1st August 2023 Newsletter
Welcome to our first newsletter for August 2023.
This week we are bringing you two new cognitive distortion resources, Magnification and Minimization, and Mind Reading. We’re also expanding our available Polish resources with the release of two guides: Understanding Low Self Esteem and Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
In our research roundup, we cover a paper exploring the impact of CBT formulation in first episode psychosis. We also highlight a qualitative research paper looking at refugees’ and asylum seekers’ experiences of therapy. Enjoy!
Magnification and Minimization
Magnification and minimization is a cognitive distortion in which people exaggerate certain aspects of themselves, other people, or a situation while simultaneously downplaying others. This typically involves magnifying negative elements (e.g., the mistakes they have made) while minimizing positive aspects (e.g., successes or achievements).
Human beings are social animals, so understanding the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of other people is important. Most people are skilled at deducing what might be going on in the minds of others and psychologists call this ‘mind perception’. Mind reading is a cognitive distortion that describes inaccurate mind perception: making arbitrary or distorted inferences about the contents of other people’s minds.
New Polish Translations
Understanding Low-Self Esteem
Our ‘Understanding…’ series is a collection of psychoeducation guides for common mental health conditions. The Understanding Low Self-Esteem guide is designed to help clients with low self-esteem understand more about their condition and why it might not get better by itself.
People who experience obsessions and compulsions to a level that interferes significantly with their life are said to have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and it is thought that between 1 and 2 people out of every 100 experience OCD every year. Fortunately, there are some effective psychological treatments for OCD.
Case Formulation—A Vehicle for Change?
Are case conceptualizations really that important? Helen Spencer and colleagues suggest that they are in this excellent qualitative study exploring the impact of CBT formulation in first episode psychosis. Their results indicate that maintenance formulations are highly valued by clients, offering a roadmap for change and increasing self-agency. However, they can also lead to self-blame. Longitudinal formulations, on the other hand, can prevent self-blame but may feel disempowering. The answer seems to be finding a balance between the two. Furthermore, the authors suggest that simple and concise formulation diagrams, drawn by the clients themselves and regularly reviewed, will often help develop clear understandings, and support the process of change throughout therapy.
Spencer, H. M., Dudley, R., Johnston, L., Freeston, M. H., Turkington, D., & Tully, S. (2023). Case formulation—A vehicle for change? Exploring the impact of cognitive behavioural therapy formulation in first episode psychosis: A reflexive thematic analysis. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 96(2), 328-346.
Refugees' and Asylum Seekers' Experiences of Psychological Therapy
Refugees and asylum seekers are at risk of experiencing a range of mental health difficulties. In this excellent review paper, Mariam Khairat and colleagues synthesize qualitative research exploring the experiences of adult refugees and asylum seekers receiving psychological therapy. Their findings emphasize the importance of recognizing socio-political factors that perpetuate distress in refugee communities and understanding individuals’ contexts and meanings when choosing interventions. They also highlight the importance of the therapeutic relationship for positive engagement, while cultural pre-conceptions and stigma around mental health support often need to be addressed to enable therapy participation. The paper provides a wealth of valuable guidance for working with these groups, including the importance of cultural competency and integrating individuals’ cultural and religious healing practices when appropriate.
“The move towards pluralistic models within psychotherapy and health care can accommodate the increasing diversity of clients accessing services and can work towards ‘embracing the multiplicity of beliefs that exist regarding healing and change’ (Pedersen, 1994 as cited in Cooper & McLeod, 2007, p.6)”.
Khairat, M., Hodge, S., & Duxbury, A. (2023). Refugees’ and asylum seekers’ experiences of individual psychological therapy: A qualitative meta‐synthesis. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.