st post)

I was struck by a couple of papers on grief that I read last year.  One was Kathy Shear & colleagues' "Treatment of complicated grief in elderly persons: a randomized clinical trial" and the other was Bryant et al's "Treating prolonged grief disorder: a randomized clinical trial."   I was impressed because Shear's paper showed clear benefits of one treatment over a valid active comparison treatment.  Trials showing better outcomes of treatments that have been compared with "treatment as usual" (TAU) or "waiting list control" are two a penny.  However an intervention that produces an obviously better outcome than a valid alternative intervention makes me sit up and take notice.

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.

Birmingham BABCP conference: second day - NICE, emotion regulation, and exposure with depression & with cycloserine (4th post)

So yesterday was the second full day of the BABCP conference.  I have already written initial blog posts about the first day of the conference and about the pre-conference workshop I went to on emotion regulation.  This is a bit of a pre-breakfast scamper over yesterday's experiences.  As with the other blog posts I've written about the conference & the emotion regulation workshop, I intend to re-visit the more personally relevant subjects in future posts.

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 - interoceptive/situational exposures and relapse prevention (sixth post)

I wrote yesterday about "Emotional avoidance, emotion driven behaviours & physical sensation tolerance (fifth post)".  Today's is the last post in this series of six on David Barlow & colleagues' new unified protocol for treating anxiety, depression & other related psychogical disorders.  It covers the last two modules in their eight module treatment - "Interoceptive & situational emotion exposures" (4 to 6 sessions) and "Maintenance & relapse prevention" (1 session). 

BABCP spring meeting: David Barlow's unified protocol for the treatment of emotional disorders - description (second post)

So yesterday was the first (workshop) day of the two day British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) Spring Workshops and Conference.  Between arriving from Edinburgh on the sleeper and starting the day, I hunkered down in a cafe for breakfast and wrote some introductory thoughts about the workshop I was due to go to.  The publicity material said we would "review recent evidence supporting and discuss applications of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP), an emotion-focused, cognitive-behavioural treatment designed to be applicable across the anxiety, mood, and related disorders."  I wrote pre-workshop "My current understanding of the field is 1.) It looks like these more unif

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