I yearn for my work, because it always helps me make sense of things.  For never was a horror experienced without an angel stepping in from the opposite direction to witness it with me.

Rilke – Letter to Marianne von Goldschmidt Rothschild December 5, 1914.

Next month’s issue of *Clinical Psychology Review* (February 2010,; vol.
30, #1) includes an article: “The efficacy of short-term psychodynamic
psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis.”

The authors are Driessen, Ellen; Cuijpers, Pim; de Maat, Saskia C. M.;
Abbass, Allan A.; de Jonghe, Frans; & Dekker, Jack J. M.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin abstract]

Objectives:

It remains largely unclear, firstly whether short-term psychodynamic
psychotherapy (STPP) is an effective treatment for depression, and
secondly, which study, participant, or intervention characteristics may
moderate treatment effects. The purpose of this study is to assess the
efficacy of STPP for depression and to identify treatment moderators.

Results:
(more…)

The University of Warwick issued a news release:  “Therapy 32 times more
cost effective at increasing happiness than money.”

PLEASE NOTE:  Contact info for the study’s author appears at the end of
the news release.

Here’s the University of Warwick’s statement:

Research by the University of Warwick and the University of Manchester
finds that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective
at making you happy than simply obtaining more money.

The research has obvious implications for large compensation awards in
law courts but also has wider implications for general public health.

Chris Boyce of the University of Warwick and Alex Wood of the University
of Manchester compared large data sets where 1000s of people had
reported on their well-being. They then looked at how well-being changed
due to therapy compared to getting sudden increases in income, such as
through lottery wins or pay rises. They found that a 4 month course of
psychological therapy had a large effect on well-being. They then showed
that the increase in well-being from an ?800 course of therapy was so
large that it would take a pay rise of over ?25,000 to achieve an
equivalent increase in well-being. The research therefore demonstrates
that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at
making you happy than simply obtaining more money.

(more…)

The University of Montreal issued the following news release:

Canadian men reluctant to consult mental health services

University of Montreal study points to prejudice as No. 1 cause

Between 20 and 70 percent of Canadians affected by mental illness shun
medical treatment. Such avoidance of services provided by doctors and
psychologists is particularly acute among men, according to a recent
study published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.

In Canada, less than 10 percent of the population utilizes mental health
services for problems ranging from depression to schizophrenia.

But this number isn’t representative of the real number of people
suffering from mental illness, according study author Aline Drapeau, a
researcher at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Psychiatry and
Centre de recherche Fernand-Seguin of the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital.

According to data from the Statistics Canada Canadian Community Health
Survey, women are 1.5 times more likely than men to turn to psychiatric
services, twice as likely to consult a psychologist and 2.5 times more
likely to turn to a general practitioner.

While these numbers might suggest that more women suffer from mental
illness, Drapeau disagrees.

“In comparable circumstances, women consult more often than men,” she says.

The discrepancy, says Drapeau, shows how men and women do not perceive
symptoms in the same way as programmed in their social anchorages.

“Social anchorages is an enculturation mechanism by which a person
learns his or her social roles,” says Drapeau.

“Men and women don’t always have the same cultural reference points
because socially acceptable attitudes and behaviors can vary for both sexes.”

For instance, parental obligations aren’t perceived equally in the
workplace. For women, it is perceived as positive to attend to maternal
duties.

For men, forgoing work to take care of the kids is perceived more negatively.

The same parallels exist in mental health. “If mental disease is seen in
a negative light in the workplace, a man will be more reluctant than a
woman to use the services available to treat their disease,” says Drapeau.

Other factors, such as tight finances or even type of employment, can
influence whether men use mental health services.

But the root of the problem, Drapeau stresses, is that men have greater
difficulty acknowledging and accepting their symptoms.

Ken Pope

Today’s *Vancouver Sun* includes an article: “Ancient Buddhism and
modern psychology; Both practices are focused on releasing followers
from suffering, and both aim for emotional health” by Douglas Todd.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

‘Everybody’s a Buddhist now.”  That’s what a Vancouver yoga studio owner
recently said, a wry twinkle in her eye.

She was noticing how many of her yoga students were joining western
nature lovers, spiritual seekers and global pacifists in describing
themselves as followers of the 2,500-year-old Asian tradition.

Most of them were finding their entrée into Buddhism through meditation
and the healing arts….

There are many natural links between Buddhism and psychology.

(more…)

Wiley-Blackwell issued the following news release:

CBT and BT: Some effect against chronic pain

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Behaviour Therapy (BT) show some
effect in helping the disability associated with chronic pain, according
to a Cochrane Systematic Review. The researchers assessed the use of CBT
and BT on chronic pain, mood, and disability.

“For people with chronic pain, psychological therapies can reduce
depression and anxiety, disability, and in some cases pain, but guidance
is still required on the best type and duration of treatment,” says lead
researcher Christopher Eccleston, at the Centre for Pain Research at the
University of Bath.

Both CBT and BT try to manage pain by addressing the associated
psychological and practical processes. CBT involves the avoidance of
negative thoughts. BT helps patients to understand how they can change
their behaviour in order to reduce pain. Both approaches have been in
development for around 40 years and are sometimes recommended for
patients with long lasting, distressing pain that cannot be relieved by
conventional medicines.

In a systematic review, researchers considered the results of 40 trials
of CBT and BT, which included 4,781 patients in total. Patients
suffering from pain due to any cause, except headache, migraine, or
cancer, were included. Most studies were of CBT, which showed small
positive effects on pain, disability, and mood. There was less evidence
for BT, which the researchers say had no effect on disability or mood.

“Although there is overall promise for CBT in chronic pain, the term
covers a diverse range of treatment and assessment procedures. Right
now, we are not able to say which specific features of therapy may be
critical for improvement of a patient’s condition,” says Eccleston.

According to the researchers, simpler studies of CBT and BT that focus
on a purer form of treatment, rather than a variety of mixed methods,
would benefit the field.

A short youtube clip from a Toronto therapist explaining from her perspective what happens in therapy – the first session, and overall.  It’s a bit general, but gives you some of the flavour.  Bear in mind that, as she says, all sessions differ.

Here’s the link:

http://www.gotosee.co.uk/healtharticles/2009/03/guide-to-psychotherapy/