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CBT World Congress: 2nd conference day - sp/sr, imagery rescripting, personal practice, effective therapists, & compassion

Well this was a fascinating day ... I went to my friend James Bennett-Levy's fine symposium on "Self-practice/self-reflection (SP-SR) at 18: an experiential training strategy maturing into adulthood", then on to an interesting & helpful symposium discussing broader applications of Arnoud Arntz's imagery approaches - "Efficacy of imagery rescripting as a transdiagnostic intervention".  And to complete the morning's cornucopia I was back listening to James delivering a barn-storming plenary on "Personal practice: why therapists should walk the talk."  I was sitting with Judy, James's wife, and we considered standing to applaud at the end but decided this might be a bit over-the-top, even if richly deserved.

CBT World Congress: 1st conference day - chronotherapy, sleep, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and emotions

I wrote yesterday about a pre-conference workshop I attended on "Reimagining CBT for depressionwith Keith Dobson.  Today is the first of the three full days of the '9th World Congress of Behavioural & Cognitive Therapiesconference proper.  They aren't taking any prisoners ... each day runs from 8.30am to 6.00pm.  My Airbnb is about a 40 minute walk from the CityCube conference centre, so the day pretty much runs from 7.30am to 7.00pm ... not a holiday!

CBT World Congress: 'Reimagining CBT for major depression', Keith Dobson workshop

I'm at the '9th World Congress of Behavioural & Cognitive Therapiesin Berlin.  As is routine with these kinds of events, the day before is taken up with pre-conference workshops.  There are 31 of them!  18 are full-day and the rest half-day.  A lot of choice.  I've gone for "Reimagining CBT for major depression" with Keith Dobson.  The full title includes " ... : using a contextual framework to conceptualize and treat depression."

Strength training exercises improve both physical & psychological health

Poor muscle strength predicts increased vulnerability to both physical & psychological health problems and earlier death, in addition to the contribution of poor aerobic, heart-lung fitness.  This is true for both men & women and for all assessed age ranges.  Mechanisms underlying these effects are probably multifactorial, including metabolic/biochemical, neurological & psychological factors.  Research studies have assessed overall muscular strength in a variety of ways including grip strength, push-ups, chair-stands, and squat weight-lifts.  Happily, muscle strengthening interventions can yield major benefits across multiple health domains.  Here are a dozen interesting papers addressing these areas published in the last few years:

Psychedelics and end of life distress

I've been asked to write a short book section on "Psychedelics and dying" and that has nudged me into looking at this territory here on the blog.  It's a fascinating subject in all kinds of ways.  With the limited space I have, I'd like to comment briefly on four overlapping areas.  One is the growing body of research showing that psychedelic-assisted therapy can dramatically ease severe existential distress associated with terminal illness.  A second, less well studied area, is the observation that psychedelic experience reduces death anxiety in the general population.  Thirdly, it's interesting to note the similarities between some descriptions of psychedelic states and reports of near death experiences.  And lastly I'd like to talk about how psychedelics might produce these effects.

Recent research: articles from winter/spring journals

I read a lot of research.  When I find an article of particular interest I download it to my bibliographic database - Endnote - which currently contains well over 27,000 abstracts.  I also regularly tweet about emerging research, so following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (click on the relevant icon at the top of this web page) will keep you up to speed with some of what I'm finding interesting. Additionally you can view this highlighted research by visiting Scoop.it (click on the "it!" icon at the top of the page).  At Scoop.it, I stream publications into five overlapping topic areas: Cognitive & General Psychotherapy, Depression, Compassion & Mindfulness, Healthy Living & Healthy Aging, and Positive Psychology ...

Recent psychedelic research: lessons from current personal experience - introduction

Gosh, 'nerves' have come in a bit sooner than I would have expected.  Lying in bed this morning, early, I felt that hard-to-describe collection of sensations ... quite a full, slightly aching feeling in my chest, and in my belly also a background sense of fullness ... and unease, caution ... and almost like a distant, silent firework display intermittently lighting up the horizon ... a play of slight sensations in my gut that quieten as I internally turn to look at them.  I recognise this feeling.  It's what I experienced at times in the lead-up to my kidney donation operation a bit over two years ago.  OK, in three weeks today I'm due to take my first psychedelic trip for nearly 50 years (I took a dozen or so LSD trips between the ages of 19 and around 24) ...

Psychotherapy with couples & other close relationships

Over the next two days I'm due to run a two day training workshop in Glasgow 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.