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‘Why can’t we speak to the deepest issues of meaning, love and loss?’ | The Psychologist

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Using personal best goal-setting and values driven action

Using personal best goal-setting and values driven action | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it

Dr Jasmine Green and Professor Andrew Martin explore adolescent motivation and engagement using personal best goal-setting and values driven action.

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Can Relational Frame Theory help us to understand delusions?

Can Relational Frame Theory help us to understand delusions? | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
How can we understand delusional beliefs in behavioural terms? A recent paper published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science by Corinna Stewart, Ian Stewart and Sean Hughes presents a “call to action” for taking a natural science approach to discerning persecutory delusions, by outlining the directions that contemporary contextual research on language and cognition…
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The secret to living a meaningful life

The secret to living a meaningful life | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
Your ambitions to improve your life do not need to be confined by your personality.
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15 Mindfulness Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live in the Present Moment - The Power of Ideas

15 Mindfulness Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live in the Present Moment - The Power of Ideas | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
You’ve probably heard of ‘mindfulness’ over the past few years. It’s become incredibly popular in the western world thanks to countless research studies showing its benefits. For those of you who don’t know, mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental way. While it can certainly get more complex than that, …
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How language transformed humanity

How language transformed humanity | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language. He suggests that language is a piece of "social technology" that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.
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Frontiers | Basal Exposure Therapy: A New Approach for Treatment-Resistant Patients with Severe and Composite Mental Disorders | Psychopathology

Frontiers | Basal Exposure Therapy: A New Approach for Treatment-Resistant Patients with Severe and Composite Mental Disorders | Psychopathology | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
New treatment approaches are needed for patients with severe and composite mental disorders who appear resistant to conventional treatments. Such treatment resistant patients often have diagnoses of psychotic or bipolar disorders or severe personality disorders and comorbid conditions. Here we evaluate Basal Exposure Therapy (BET), a novel ward-integrated psychotherapeutic approach for these patients. Central to BET is the conceptualization of undifferentiated existential fear as basic to the patients’ problem, exposure to this fear, and the therapeutic platform Complementary External Regulation (CER) which integrates and governs the totality of interventions throughout the treatment process. BET is administered at a locked-door ward with six patient beds and 13.5 full time employees, including a psychiatrist and two psychologists. Thirty-eight patients who had completed BET were included, all but two being female, mean age 29.9 years. Fourteen patients had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (F20/25), eight had bipolar disorder or recurrent depressive disorder (F31/33), eight had diagnoses in the F40-49 domain (anxiety, stress, dissociation), five were diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (F60.3), and three patients had other diagnoses. Twenty of the patients (53%) had more than one ICD-10 diagnosis. Average treatment time in BET was 13 months, ranging from 2 to 72 months. Time-series data show significant improvements in symptoms and functioning from enrolment to discharge, with effect sizes at 0.76 for the Dissociation Experience Scale, 0.93 for the Brief Symptom Inventory, 1.47 for the Avoidance and Action Questionnaire, and 1.42 and 1.56, respectively for the functioning and symptom subscales of the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale. In addition, the patients used significantly less antiepileptic, antipsychotic, anxiolytic and antidepressant medications at discharge than at treatment enrolment. Patient improvement across treatment was associated with each of the successful completions of the exposure component of BET, with positive changes in psychological flexibility as measured with the Avoidance and Action Questionnaire, with high symptom levels and low levels of functioning at treatment start, and with the duration of time in BET. The findings indicate that BET may be a promising inpatient psychotherapeutic approach for previously treatment resistant patients with severe and comorbid conditions.
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Towards a psychological and neuroscientific account of the wandering mind | Frontiers Research Topic

Towards a psychological and neuroscientific account of the wandering mind | Frontiers Research Topic | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
A fundamental feature of the mind is its tendency to wander from the constraints of the perceptual moment towards internally generated thoughts and feelings. Recent interest in mind-wandering as a topic of inquiry has revealed (i) its implications for the integrity of ongoing task performance, (ii) the neural substrates that support its expression, (iii) its relationship to consciousness, (iv) the implication that it has for the emotional state of the individual and (v) the functions that it serves in daily life. This Research Topic of Frontiers will be a forum for cutting-edge work by researchers with a diversity of perspectives. We welcome review papers that adopt a historical, psychological, or cognitive neuroscientific perspective on the mind-wandering phenomenon. We also anticipate featuring behavioral and neuroimaging data on mind-wandering, as well as studies documenting how the experience manifests in different states of consciousness or in various clinical disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, or attention deficit disorder). Submissions pertaining to training that impacts neuro-cognitive, behavioral or phenomenal features of mind-wandering will also be considered.
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Basics of Applied Behavior Analysis: Part 1: Measurement | Reflections from a Children's Therapist

Basics of Applied Behavior Analysis: Part 1: Measurement | Reflections from a Children's Therapist | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
Cooper, Heron, and Heward (2014) state: “Measurement (applying quantitative labels to describe and differentiate natural events) provides the basis for all
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The Companies That Teach Their Employees How To Sleep - Forbes

The Companies That Teach Their Employees How To Sleep - Forbes | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
Question: What do camera-maker Olympus, accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Unilever and Cambridge University have in common. Answer: They are all sending employees on courses to teach them how to sleep.
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Love or Fear?

Love or Fear? | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptanc…
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Passengers! How your Story gets Programmed.

Passengers! How your Story gets Programmed. | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
While each of us has a distinct story, the laws of nature apply to all of us. This blog is about how your story gets programmed to influence your path.
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Free Therapy # 56: The Meaning of My Pain | anewscafe.com

I am in pain.  I am not the only one. I feel like a self-absorbed baby even writing about it.  It is not “manly” to admit I hurt.  I know better of course.  I am well-acquainted with the heavy burden ...
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Free Therapy #99: Ten Steps to Healing our Angry Mind

Free Therapy #99: Ten Steps to Healing our Angry Mind | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama “Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” Emma Goldman “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when w…
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Rage in the USA: Inside the Anger Room

Rage in the USA: Inside the Anger Room | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
Allowing Americans to vent their anger by smashing whatever they want, in a safe space.
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Can Relational Frame Theory help us to understand delusions?

Can Relational Frame Theory help us to understand delusions? | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
How can we understand delusional beliefs in behavioural terms? A recent paper published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science by Corinna Stewart, Ian Stewart and Sean Hughes presents a “call to action” for taking a natural science approach to discerning persecutory delusions, by outlining the directions that contemporary contextual research on language and cognition…
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Australian-first trial offers faster treatment for PTSD

Australian-first trial offers faster treatment for PTSD | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
An Australian-first research program will help improve treatment for up to one million Australians with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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5 Ways To Reduce Stress Without “Meditating” – Thrive Global

Whether you’re trapped in the nightmare of your daily commute or discovered that someone used the last bit of milk without buying more (bastards!), stress will track you down like a vulture sniffing…
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Behavioral Intervention, Couples, and Gender-Based Violence | blog

A burn sustained by a woman brought into the C&A Center.Tom: Ann and her husband Abdul arrive to our session on time and sit down in chairs that face
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Escaping Painful Moments: Common Triggers and Behaviors | Praxis

Escaping Painful Moments: Common Triggers and Behaviors | Praxis | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
This article has been adapted from Inside This Moment: A Clinician’s Guide to Promoting Radical Change Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a book by Kirk Strosahl, PhD, Patricia Robinson, PhD, and Thomas Gustavsson, MSc.
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How to be happy: act - Independent.ie

How to be happy: act - Independent.ie | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
In the previous articles in this series, I suggested four steps we can take to recognise and reduce stress. These on their own are not enough. Yes, slowing down to notice what is causin
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The Psychology of the Serenity Prayer

One of the essential techniques of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is
reappraisal. It’s a simple enough process: when you are awash in negative
emotion, you should reappraise the stimulus to make yourself feel better.

Let’s say, for instance, that you are stuck in traffic and are running late
to your best friend’s birthday party. You feel guilty and regretful; you
are imagining all the mean things people are saying about you. “She’s
always late!” “He’s so thoughtless.” “If he were a good friend, he’d be
here already.”

To deal with this loop of negativity, CBT suggests that you think of new
perspectives that lessen the stress. The traffic isn’t your fault. Nobody
will notice. Now you get to finish this interesting podcast.

It’s an appealing approach, rooted in CBT’s larger philosophy that the way
an individual perceives a situation is often more predictive of his or her
feelings than the situation itself. 

There’s only one problem with reappraisal: it might not work. For instance,
a recent meta-analysis showed that the technique is only modestly useful at
modulating negative emotions. What’s worse, there’s suggestive evidence
that, in some contexts, reappraisal may actually backfire. According to a
2013 paper by Allison Troy, et al., among people who were stressed about a
controllable situation—say, being fired because of poor work
performance—better reappraisal ability was associated with higher levels of
depression. 

Why doesn’t reappraisal always work? One possible answer involves an old
hypothesis known as the strategy-situation fit, first outlined by Richard
Lazarus and Susan Folkman in the late 1980s. This approach assumes that
there is no universal fix for anxiety and depression, no single tactic that
always grants us peace of mind. Instead, we must think strategically about
which strategies to use, as their effectiveness will depend on the larger
context.

A new paper by Simon Haines et al. (senior author Peter Koval) in
Psychological Science provides new evidence for the strategy-situation fit
model. While previous research has suggested that the success of
reappraisal depends on the nature of the stressor—it’s only useful when we
can’t control the source of the stress—these Australian researchers wanted
to measure the relevant variables in the real world, and not just in the
lab. To do this, they designed a new smartphone app that pushed out surveys
at random moments. Each survey asked their participants a few questions
about their use of reappraisal and the controllability of their situation.
These responses were then correlated with several questionnaires measuring
well-being and mental health.

The results confirmed the importance of strategy-situation fit. According
to the data, people with lower levels of well-being (they had more
depressive symptoms and/or stress) used reappraisal in the wrong contexts,
increasing their use of the technique when they were in situations they
perceived as controllable. For example, instead of leaving the house
earlier, or trying to perform better at work, people with poorer
“strategy-situation fit” might spend time trying to talk themselves into a
better mood. People with higher levels of well-being, in contrast, were
more likely to use reappraisal at the right time, when they were confronted
with situations they felt they could not control. (Bad weather, mass
layoffs, etc.) This leads Haines et al. to conclude that, “rather than
being a panacea, reappraisal may be adaptive only in relatively
uncontrollable situations.”

Why doesn’t reappraisal help when we can influence the situation? One
possibility is that focusing on our reaction might make us less likely to
take our emotions seriously. We’re so focused on changing our
thoughts—think positive!—that we forget to seek an effective solution. 

Now for the caveats. The most obvious limitation of this paper is that the
researchers relied on subjects to assess the controllability of a given
situation; there were no objective measurements. The second limitation is
the lack of causal data. Because this was not a longitudinal study, it’s
still unclear if higher levels of well-being are a consequence or a
precursor of more strategic reappraisal use. The best way to deal with our
emotions is an ancient question. It won’t be solved anytime soon.

That said, this study does offer some useful advice for practitioners and
patients using CBT. As I noted in an earlier blog, there is worrying
evidence that CBT has gotten less effective over time, at least as measured
by its ability to reduce depressive symptoms. (One of the leading suspects
behind this trend is the growing popularity of the treatment, which has led
more inexperienced therapists to begin using it.) While more study is
clearly needed, this research suggests ways in which standard CBT might be
improved. It all comes down to an insight summarized by the great Reinhold
Niebuhr in the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.  
                                       

That’s wisdom: tailoring our response based on what we can and cannot
control. Serenity is a noble goal, but sometimes the best way to fix
ourselves is to first fix the world.

Haines, Simon J., et al. "The Wisdom to Know the Difference
Strategy-Situation Fit in Emotion Regulation in Daily Life Is Associated
With Well-Being." Psychological Science (2016): 0956797616669086.
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Improve your sleep and reduce your stress through mindfulness | Training Journal

Improve your sleep and reduce your stress through mindfulness | Training Journal | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
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Free Therapy #79: Rising Up when Reality Slaps Us Down

Free Therapy #79: Rising Up when Reality Slaps Us Down | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
I’ve just begun teaching a new class on Mindfulness at the Methodist Church and thought it might be appropriate to cover the topic in this column. The actual title of the class is: Rising Up When R…
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ACT intervention may be effective in reducing risk for cardiovascular disease

ACT intervention may be effective in reducing risk for cardiovascular disease | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT | Scoop.it
A controlled study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic indicates the usefulness of a brief behavioral intervention targeting psychological risk factors for vascular disease.
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