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Deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life

A sense of meaning, connection to our values and real engagement in what we do are crucial to nourish high wellbeing in our lives … and then high wellbeing feeds back to help us be more vital & effective in what we do.  But it’s important too to ‘smell the flowers’ on our journey.  Excessive focus on being happy is likely to be counter-productive but being too ‘puritanical’ tends to shoot ourselves in the foot as well.  The fascinating work of Barbara Fredrickson on the 'broaden & build’ function of positive/pleasurable emotions illustrates the way that deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life doesn’t just balance energy & effectiveness, it actually boosts these qualities.  A high emotional

  • How to live well: 4th meeting - coping with difficulties, the mindbus, compassion, mindfulness & reappraisal

     

        "You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done."                                                                                                                                                      Aldous Huxley                

    How to live well: 2nd meeting - mindset, motivation, positive emotions, exercise & sleep

                 

                          "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."     Henry Ford                

                            "Knowledge is only rumour, until it is in the muscle."   New Guinea proverb

    How to live well: 1st meeting - values, self-determination theory, roles & goals

     

    "When I get to heaven, they will not ask me 'Why were you not Moses?'.  They will ask 'Why were you not Susya?  Why did you not become what only you could become?'"                    Susya, a Hasidic rabbi

              "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."                                                                                                                                Jalal al-Din Rumi

    How to live well - a shared exploration: course questionnaires

    I'm running a ten-session training, starting next week, called "How to live well - a shared exploration".  Here's a link to a description of the first evening - "How to live well: 1st meeting - values, self-determination theory, roles & goals".  Before, during & after the course, there's encouragement to fill in questionnaires.  This is suggested for at least three reasons.  One is that when we measure something, we tend to pay more attention to it.  Keeping track is often a therapeutic intervention in its own right.  Secondly we're using questionnaires to see if changes in our behaviours actually produce the improvements we're hoping for. 

    Alcohol: it's more damaging than we realised

    A major new research paper was published in the Lancet last week - "Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016."  It's the biggest and best overview of damage caused by alcohol that has ever emerged.  It's available in free full text and it makes concerning reading.  Here's the abstract:

    How can we make psychotherapy supervision more effective?

    All counsellors & psychotherapists in the UK need to have regular supervision if they want to maintain their professional accreditation.  A central reason for this is to support therapists in being as helpful as possible for their clients.  Unfortunately current approaches to supervision don't seem to do this particularly well.  In a recent issue of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy journal, Alfonsson et al in their article "The effects of clinical supervision on supervisees and patients in cognitive behavioral therapy: a systematic review" clearly state "No study could show benefits from supervision for patients."  And this depressing conclusion simply affirms what previous research has already highlighted for psychotherapy more generally ...

    Glasgow BABCP conference: Pre-conference workshop - Michelle Craske on 'Exposure therapy in the 21st century' (2nd post)

    I recently wrote a first blog post introducing the excellent workshop that Michelle Craske ran before this year's BABCP annual conference.  It's easy to see Michelle's work as only relevant for improving outcomes in exposure therapy of anxiety disorders.  However I think these ideas are important much more widely than this.  Probably most of us have significant areas of our lives where we would benefit if we had the belief & courage to change.  Self-determination theory research has underlined the wellbeing benefits of living more autonomously, while Shalom Schwartz's work on values highlights how self-direction in thought & action (when balanced with warm-heartedness & kindness) is so widely respected all around the world (for more on this important balance, see the se

    Glasgow BABCP conference: 3rd day - Jaime Delgadillo on feedback and Steve Hollon on caution over antidepressants

    I have already written blog posts about the great half day pre-conference workshop I went to - "Glasgow BABCP conference: Pre-conference workshop - the excellent Michelle Craske on 'Exposure therapy in the 21st century'" - and the first full day of the conference - "Glasgow BABCP conference: 1st day - lecture rant, Anke Ehlers on PTSD, a workshop on 'the strong & curious therapist', and more".  Sadly I didn't get to the second day of the conference, but I certainly went to the final half day attending a very fine two hour 'clinical skills' class with Jaime Delgadillo on&nb

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