In Praise of Patience as a Prescription for Trauma

For Aeon, Samira Thomas writes that while resilience is attracting a lot of attention from psychology, patience in an underexplored and undervalued virtue in the face of suffering. “Unlike resilience, which implies returning to an original shape, patience suggests change and allows the possibility of transformation as a means of overcoming difficulties,” she writes. “It is a simultaneous act of defiance and tenderness, a complex existence that gently breaks barriers.”

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Mindfulness Therapy May Be More Effective Without Antidepressants

While an estimated 74-percent of patients diagnosed with major depression receive a prescription for an antidepressant, new research reveals that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be most helpful when drugs are not used. The study, published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found that the participants in a randomized control trial for MBCT who showed the greatest improvement were those who had not taken antidepressants.

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“New Course on ‘Making Sense’ of Trauma, Creating a Coherent Narrative”

PsychAlive is releasing a new blog and e-course on “Making Sense of Your Life,” with psychologists Lisa Firestone and Dan Siegel. They draw upon the latest neurobiological research, attachment theory and clinical experience to guide participants through the process of creating a coherent narrative around past traumas.

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“Is Depression an Illness? Or Part of the Human Condition?”

Psychotherapist Chantal Marie Gagnon voices her frustration with social media posts and stigma reduction ads that perpetuate the belief that all mental health issues are biological in origin. “I saw a pin on Pinterest recently that read, ‘Depression is an Illness, not a Choice,’ and it made me angry,” she begins.

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“The Unfulfilled Promise of the Antidepressant Medications”

A new article in The Medical Journal of Australia laments that, while antidepressant use continues to climb, the research evidence shows that their effectiveness is lower than many thought. Meanwhile, fewer patients are getting access to psychotherapy.

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Do We Really Need Mental Health Professionals?

Professionals across the Western world, from a range of disciplines, earn their livings by offering services to reduce the misery and suffering of the people who seek their help. Do these paid helpers represent a fundamental force for healing, facilitating the recovery journeys of people with mental health problems, or are they a substantial part of the problem by maintaining our modestly effective and often damaging system?
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“What Are Delusions – And How Best Can We Treat Them?”

For The Conversation, psychologist John Done, from the University of Hertfordshire, explains his approach to discussing delusions with his patients. Done recommends more qualitative research on semi-structured interviews that get the patient to assess the rationality of their beliefs.

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“Politicians and Experts Meet at Parliament to Explore Record Antidepressant Prescribing and Disability”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence is meeting today, May 11th, to discuss evidence of the link between the rise in disability and the record level of antidepressant prescribing. Both Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff will present their research and Peter Kinderman will chair a panel to debate the findings.

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“CDC Warns that Americans May be Overmedicating Youngest Children with ADHD”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data indicating that as many as 75% of young children who are diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ are being prescribed drugs against medical recommendations. "Until we know more the recommendation is to first refer parents of children under 6 years of age who have ADHD for training and behavior therapy," Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, told the Washington Post.

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Mindfulness Therapy Can Prevent Depression Relapse, Review Finds

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be more effective at reducing the risk of depressive relapse compared to current standard treatments with antidepressant drugs. A new meta-analysis, published this month in JAMA Psychiatry, also found that MBCT was increasingly effective in patients with the most severe depression symptoms.

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“Bullied Children Need Support Not Antidepressants”

Nick Harrop, a campaign manager at YoungMinds, supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing, said antidepressants for children should never be the only course of action. “GPs all too often prescribe antidepressants to young people because they don’t know what else to do,” he told The Huffington Post.

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Group Mindfulness Shows Promise Reducing Depression Associated with Hearing Voices

A new study out of Kings College London found that twelve sessions of a group mindfulness-based therapy relieved distress associated with hearing voices while reducing depression over the long-term. The person-based cognitive therapy (PBCT) intervention had significant effects on depression, voice distress, voice controllability and overall recovery.

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“Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy”

The Atlantic interviews Raj Raghunathan about his new book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? “If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I'd add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met,” Raghunathan says. “It’s the attitude or the worldview that you bring to life.”

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“New Counseling Toolkit Helps Boys and Girls Club Address Kids’ Real-Life Issues”

The staff at Minneapolis’ Southside Village Boys and Girls Club are implementing  a specially targeted free interactive counseling toolkit designed by a team of volunteers at the American Counseling Association (ACA). “We have kids from everywhere,” said Stephanie Siegel, Southside Village program director. “A partnership like this is good for a lot of staff that doesn’t have that training in mental health. It helps them understand where kids are coming from and why they may be acting the way they are.”

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Open Dialogue Announces New Training Programs

As interest in Open Dialogue approaches to mental health spreads all over the world, there is increased demand for formal training in Open Dialogue to develop capacities to be with people in states of extreme distress. Now, Open Dialogue UK is announcing new programs to prepare therapists to become Open Dialogue practitioners and Open Dialogue trainers.

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Suicide Rates Rise While Antidepressant Use Climbs

Multiple media sources are reporting on new data from the CDC revealing a substantial increase in the suicide rate in the United States between 1999 and 2014, with a steep increase in rates among girls and women. Few report, however, that the percentage of Americans on antidepressants has nearly doubled over this period.

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Highly Cited JAMA Psych Paper Retracted for “Pervasive Errors”

A study, comparing the effects of antidepressants combined with psychotherapy for severe depression to antidepressants alone, has been retracted and replaced by JAMA Psychiatry. The errors, once corrected, “have not changed the final conclusion of this study—that cognitive therapy combined with antidepressant medication treatment enhanced rates of recovery relative to treatment with medication alone,” according to the authors. A related, follow-up study, covered by MIA, including first author, Steven Hollon, also found that “patients with more severe depression were no more likely to require medications to improve than patients with less severe depression.”

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Finding Clarity Through Clutter

For the last three years, I have been working with people, labeled “hoarders,” who have become overwhelmed by their possessions in their homes. This has been some of the most interesting, challenging and thought-provoking work I have ever done. It is also an area that, I think, highlights all of the issues that challenge us in helping people who feel overwhelmed, for whatever reason.
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“Can Psychological Treatments be Harmful?”

The side effects of antidepressants are well known – nausea, dry mouth, constipation and loss of interest in sex. But what if your depression is being treated by a psychological therapy? Are there any risks in that? In the Guardian, Luisa Dillner covers new research in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggesting that one in twenty may have “lasting bad effects” from psychological treatment.

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“Psychotherapy is a Biological Treatment?”

BJPsych editorial this month argues that the target of psychotherapy, like pharmacotherapy, is diseased neural functioning. On his Critical Psychiatry blog, Duncan Double disagrees. “To suggest that psychotherapy might correct neural functioning presumes that we know what the abnormality was in the first place. However, we don't know the neurobiological basis of mental illness because the abnormality is functional rather than structural.”

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“Mental Illness Mostly Caused by Life Events Not Genetics, Argue Psychologists”

According to psychologists, “mental illness is largely caused by social crises such as unemployment or childhood abuse.” If this is so, why are we spending so much money researching genetic and biological factors? “Of course every single action, every emotion I’ve ever had involves the brain, so to have a piece of scientific research telling us that the brain is involved in responding emotionally to events doesn’t really advance our understanding very much,” Peter Kinderman told the BBC.

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The Experiential Democracy Project: A Depth Approach to the Legislative Process

The basic idea of the experiential democracy project is to supplement conventional legislative or other forms of diplomatic and moral deliberation with person-centered (“I-Thou”) principles of encounter. These principles, which derive from existential-humanistic psychology and person-centered therapy, stress the attempt to engage participants to more intimately understand each other, and through this context to more intimately understand each other’s often conflicting positions on issues of moral import.
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“Suppressing Traumatic Memories Can Cause Amnesia, Research Suggests”

Research on how the suppression of traumatic memories can reduce our ability to form new memories has implications for such controversial trauma-related phenomena as suppressed memories and Dissociative Identity Disorder. A study in Nature Communications finds that “If you are motivated to try to prevent yourself from reliving a flashback of that initial trauma, anything that you experience around the period of time of suppression tends to get sucked up into this black hole as well,” Dr Justin Hulbert, one of the study’s authors, told the Guardian.

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“’Yalom’s Cure’ is a Meditative Immersion into Leading a Psychologist’s Life”

The LA Times reviews a new film about Irvin David Yalom, existential psychologist, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford Unversity. "’Yalom's Cure’ dispenses an intricate fusion of the past and present that informs our own everyday existence.”

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“Psychosis: With Early, Informed Intervention, There’s Hope”

Columnist Nev Jones writes about the lack of adequate care for people in the US experiencing a first-episode of psychosis. “Evidence-based (or informed) psychotherapies for psychosis are widely unavailable in the U.S., and clinicians often lack any training in psychosocial approaches specific to voices and other specific symptoms.,” she writes. “Family members are provided little or nothing in the way of targeted supports, and warnings to ‘get (a loved one) on SSI as soon as possible since they will likely be disabled for life’ are the norm rather than reassurance and encouragement that recovery is not only likely, but what families should expect.”

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