I often regret the poor choices I make at this annual conference, but this time I was pleased with most sessions I decided to attend.

With my interest in severe and persistent depression, I opted mainly for these sessions.

So I attended Barney Dunn’s repairing anhedonia; Thorsten Barnhofer etc on mindfulness in depression (non responders); Colin McLeod etc on working with repetitive thoughts; Stephen Barton on CBT for depression; Ed Watkins on understanding and enhancing treatment for depression.

I also attended sessions on Sleep Disorders with Colin Espie; Arnoux Arntz on imagery rescripting; Lars-Goren Ost on concentrated anxiety treatments; and a great introduction to information technology and CBT with Richard Stott.

The Conference confirmed that depression in adolescence is so important that it deserves more attention especially in preventing it in the first place. This is because once depressed the chances of relapse and  more serious bouts of depression are increased. It is the number one most expensive health condition in the world (World Health Organisation). Speakers confirmed that relapse prevention for those who experience depression is important with therapists offering follow up (booster) sessions that prevent future relapse and is having an impact.

Rumination is one of the more difficult processes to work with and Ed Watkins discussed some of the interventions that can help. Working with triggers for rumination; doing something instead of ruminating; problem solving techniques; enabling people to think in a more concrete mode.

In severe depression secondary depressogenic processes may undermine any progress a person may make and therapists have to work skilfully and creatively to reduce these. In this session led by Barney Dunn discussed the process whereby people with depression avoid any pleasurable experiences resulting in anhedonia. There are interventions therapists can use to reverse such processes but easier said than done.

Stephen Barton made a plea to target depression because of its impact on the individual and the world due to its frequency. He helped the audience recognise the common interventions used by most therapists that have impact: build hope; help people think about their own thinking; collaborative style; help them reflect in a concrete style; cultivate kindness for self and others; accept that they can sometime not change things and allow them to be as they are; develop more functional beliefs; live according to a set of values; take actions; recognise consequences of actions.

The session on IT and CBT were quite inspiring. Richard Stott Encouraged practitioners to consider using IT to augment therapy. Discussed its role in educating clients. How the internet helped with people with PTSD ie virtually visiting (in a sensitive manner) places where trauma occurred.

Clients were benefiting from recording sessions especially when they showed signs of poor recall.

Various useful websites were displayed including some powerful clips that may help people revisit issues such as bullying:



Colin Espie’s session was probably the best attended which may reflect how problematic sleep disorders can be. Some new strategies were covered as well as reinforcing ones that many people probably already knew.

In all, this was a very good conference and I came away with some helpful material, and of course the many books on display were of a good quality and I made note of some new titles.



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