Monthly Archives: February 2007

Do you think we deserve effective psychotherapy in the NHS?

I’ve been very helpfully informed about a petition (which is running until 3rd March 2007) on the Government’s website which anyone interested in effective therapy should sign. Pass this around if you agree and get as many signatures as possible

The motion is this:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to consider other psychotherapy approaches, not only cbt, in the proposed expansion of psychotherapeutic services within the NHS, instead of restricting choice for members of the public to one only model of therapy.

The proposal by Lord Layard to increase by 10,000 the number of CBT therapists in the NHS ignores the benefits to people of other forms of therapy. Relationship based therapy, such as the Person Centred Approach, and others, have a proven record of helping to alleviate distress and to change lives.

‘We Need To Talk’ , a July 2006 report into NHS availability of mental health treatment supported by MIND, The Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, TheSainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Young Minds highlights the need for more organisation and consideration of therapies other than CBT in this area.

They recommend that “The Department of Health should investigate the current bias in research priorities and address it by supporting more research into psychological therapies.”

The more signatures this petition gets before 3rd March 2007 so it receives the Priministerial attention it deserves, the better.

Sign the petition here.

Posted by: Eleanor


Common Ground: diplomacy and the human givens


If you are interested in the Middle East conflict, I’ve just put up a fascinating article from a 2006 issue of the Human Givens Journal by John Bell.

He is the Middle East Director for Search for Common Ground and a founding member of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and suggests that only a ‘radically different, innate needs-based approach to conflict resolution can bring a possibility of peace to the Middle East’.

“DIPLOMATIC intervention seems, in this day and age, to be less and less effective as an instrument of managing frictions and conflicts between states. This is particularly so in the Middle East, where venture after diplomatic venture has failed; indeed, they have possibly even exacerbated the troubles there.

At its core, the Middle East conflict speaks to the ancient human need to protect against outside threat. The irony is that the methods the region has developed to do so now propagate those threats by blurring the need for security with other unidentified essential needs, no longer meeting any of them clearly and, as a result, exacerbating problems with outsiders. If diplomacy is to offer any useful answers, it needs a fresh approach and a clear understanding of human needs, how they manifest and how to meet them…” read more

Posted by: Eleanor

2nd SharpBrains Blog Carnival

Be sure to take a look at the 2nd SharpBrains blog carnival, which includes:

The incredible relationship between the mind and the body,

At the Receiving End of an Anxiety Disorder,

Relax and Unwind – without spending any money,

An interview with Aaron Beck on the history of Cognitive Therapy.

“If psychiatry is to survive as a discipline, a merging of the concepts of neurology and psychology will need to occur.” – Aaron Beck

Click here for the full SharpBrains Carnival.

Posted by: Eleanor

The Dreamcatcher – New Scientist interview with Joe Griffin

Here is an oldish interview with Joe Griffin answering questions on REM sleep, depression, psychosis, trauma, conflict and cult behaviour, published in New Scientist in April 2003:

JOE GRIFFINWe live in mad times. The WHO predicts depression will soon rank second in the global disease burden, suicide rates are rising, and the trauma caused by war, conflict or domestic abuse is everywhere. The toll is horrific: mental illness costs Britain alone £32 billion a year. And people looking for therapy face a confusing tower of psychobabble, with 400-plus often warring schools of thought. Enter JOE GRIFFIN, who says there is a way to lift depression in a day, and told BARBARA KISER he can prove it.

How can you deal with serious depression in just a day?

The important thing is to know how depression is manufactured in the brain. Once you understand that, you can correct the maladaptive cycle incredibly fast. For 40 years it’s been known that depressed people have excessive REM sleep. They dream far more than healthy people. What we realised – and proved – is that the negative introspection, or ruminations, that depressed people engage in actually causes the excessive dreaming. So depression is being generated on a 24-hour cycle and we can make a difference within 24 hours to how a person feels.

Continue reading

The Effects of Expectation

PsyBlog’s latest post is a wonderful summary of a study conducted in the 1962 by Schachter and Singer on the effects of expectation.. to avoid spoiling the aims of the experiment, I’ll just let you read the post:

“Euphoria induced by Experimental Trickery”

“To illustrate this nomination for my top ten psychology studies I’d like to tell you a story. Imagine it’s the 1960s and you’re a first year psychology student at the University of Minnesota. Being a brave soul, along with wanting a better final grade, you’ve agreed to take part in a psychology experiment.

You’ve heard that it involves testing a new vitamin injection but that hasn’t put you off. These are the days when men are real men and psychology experiments are real psychology experiments. Innocent days before ethics committees and lawyers took over and stopped psychologists injecting people and lying about their motives in the name of understanding human behaviour.

So you turn up to the lab where a white-coated man tells you they are testing the effects of a vitamin injection on vision. You roll up your sleeve and concentrate on those extra marks you’re going to receive as result of participating in this experiment…” Read more

Read a related article by Joe Griffin about the power of expectation here at the online archive.

Posted by: Eleanor

P.s – Happy Valentines Day!

A criminal rehab centre which accepts no grant money and where residents pay no fees

“The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco puts hardened criminals – including thieves and murderers – in charge of their own recovery and it doesn’t take a penny in grant money from the United States government.

Instead the residents support themselves – and each other – by running a string of businesses including a gourmet restaurant. It is a 500-strong family, and – much like a normal family – the punishment for those who step out of line is washing the dishes.” Read more..

What a fantastic concept, and it works because everything is done to meet the resident’s needs for status, meaning, a feeling of being stretched, feeling part of a wider community, attention, control and security.

Perhaps this is the answer to our current prison crisis!

Posted by: Eleanor

How do you manage your sleep?

A study on sleep shows that rats who have less sleep have a higher level of stress hormone corticosterone, and produces less braincells in the region of the hippocampus. Another indication of the importance of getting the right amount of sleep – well in rats at least.

a rat

We constantly inform people about the importance of sleep and warn that inadequate amounts of REM sleep, either too much or too little, is related to the development of depressive feelings at one end of the spectrum and states of psychosis at the other – but when applying this knowledge to your own life, how can you be sure that you personally are managing your sleep effectively? This is an area in which no clinical study will be able to help you, as each and every person is unique, with thousands of different variables which influence the amount and quality of REM sleep you might need.

As I experience it, despite my awareness and all I have learned about the importance of REM sleep and dreaming – I still have days where I know I would feel better if I had managed my sleep with more care.

I have never been someone who relishes early mornings, and I prefer to stay up late than get up early.  My sleeping pattern is thus: I go to sleep later and later during the week (normally anywhere between 12 and 2am – while waking up at 8.00am) and I mostly sleep in until 11 or so at least one day at the weekend (this is a habit left over from University!).

However, I do now notice that when I have slept and dreamt too much, even if it’s only for one night, I really feel unmotivated, miserable, listless and my head aches for the rest of the day. I now account for this and have learned to recognise when to force myself to not go back to sleep or stay in bed for a few extra hours. So many times I have kidded myself that a lie-in would be nice, and have woken up feeling awful and regretting it.
I’d go so far as to say that one day of too much REM sleep affects me more than a few nights of sleep deprivation, so personally, I monitor my sleeping to accomodate this need. I can see that low periods in my life (not depression, just natural ebs and flows) correlated with times where I wasn’t sleeping properly or getting my emotional needs met.

The one thing that cemented a healthy sleeping pattern for me was having a job and a routine – and I have definitely benefitted from and improved my life through understanding how REM sleep can affect your state of mind.

Posted by: Eleanor