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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

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.

Goal renewal boosts wellbeing: first post

Here's a method that's exceptionally likely to both boost our overall level of wellbeing and move us towards the goals we feel our most important in our lives.  It will take a bit of effort and commitment - so don't fall into the trap highlighted by Thomas Edison's comment: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Recent research: free June edition of "Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice" focuses on bipolar disorder

The June edition of the journal "Clinical psychology: science and practice"  focused on bipolar disorder.  This is very valuable and the fact that all the articles are freely viewable in full text makes the publication even more helpful.  As Youngstrom & Kendall write in their introductory article (see below) "Knowledge about bipolar disorder is rapidly advancing. One consequence is that current evidence about the diagnostic definitions, prevalence, phenomenology, associated features and underlying processes, risk factors and predictors, and assessment or treatment strategies for bipolar disorder is often markedly different than the conventional wisdom reflected even in recent textbooks and clinical training."  Karam & Fayyad (see below for all articles mentioned, with abstracts and links) discuss diagnosis and the boundaries of the bipolar spectrum.  Merikangas & Pato review recent research on bipolar epidemiology and write "During the past decade, there has been increasing recognition of the dramatic personal and societal impact of bipolar disorder I and II (DSM-IV).

Recent research: six papers on helping children & adolescents

Here are half a dozen papers on helping kids and adolescents.  The Fuligni et al paper found that adolescents experiencing frequent interpersonal stresses tended to have increased levels of C-reactive protein, " ... an inflammatory marker that is a key indicator of cardiovascular risk ... ".  Jackson et al showed that in preschool kids each extra hour of regular TV viewing is associated with an extra 1 kg of body fat.  This appeared to be due to increases in calorie intake rather than reduction in physical activity.  Decreased family accommodation is associated with improved outcome in paediatric OCD, Merlo et al found.  Naylor et al found that a six lesson teaching block on mental health benefitted young teenagers.  Proctor et al provide a free full text overview of teenage life satisfaction assessment measures, while Wilkinson and colleagues report on 28 week follow-up in a treatment trial for depressed adolescents.  The authors found "Depression at 28 weeks was predicted by the additive effects of severity, obsessive-compulsive disorder and suicidal ideation at entry together with presence of at least one disappointing life event over the follow-up period.

Handouts & questionnaires for depression information

Here are a few handouts that I've put together over the years to provide background information about depression.  The development & maintenance diagram is probably the handout here that I use most - both to explain issues about depression and also for many other psychological disorders as well. 

Development & maintenance of distressed states - I use this Powerpoint diagram a lot when discussing with people why they are in a distressed state.  The diagram applies to depression but it also applies to nearly all other distressed psychological states as well.  It can be helpful in highlighting the importance of maintaining, precipitating and vulnerability factors.  I also point out that therapeutic gains can be made working with all three of these general sets of factors - for example, emotional processing work for past experience (both precipitating and vulnerability factors) and more standard cognitive-behavioural approaches for maintaining factors. 

Handouts & questionnaires for self-determination theory (SDT), an upgrade

I'm a big fan of self-determination theory (SDT).  I've posted before on SDT.  See, for example, the September post from last year with its links to a lecture I've given and to a number of handouts.  See too Wellbeing, time management & self-determination in the website's Good Knowledge handouts section.

I have now added a series of three questionnaires - with relevant background information - to the Good Knowledge handouts.  The questionnaires are downloaded, and reformatted, from the excellent Self-Determination website at www.psych.rochester.edu/SDT .  They are:

Basic need satisfaction scale - this 21-item scale assesses how well the three basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence & relatedness are being met. 

Handouts & questionnaires for increasing access to psychological therapies (IAPT) outcomes toolkit, an upgrade

Over nearly 35 years of practice as a doctor and psychotherapist I've assembled a collection of 300 to 400 handouts and questionnaires that I use in my work.  I'm gradually uploading most of these handouts to this website so people can use any that they'd like to.  The collection is searchable in the Good Knowledge section of the site at Handouts, questionnaires and other leaflets.  Of the twenty two subsections on this part of the website, one of the more frequently visited areas is the Increasing access to psychological therapies (IAPT) outcomes toolkit.  This is a pretty full hand of cards for the recommended IAPT assessment measures.  I've recently updated the list of downloadable questionnaires available by including:

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