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Targeting behavioural activation better both for decreasing depression and increasing wellbeing (first post)

There are a series of meta-analyses showing that "behavioural activation" (BA) is a good treatment for depression and that it is as effective as best-established approaches like full cognitive behavioural therapy - see, for example, last year's paper by Trevor and colleagues "Behavioral activation treatments for depression in adults: a meta-analysis and review".  BA involves encouraging increased engagement in enjoyable activities.  Subjects may be asked to keep a record of their daily activities and associated feelings - for example, feelings of achievement and enjoyment.  The downloadable charts and handouts further down this website's "Problem solving and behavioural activation" page illustrate this well-known approach.

Recent research: two studies on depression, one on sex, & three on positive psychology

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  The first by Fournier et al is about whether to choose antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat depression.  They found that marriage, unemployment and having experienced a greater number of recent life events all predicted a better response to cognitive therapy than to antidepressants.  In the second study Luby et al looked at depression in children aged between 3 and 6 years old.  Worryingly they found forms of depression even in kids this young.  They also found over two years of follow-up that "Preschool depression, similar to childhood depression, is not a developmentally transient syndrome but rather shows chronicity and/or recurrence."  Hopefully this kind of research will mean these troubled children have a bit more chance of being identified and helped.

Goal renewal boosts wellbeing: third post

In a series of linked blog posts over the course of this month, I've discussed writing for health and wellbeing, assessment of one's own level of wellbeing, and using a broadened Best Possible Selves exercise.  In today's post I take these ideas a step further by linking them to the research work of Professor Lyubomirsky and colleagues. 

Recent research: six studies on positive psychology, goals, relationships, caregiving, mindfulness & nature

Here are half a dozen studies that one could loosely put under the broad umbrella of positive psychology.  Zorba the Greek said "Take what you want and pay for it, says God." and Niemiec et al's study, on the effects of achieving different kinds of goal, supports this statement (for all six research studies mentioned in this blog post see below for abstracts and links).  Quoting Niemiec et al's somewhat awkward language: "The relation of aspiration attainment to psychological health was found to differ as a function of the content of the goals. Attainment of the intrinsic aspirations for personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health related positively to basic psychological need satisfaction and psychological health.

Autogenic training: fourth session

For the fourth Autogenic Training class, I introduce a number of new practices and ideas.  These include the next stage in the basic Autogenic Training sequence (pulse & general calmness), beginning to work on application during daily life (1st differential exercise), and a focus on the "Nourishing positive states" aspect of inner focus exercises.  For this latter, I discuss ideas about the importance of our attitudes, process visualisation, and implementation intentions.  Please read the introductory remarks and work through the first three Autogenic Training exercises before starting on this fourth Autogenic stage.

Autogenic training, session 4

“ Greatness is achieved through the discipline of attending to detail. ” - Twickenham Fitness Room Poster

For the fourth Autogenic Training class, I introduce a number of new practices and ideas.  These include the next stage in the basic Autogenic Training sequence (pulse & general calmness), beginning to work on application during daily life (1st differential exercise), and a focus on the "Nourishing positive states" aspect of inner focus exercises.  For this latter, I discuss ideas about the importance of our attitudes, process visualisation, and implementation intentions.  Please read the introductory remarks and work through the first three Autogenic Training exercises before starting on this fourth Autogenic stage.

Recent research: six papers relevant to psychotherapy

Here are six studies relevant to improving psychotherapy outcomes.  Brewin et al report on using imagery-based interventions to help people with depressioin.  Lydiard et al highlight the importance of sleep-related disturbances as a treatment target in PTSD.  McCrady and colleagues show that working with couples rather than just individuals seems more effective when using behavioural therapy to help women with alcohol use disorders.  Geerts et al describe rather amazing research investigating "The role of parental bonding and nonverbal communication in the short-term treatment response was investigated in 104 depressed outpatients. At baseline patients completed the Parental Bonding Instrument. We registered the nonverbal involvement behaviour of patients and interviewers from video recordings of baseline clinical interviews and calculated the convergence between patient-interviewer behaviour over the interview ... As hypothesized, low maternal care and high paternal overprotection predicted a poor response to an 8-week treatment.  Maternal care was positively correlated with nonverbal convergence. Moreover, convergence moderated the relationship between maternal care and the response to treatment: Lack of convergence between patients and interviewers turned out to annul the positive effects of maternal care on the treatment response.

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. 

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