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Autogenic training: seventh session

Here are handouts and recordings for the seventh Autogenic Training session.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page gives introductory details of this method.  In the face-to-face trainings that I run, I would typically start the two hour class by practising last time's Autogenic Training exercise together - in this case it would be the sixth session's belly focus.  I would then collect the trainees' record sheets and go round the group looking at how each individual's practice had been going and trouble shooting/sharing experiences.  This group discussion time can be very valuable.  It brings up all kinds of interesting points, encourages people to interact and help each other, and reinforces the sense that we are all on this learning/exploring journey together.

Recent research: two studies on depression, one on sex, & three on positive psychology

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  The first by Fournier et al is about whether to choose antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat depression.  They found that marriage, unemployment and having experienced a greater number of recent life events all predicted a better response to cognitive therapy than to antidepressants.  In the second study Luby et al looked at depression in children aged between 3 and 6 years old.  Worryingly they found forms of depression even in kids this young.  They also found over two years of follow-up that "Preschool depression, similar to childhood depression, is not a developmentally transient syndrome but rather shows chronicity and/or recurrence."  Hopefully this kind of research will mean these troubled children have a bit more chance of being identified and helped.

Autogenic training, session 7

“ It might be well for all of us to remember that, while differing widely in the various little bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal. ” - Karl Popper

Here are handouts and recordings for the seventh Autogenic Training session.  The initial "Autogenic relaxation training" page gives introductory details of this method.  In the face-to-face trainings that I run, I would typically start the two hour class by practising last time's Autogenic Training exercise together - in this case it would be the sixth session's belly focus.  I would then collect the trainees' record sheets and go round the group looking at how each individual's practice had been going and trouble shooting/sharing experiences.  This group discussion time can be very valuable.  It brings up all kinds of interesting points, encourages people to interact and help each other, and reinforces the sense that we are all on this learning/exploring journey together.

Recent research: six studies on positive psychology, goals, relationships, caregiving, mindfulness & nature

Here are half a dozen studies that one could loosely put under the broad umbrella of positive psychology.  Zorba the Greek said "Take what you want and pay for it, says God." and Niemiec et al's study, on the effects of achieving different kinds of goal, supports this statement (for all six research studies mentioned in this blog post see below for abstracts and links).  Quoting Niemiec et al's somewhat awkward language: "The relation of aspiration attainment to psychological health was found to differ as a function of the content of the goals. Attainment of the intrinsic aspirations for personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health related positively to basic psychological need satisfaction and psychological health.

Recent research: six articles on wellbeing – meaning in life, reappraisal, positive emotions, and neighbourliness

Here are six research articles (see below for abstracts and links) loosely falling into the overall area of wellbeing.  Boyle, Barnes et al report on the association between purpose in life and mortality in older people.  They found that greater purpose in life was associated with considerably reduced mortality even when allowing for a series of possible confounders like depressive symptoms, disability, neuroticism, the number of chronic medical conditions, and income.  Also showing benefits for purpose and meaning, Maselko, Gilman, et al looked at religious involvement in the USA and and its associations with psychological health - specifically links between high, medium and low tertiles (dividing the study population into thirds) of spiritual well-being and religious service attendance and lifetime risk of depression. They found that "Religious service attendance was associated with 30% lower odds of depression. In addition, individuals in the top tertile of existential well-being had a 70% lower odds of depression compared to individuals in the bottom tertile. Contrary to our original hypotheses, however, higher levels of religious well-being were associated with 1.5 times higher odds of depression".

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.

Stanford psychophysiology lab research on emotion regulation

Last week I talked about coming across Srivastava and colleagues' paper (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This led me to Srivastava's lab at the University of Oregon.  It's then an easy jump to James Gross's Psychophysiology lab at Stanford University (see below).  The Stanford lab is a hive of activity with research projects in a whole series of fascinating areas  .  A key focus is work on emotion regulation - its neural basis, emotional & social consequences, and relationship with personality.  Their "process model of emotion regulation" suggests that " ...

Peer groups: Cumbria spring group – feeling burnt out & relinking to values

Something quite deep happened to me, in me, during the group yesterday.  Third full day of the group and powerful, deep things were happening in and between a whole series of us.  Two couples have contacted particular distress.  No doubt many, maybe most, others have been moved strongly in various ways.  When there are powerful, potentially life-changing crises going on, one would need a heart of stone not to be deeply moved.

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