donderdag 12 december 2013

CBT is not the only game

The article REVOLUTION IN SWEDISH MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE: THE COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY MONOPOLY GIVES WAY discusses that CBT works just as good but not better than other therapies. What is more important than the method is listening to the patient and measuring results.

zondag 17 november 2013

Delayed gratification reconsidered

There is an old psychological experiment where young kids get the choice between eating one marshmallows now or getting more of them later on. Those kids who resisted the temptation of instant gratification did later better at school and in their career. The article "You’re So Self-Controlling" put that in context. It depends to a large extent on expectations. If the kids know the time frame they are considerably more motivated to wait. If the experimenter has shown himself unreliable they are more likely to choose instant gratification. The article doesn't try to explain the original experiment in this context. My guess would be that the delaying kids had more reliable parents and that that helped them later in their life too.

dinsdag 23 juli 2013

Private lives

The Guardian has a series "Private Lives" where people tell of their psychological problems and then the visitors comment on it. The questions get lots of comments (between 60 and 300 a piece) and nearly all are constructive answers where people tell how they dealt with similar problems. Most questions are about relationship problems. But there are also questions about Asperger, eating disorders, alcoholism and bipolar disorder.

zaterdag 26 januari 2013

Successful and schizophrenic

The NY Times has an article (Successful and Schizophrenic) about factors that help schizophrenic people to be successful in society and have high-level jobs - written by one of them - about a study they made of the subject: all the participants had developed techniques to keep their schizophrenia at bay. For some, these techniques were cognitive. An educator with a master’s degree said he had learned to face his hallucinations and ask, “What’s the evidence for that? Or is it just a perception problem?” Another participant said, “I hear derogatory voices all the time. ... You just gotta blow them off.” Part of vigilance about symptoms was “identifying triggers” to “prevent a fuller blown experience of symptoms,” said a participant who works as a coordinator at a nonprofit group. For instance, if being with people in close quarters for too long can set off symptoms, build in some alone time when you travel with friends. Other techniques that our participants cited included controlling sensory inputs. For some, this meant keeping their living space simple (bare walls, no TV, only quiet music), while for others, it meant distracting music. “I’ll listen to loud music if I don’t want to hear things,” said a participant who is a certified nurse’s assistant. Still others mentioned exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and getting enough sleep. A belief in God and prayer also played a role for some. One of the most frequently mentioned techniques that helped our research participants manage their symptoms was work. “Work has been an important part of who I am,” said an educator in our group. “When you become useful to an organization and feel respected in that organization, there’s a certain value in belonging there.” This person works on the weekends too because of “the distraction factor.” In other words, by engaging in work, the crazy stuff often recedes to the sidelines. Personally, I reach out to my doctors, friends and family whenever I start slipping, and I get great support from them. I eat comfort food (for me, cereal) and listen to quiet music. I minimize all stimulation. Usually these techniques, combined with more medication and therapy, will make the symptoms pass. But the work piece — using my mind — is my best defense. It keeps me focused, it keeps the demons at bay. My mind, I have come to say, is both my worst enemy and my best friend.