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Psychotherapy with couples & other close relationships

This weekend I'm due to give a two day training workshop in Belfast on "Psychotherapy with couples & other close relationships".  Here are the downloadable slides for the first day on "Working with couples(sadly with the cartoons removed for copyright reasons) and here the slides for the second day on "Close relationships".  There are lots of relevant handouts - here are the details.

European positive psychology conference: love, national happiness comparison tables, & life satisfaction assessment (2nd post)

I wrote yesterday about the two pre-European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) workshops I went to on "Positive supervision" and on "Positive relationships".  Then in mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the conference proper began.  It was heralded by Taiko drummers and a cluster of brief welcoming speeches.  Apparently there are 920 people at the conference from about 50 different countries.  The country spread is similar, but the numbers are up 50% on the approximately 600 attendees at the 5th ECPP I went to in Copenhagen four years ago.

Going back for a university reunion: emotional intelligence, group work & learning to relate more deeply (3rd post)

"God guard me from those thoughts men think in the mind alone; he that sings a lasting song, thinks in a marrow bone."     W. B. Yeats

"We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism or rejection.  This protection comes at a steep price.  When we are not truly known by the other people in our lives, we are misunderstood.  When we are misunderstood, especially by family and friends, we join the 'lonely crowd.'  Worse, when we succeed in hiding our being from others, we tend to lose touch with our real selves.  This loss of self contributes to illness in its myriad forms."         Sidney Jourard

Friendship: science, art & gratitude

(this post is downloadable as both a Word doc & as a PDF file.) 

About every three months I meet up with one of my oldest and dearest friends and we spend twenty four hours or so together checking in on how our lives are going and what our plans are - this "work" links to the post "Building willpower: the eight pillars".  Our friendship goes back nearly 30 years and we've been doing these check-in's for a decade or so.  We know each other pretty well!  I'm just back from one of these times and it leads me to think a bit about friendship.

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (specific instructions)

See the two earlier blog posts - "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)" and "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how-to-do-it)" for fuller details of these self-affirmation, self-transcendence approaches.

This "instructions" post is downloadable as a Word doc

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how to do it)

I wrote yesterday about "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)".  Today's post looks more at how-to-do-it details.  Self-affirmation research describes a number of effective ways to reduce stress, clarify thinking, and boost effectiveness.  If the affirmation exercise is being done in response to a particular stress or threat, it's sensible to choose a subject to write (or speak) about that is of real personal importance but that is different from the area that's being threatened.  Happily several other writing research studies suggest additional ways of making this type of exercise even more helpful.  So a standard set of self-affirmation instructions might well involve asking participants to choose a particularly important personal value (for example, kindness,

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)

Writing (or speaking) about our values or areas of our lives that are of particular personal importance can help us feel less threatened by stresses and more able to see situations clearly.  There are many research studies demonstrating this.  For example writing about personal values has been shown to reduce both subjectively experienced psychological stress and the body's adrenaline response to taking an academic exam (Sherman, Bunyan et al. 2009).  This easing in sense of threat tends to boost the exam results people achieve, especially for those who tend to get more stressed (Cohen, Garcia et al.

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