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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 " ...

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.

Four aspects model & some associated evidence for relaxation, meditation & imagery

Relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, imagery and other associated methods form a complex, loosely interlinked field.  The "Four aspects of helpful inner focus" model, that I've put together to help me make more sense of this territory, looks like this: 

Four aspects model

For a downloadable copy of this diagram click here.  There is a fair amount of data supporting most of these methods.  To give some examples:

Autogenic training, session 5

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are the handouts and other materials for the fifth Autogenic training session.  Start this exercise once you have worked through the first four lessons.  Take your time.  If you have conscientiously worked your way through to this fifth session, you're doing really well.  Congratulations.  Don't feel you have to finish each new exercise in a week.  Take longer if you want to - these are skills that can last a lifetime, so enjoy developing them really thoroughly.  Session five introduces focussing on the breath, extending our ability to apply these skills during other activities, better understanding of emotions, and the use of therapeutic writing.

Autogenic training: fifth session

Here are the handouts and other materials for the fifth Autogenic training session.  Start this exercise once you have worked through the first four lessons.  Take your time.  If you have conscientiously worked your way through to this fifth session, you're doing really well.  Congratulations.  Don't feel you have to finish each new exercise in a week.  Take longer if you want to - these are skills that can last a lifetime, so enjoy developing them really thoroughly.  Session five introduces focussing on the breath, extending our ability to apply these skills during other activities, better understanding of emotions, and the use of therapeutic writing.

Stanford psychophysiology lab: social anxiety, mindfulness with kids, & loving kindness

Emotional reappraisal (changing the way we see a situation) and emotional suppression (inhibiting our already present emotional response) have very different effects on our feelings, relationships and wellbeing.  As a generalisation, reappraisal tends to work well, while suppression comes at higher cost.  I wrote about this last month  in a first post on James Gross's Psychophysiology Lab at Stanford . I went on, in a subsequent post, to put together a handout on reappraisal entitled Getting a better perspective.

Because there is so much interesting research being conducted at the Stanford Lab, I thought it worthwhile to write a further post mentioning some of this other work.  The webpage detailing their current research projects mentions nine different areas.  These include the following descriptions:

Stanford psychophysiology lab research on emotion regulation

Last week I talked about coming across Srivastava and colleagues' paper (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This led me to Srivastava's lab at the University of Oregon.  It's then an easy jump to James Gross's Psychophysiology lab at Stanford University (see below).  The Stanford lab is a hive of activity with research projects in a whole series of fascinating areas  .  A key focus is work on emotion regulation - its neural basis, emotional & social consequences, and relationship with personality.  Their "process model of emotion regulation" suggests that " ...

Oregon University research on emotional regulation, interpersonal perception & personality

I love it when I follow up ideas from a new research paper and then break through into a whole area of helpful knowledge that I haven't come across before.  This happened recently with the paper by Srivastava and colleagues (Srivastava, Tamir et al. 2009 - see below) on the social costs of emotional suppression.  This then linked me through to James Gross's work at Stanford, but more on that in next week's post.

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