Science-Based Psychotherapy

APA has a new set of guidelines for psychologists working with transgender and gender nonconforming people (TGNC). In an appendix to those guidelines, APA included a very useful index defining many of the terms used within the TGNC community. Terminology of this sort is rapidly evolving and it can be difficult to stay abreast of it all. The index APA included in its guidelines is a helpful resource as psychologists strive towards treating others in a respectful and culturally competent way. For example, the term “transgender” has rapidly become part of American lexicon, especially since Caitlyn Jenner told her story in Vanity Fair magazine earlier this summer. However, although I’m familiar with the term, I’ve...

There is great news coming out of APA this week. (Finally, some good news coming out of APA!) The APA Council of Representatives has finally approved a set of guidelines for psychologists working with transgender and gender nonconforming people (TGNC).  You can read the entire 55 page document here and it is certainly on my “to read” list as well. However, given how important this is and given the fact that my “to read” list is dauntingly long at this point, I wanted to make sure I was familiar with at least the main guidelines until I can have time to read the entire document. And so, I created this cheat sheet of the 16 guidelines outlined in the document.  So if your “to read” list is like mine, here is a summary of the APA guidelines on working with TGNC people.

 

APA Guidelines for...

Prolonged exposure (PE) is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment that uses imaginal and in vivo exposure in the treatment of PTSD. Imaginal exposure involves the client recounting a core traumatic event in great detail repeatedly in session, and then listening to an audio recording of the exposure daily between sessions. In additional to imaginal work, clients engage in in vivo (Latin for “in life”) exposure to trauma-related triggers. Exposure is done until the client habituates to the trauma-related similar, and/or until PTSD symptoms are largely resolved, according to the PE model.

 

For those unfamiliar with exposure therapy, you can read more about...

In the most recent DSM, hoarding was given its own diagnosis. Prior to that, it was hitched to OCD as subtype. I was glad when the DSM-5 gave hoarding a separate diagnosis, as in my experience, hoarding often presents as different enough from OCD that a separate diagnosis seems warranted. This may also help encourage more research about hoarding disorder, as researchers tend to devote more resources towards problems with an official diagnosis. The International OCD Foundation recently created a linked but separate website for hoarding disorder.

 

In the June 2015 issues of their journal, the British Psychological Society (BPS)...

posted in hoarding

I’ll make a confession here: I’m a failure at bibliotherapy. By bibliotherapy, I mean assigning a self-help book to a client and following it along with the client in order to guide treatment. For clients who are interested in self-help resources, I’ll make recommendations for books that clients can read on their own as a complement to treatment, but I feel stifled at the idea of using the book to guide treatment.

 

The authors of Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety & Shyness have made things much easier for therapists like me. The book is based on a group treatment for social anxiety that has been studied in two published research studies—an initial pilot...

The science of mindfulness is a very hot topic these days.  In agreement with the research, we find mindfulness to be a very helpful skill to have that is effective for a variety of problems that come with everyday life, such as distractibility, emotional reactivity, and impulsive decision making.

 

If you’d like to learn this skill, we have one one simple piece of advice - practice!  Any skill that you want to get better at (gardening, sports, playing an instrument) requires practice, and plenty of it.

 

In order to help you to learn how to train your mind in this way, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 resources for learning mindfulness. Some of these applications and websites are also helpful for providing a sense of community around mindfulness, which helps with both accountability and feelings of connection. For example, the insight timer shows you how many other people across the world are using the insight...

posted in mindfulness

There is a new study out in the Journal Mindfulness entitled Mindfulness and Metta-based Trauma Therapy (MMTT): Initial Development and Proof-of-Concept of an Internet Resource. This pilot study tested the feasibility of an internet-based adjunctive intervention for addressing PTSD and related symptoms. Previous research has shown that a 12-week lovingkindness, or Metta, intervention was effective for reducing PTSD symptoms, with large effect sizes. This current study, in part, addressed whether similar effects could be found using an online intervention....

posted in caring | kindness | love

Excoriation or skin picking has often been in the shadow of its nearest relative, trichotillomania or repetitive hair pulling. One good thing to come out of the DSM-5 was that it finally made skin picking disorder an official diagnosis—excoriation. Prior to the DSM-5, there was no official diagnosis for this condition. I suspect the lack of official diagnosis slowed research into skin picking disorder. As a consequence, there are few published treatment studies for excoriation.

 

A recent study looked at the use of an acceptance-based protocol that was originally created for trichotillomania. The protocol is Woods & Twohig’s...

Numerous studies have now shown that Exposure and Response (or Ritual) Prevention (ERP) remains  our most effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  In ERP, clients deliberately confront feared stimuli while learning to refrain from engaging in compulsions.

 

Even with the effectiveness of ERP, the search continues for how to get even better results, as not everyone benefits from ERP and some clients are resistant to it. Recent research on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) suggests that other approaches—such as learning to observe obsessions without engaging or “buying into” the content of the obsessions—can supplement ERP. One of the core ideas of ACT is helping clients to mindfully...

In a previous post, I linked to a blog post about therapist reluctance to use exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is one of the most effective interventions for anxiety-related problems but, sadly, remains under-utilized by clinicians. It is an intervention that has been a major focus on my posts on this blog.

 

A recent study out of Drexel University looks at the role of...

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