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Recent research: five papers on feeling good & improved functioning, on meaning & wellbeing, and on happy memories,

I seem to be making a habit this month of focusing on a specific journal when posting the weekly report on interesting recent research.  Last week it was the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  .  This week it's the Journal of Positive Psychology .  To quote the Journal's website: "Positive psychology is about scientifically informed perspectives on what makes life worth living. It focuses on aspects of the human condition that lead to happiness, fulfillment, and flourishing."  First published in 2006, the journal initially came out quarterly.  Now, in 2009, it's increasing its publication frequency to six issues a year - a pleasing sign of the increasing interest in this field.

Handouts & questionnaires for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - second post

I posted half a dozen assessment questionnaires for PTSD and intrusive memories a week ago.  Here are further handouts and information about intrusive memories, trauma, imagery and PTSD.

Flowcharts 1 & 2 (Ehlers & Clark) - here are a couple of Powerpoint slides that - although in colour - print out well in black & white.  I particularly use the second of these slides as a handout when working to process traumatic memories.  I use it to explain the why, what and how of the therapeutic approach we'll use.  I think this orientation is especially important when working with traumatic memories, so that the client understands why they're being asked to re-connect to painful experiences they may well have been trying hard - and in Type I trauma, unsuccessfully - to forget.

Recent research: fish and n-3 fatty acids

Fish, fish oils, and n-3 fatty acids are often in the health news.  Here are seven recent papers illustrating the breadth of fish oil relevance.  The papers look at treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the potential of flax as a dietary source of n-3 fatty acids, effects on indicators of cardiovascular disease, potential protection against dementia, reduction in mortality, and importance in pregnancy.  The papers also illustrate the patchwork, three steps forward/one step back, meandering, spreading, accretion of scientific knowledge.  As the proverb goes "One swallow doesn't make a summer".  Similarly, a single research study is usually simply one brick in the gradual building of our knowledge.  For more on fish and n-3 fatty acids, see other relevant blog posts I've written, articles in the linked Connotea database, and some recommended websites.     

Recent research: a mixed bag of studies on personality, paranoia, burnout, somatization, and relationships

This week's recent research post is a mixed bag of six studies covering the physiological & psychological changes triggered by being separated from one's partner, why similar levels of anxiety & interpersonal sensitivity can lead to social anxiety in some individuals and paranoia in others, how difficulty identifying feelings is associated with increased somatization, the frequency of burnout in family doctors around Europe, personality factors that predict a longer life, and how wrong the old saying is that "Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"!  

Life review, traumatic memories & therapeutic writing

“ A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. ” - Anonymous

This section includes charts to help clarify life history, traumatic events, childhood experiences, and therapeutic writing.  It overlaps with some of the handouts given in the linked "PTSD assessment, images, memories & information" section .  I use "therapeutic" writing as a general term covering all types of writing that have been shown to be helpful & "therapeutic".  When describing the form of therapeutic writing, developed by Jamie Pennebaker and other researchers, that focuses particularly on writing one's "deepest thoughts & feelings" about life traumas & difficulties, I tend to use the term "expressive" writing (to distinguish it, for example, from other forms of therapeutic writing focusing on diverse topics such as "best possible selves", "intensely positive

PTSD assessment, images, memories & information

“ No man was ever wise by chance. ” - Lucius Seneca

Here are a whole series of handouts and questionnaires on intrusive memories, imagery, trauma and PTSD.  They overlap with handouts listed in the "Life review, traumatic memories & therapeutic writing" section of this website.  The "tag cloud" provides links to further relevant information - for example by clicking on tags like "PTSD""trauma" or "imagery".  Also of specific relevance are three posts about Marylene Cloitre's

Depression, CBASP & neuroscience

“ [This is] the doctrine that we cannot accept the command of an authority, however exalted, as the ultimate basis of ethics. For whenever we are faced with a command by an authority, it is our responsibility to judge whether this command is moral or immoral. The authority may have power to enforce its commands, and we may be powerless to resist. But unless we are physically prevented from choosing the responsibility remains ours. It is our decision whether to obey a command, whether to accept authority. ” - Immanuel Kant

Here is a mixed bag of handouts and questionnaires.  Most are spin-offs from CBASP (pronounced 'seebasp') - the awkwardly named cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy.  There are also a few handouts which are adapted downloads from the neurosciences site "The brain from top to bottom".   When in 2000, Keller et al reported on the very impressive results obtained by treating chronic depression with a mixture of CBASP and antidepressants, it seemed likely that a big step forward had been taken in improving the lot of chronic depression sufferers.  The "CBASP research results" handout (below) gives the abstracts for 14 research papers that are both relevant to CBASP and also highlight other important related themes like th

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