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Training in group facilitation

I'm facilitating a group today on "Relationships & emotional intelligence".  When explaining why someone might want to come to the group, the initial publicity leaflet reads "It's worth taking the time to look at our relationships because they are such a huge part of our lives.  Past relationships deeply affect how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others.  Current relationships can be a great source of joy, warmth and support, or of loneliness, frustration and unhappiness.  Human beings are social animals.  In many ways we are the sum of our relationships.  As adults, we don't have to just accept how we learned to relate when we were younger.  We can look at our interpersonal style and  how we connect with our emotions.  We can get feedback from others.  We can decide what patterns we are happy with

Recent research: six studies on emotional & relationship ‘intelligence’ – placebo, warmth, mindfulness, & emotions

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me in the broad areas of emotional and relationship "intelligence" (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  Kelley et al report on "Patient and practitioner influences on the placebo effect" which in this study was " ... twice as large as the effect attributable to treatment group assignment."  Practitioners assigned to give warm, empathic consultations achieved considerably better outcomes than those assigned to neutral consultations, although the " ...

Assessing attachment in adults

I'm a doctor and psychotherapist who's interested in using attachment ideas to improve how helpful I can be for clients.  Awareness of attachment issues informs therapy, it doesn't dictate it.  An obvious question is whether it's sometimes worth assessing attachment in a "formal" way.  I'm no expert in this area.  I'm an "informed amateur" and, after reading and exploring a good deal around the subject, my impression is that it can be pretty useful at times to assess attachment.  The Wikipedia article on Attachment measures provides an excellent overview of the field while, for much more in depth information, the two attachment books and the various websites that I've described in previous blog post

Recent research: six papers with broad social implications – inequality, health insurance, spanking, bullying, and religion

Here are half a dozen recent research papers with broad social implications (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  Kay and colleagues publish on "Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be."  They report four studies showing how widely this motivation acts - with political power, public funding, gender demographics, and in attacks on those who are trying to work for change.  There's relevance here to the second paper by Wilper et al on "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults" estimating that, even after adjusting for income, education, health status, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol use, lack of insurance was associated with about 45,000 excess deaths annually in the United States among people aged 18 to 64.  Still in the area of inequality and discrimination, Wexler et al publish on

Some great attachment websites

Last week I wrote about "A couple of fine books on attachment".  Today I want to highlight what a fantastic resource the internet is - below are details of half a dozen websites that offer lots of attachment information, and also details of further websites that are helpful but more limited.

Recent research: NICE guidance on social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education

NICE is the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - "the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health." Although their guidance applies particularly to England and Wales, the opinions they come up with are very carefully weighed and can be of use to health (and education) professionals wherever they work.

A couple of fine, recent books on attachment

I wrote earlier this month on "Attachment, compassion & relationships".  I've been aware of John Bowlby's work on adult-child attachment for many years but, when I've approached it for insights that might help in my work as a psychotherapist, I've been put off by the complexity of assessment methods and variety of reported attachment styles, as well as by the rapidly growing size of the relevant academic literature.  As Jude Cassidy and Phillip Shaver write in their preface to the 2008 meister work "Handbook of attachment (2nd ed)" - see more details at the end of this blog post - "Anybody who conducts a literature search on the topic of 'attachment' will turn up more than 10,000 entries since 1975, and the entries will be spread across scores of physiological, clinical, developmental, and social psychology journals, will include numerous

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".

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