Positive – positive – positive ..

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Difficult to find any positivity with all that’s going on but I am feeling positive about next week. Teaching new students, providing supervision to eager supervisees, and then holidays.

I am also feeling positive on the back of some of my reading. In a couple of weeks I will be teaching case formulation and in preparation looking at books on this. Ann Garland who wrote an excellent book on persistent depression has a chapter in a book on case formulation and she makes difficult material easy to understand.

People with depression find it hard to remember positives, through no fault of theirs. Ann Garland describes the research on the depressive process that leads to difficulties in accessing pleasurable memories.

Ed Watkins has more recently made a case for helping people describe in detail their past difficulties and how this can help people to achieve a more balanced memory of the past. This made me consider how person centred counselling may also facilitate this process.

Interestingly, Ann Garland points to difficulties in goal setting for people with low mood and makes me wonder whether this reinforces the importance of enabling people to specify in detail future goals to be achieved.

Some great listens out there

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Celebs talk about mental health. Brave Burnley FC footballer describes depression in this super, and tear jerking radio programme. Its full of great quotes especially from his supportive wife. My goodness he is a lucky chap! Lucky having a wife like that but also he survived being hit by a truck and perhaps more dangerous, as a Burnley FC footballer, he survived admission to a Blackburn Hospital Ward.

And young celebs talk about mental health. Not dissimilar, in that it involves celebs talking about mental health,  Loyle Carner talks to the Connor Brothers. Great to hear young men being encouraged to seek help. Although I do have some brave young blokes talking to me about emotional stuff, they are still in the minority.

… And talking about young mental health. Cant go myself but looks like I am missing a real treat at this conference on children’s mental health.

What’s catching my eye: 28.1.2019

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1 Suicide prevention. Important area and a publication that could easily have missed my eye (but thanks to Twitter…). Its the Suicide Prevention Plan

2 Types of depression. Interesting article although people who are depressed may lack the desire to do their own self analysis

3 Love podcasts and looking forward to listening to these Tedtalks on the important area of empathy

4 Preventing child mental ill health. A book that is definitely on my buy list


What’s catching my eye: January 7th, 2019


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1 Andrew Marr this week (7th January, 2019) is covering depression in “Start the Week” radio programme and will offer some interesting perspectives including ditching material aspirations, ditching the computer and getting out in the daylight.
2 Looking forward to the new NHS Plan to be launched today (7th January, 2019) and how it might emphasise prevention of mental ill health and more resources for children with poor mental health. And not before time, money on young people and children and their mental health is money well spent.

What’s catching my eye: 14th December, 2018

1 CBT Articles. As always, there are fascinating studies in the latest Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy Journal (January, 2019).
CBT isn’t for everyone, and Kate Hanson is comparing the effects on depression of reading two self help books – one written from a positive psychology perspective and the other using a CBT approach. Hanson finds that both have an impact on depression but makes the point that a book written using a positive psychology approach may appeal to those who have unsuccessfully tried CBT.
I like the article written by Shafran and colleagues who note that getting early help for anxiety and depression can lead to more positive outcomes. The article appeals to me because it discusses the role of what is technically called psychoeducation: helping people learn about mental health symptoms and what treatments are available and where, and destigmatising mental ill health through education.
In their study, Shafran and colleagues are interested in whether self monitoring of symptoms can lead to seeking help. It confirmed to me that I also need to better track improvements as therapy progresses – I do track progress but need to share this more effectively with the people I work with.

2 Children at Christmas. Working in children’s mental health services it has really brought it home to me how Christmas can be a time of crisis for some people. So its good to see organisations such as Young Minds doing their bit to encourage people to stay well or seek support if needbe.

3 Digital IAPT – anyone? Needs some staying power and I must confess I haven’t read every word but there is enough interesting points in this article by Mark Brown to deserve a second and probably a third read.