BABCP spring meeting: Nick Grey on memory-focused approaches in CBT for adults with PTSD - imagined "reliving" (6th post)
Last updated on 15th December 2012
I was struck by a paper published this month in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry - "Effect of purpose in life on the relation between Alzheimer disease pathologic changes on cognitive function in advanced age". The authors wrote "In recent years, systematic examination has shown that purpose in life is associated with a substantially reduced risk of incident AD (Alzheimer disease), mild cognitive impairment, disability, and death.
And now it's several days after the four days sixteen of us spent together at the old converted watermill in Cumbria that we've been visiting for over twenty years. I've already written about the final full day and the last evening singing together under the stars.
And it's the final early morning of this four day residential group. I wrote yesterday about sunshine along the wall outside - and it's here again today, bright & fresh. Sunday morning. I can be a very organized person - lovely though to let my hair down at times here (what hair I've got left). Yesterday evening we sang around a bonfire. Fantastic stars. The stream. Wine. Singing together. Happiness. Not to bed till well after midnight.
The start of the third full day here. In yesterday's post I wrote about the first full day and today I'll write about our second full day together. We've had so much rain over the last couple of days, it's a blessing to see the bright early sunlight splashed along the wall outside the window as I sit here writing. I sneaked away to bed with Catero my wife a bit early yesterday evening. It had been a long special day and now I'm up this morning feeling fresh.
Still before breakfast - at the start of the second full day now. Yesterday I wrote about "arriving". The noise of the mill stream just outside provides a constant back drop while we're here. When we arrived on Wednesday evening it was flowing so quietly, the water level almost as low as I've seen it. Then the rain came and it turned into a torrent. Roaring. In a way a bit of a parallel for our group. We've got going fast. So many of us know each other well. Familiar place. Familiar to be in one of these residential groups together again. And new. Extraordinary to "age" alongside these people. We've brought photographs from earlier groups going back over twenty years. Poignant, funny, endearing, happy-sad.
First morning of the "Mixed Group". We have been meeting like this - in an old converted watermill in Cumbria - nearly every year since the start of the 90's. This year's residential is a bit different. For many it's a 20 year reunion (or thereabouts). Sixteen old friends! Sounds a little like "The big chill" or "Peter's friends" or any of a whole series of other films and stories looking at "reunions". I've written a lot about these residential groups in this blog - see, for example, the group work links in
Last month I wrote a series of four blog posts about a CBT workshop on memory-focused for adults with PTSD (and a couple of posts about a personal experience of trauma). The third of these posts discussed how this kind of memory-focused approach could also be helpful for other types of "non-PTSD" trauma such as experiences of grief & loss. In today's post I want to explore this extended application even further - looking at the use of memory-focused therapy for anxiety & depression, personality disorders, and complex type II trauma.
Still less than three days since the most intense, prolonged, potentially catastrophic experience of my life. What have I learned ... both personally and as a therapist? Gratitude ... of course. Gratitude to the mountain rescue service, gratitude to my wife & family & friends, gratitude for my health, for the extraordinary beauty of this world, for being able to walk, to breath, to smile. And gratitude can even help me process what happened better.