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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 " ...

Therapeutic use of film, music & poetry

A few days ago a client lent me a DVD of the film Groundhog Day.  It's a whimsical comedy about a guy who finds himself in a weird time loop where he has to repeat the same day again, and again, and again.  Luckily for him, he isn't condemned to act the same way every time.  He has choice.  A bit like each of us, he can experiment with trying different responses - and he gradually shifts from being a self-centred, unkind, impatient prima donna to someone much more caring, fun and worth being around.  My client talked about how much the film had helped him, and this led me to thinking again about the use of film as "therapy".

Recent research: six articles on wellbeing – meaning in life, reappraisal, positive emotions, and neighbourliness

Here are six research articles (see below for abstracts and links) loosely falling into the overall area of wellbeing.  Boyle, Barnes et al report on the association between purpose in life and mortality in older people.  They found that greater purpose in life was associated with considerably reduced mortality even when allowing for a series of possible confounders like depressive symptoms, disability, neuroticism, the number of chronic medical conditions, and income.  Also showing benefits for purpose and meaning, Maselko, Gilman, et al looked at religious involvement in the USA and and its associations with psychological health - specifically links between high, medium and low tertiles (dividing the study population into thirds) of spiritual well-being and religious service attendance and lifetime risk of depression. They found that "Religious service attendance was associated with 30% lower odds of depression. In addition, individuals in the top tertile of existential well-being had a 70% lower odds of depression compared to individuals in the bottom tertile. Contrary to our original hypotheses, however, higher levels of religious well-being were associated with 1.5 times higher odds of depression".

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