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August 2022 Newsletter

Psychology Tools
Published
1 August 2022

Welcome to the Psychology Tools newsletter for August 2022. In this edition, we’re announcing our new “What Is … ?” psychoeducation series! Our research roundup includes a paper looking at misconceptions around trauma-focused therapies, and another on the value of a written case formulation.

Our New “What Is… ?” Psychoeducation Series

The “What Is … ?” series explores a range of common mental health difficulties and has been designed to reassure and encourage optimism in your clients. The handouts are perfect during early stages of therapy to help your clients understand how their symptoms fit together.


What Is Anorexia?
It is common to feel conscious of your eating, but extreme dieting and weight loss can lead to an eating disorder called anorexia (or anorexia nervosa), which impacts your physical and mental health. What Is Anorexia? is designed to help clients with anorexia nervosa to understand more about their condition.
What Is Anorexia?


What Is Bulimia?
Many people go through periods where they eat more or less than usual. If these episodes are extreme, distressing, or happen often, they may be a sign of bulimia nervosa. Bulimia is a type of eating disorder where you have episodes of binge-eating (eating large amounts of food in an uncontrolled way) and compensation (doing things to prevent weight gain such as vomiting or using laxatives).
What Is Bulimia?


What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
It is common to worry sometimes, but people who worry too much often find it exhausting, and it may affect their health. Psychologists call this generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and they think that between 2 and 6 people out of every 100 experience GAD every year. What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)? is designed to help clients with GAD to understand more about their condition.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?


What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Many of us will experience trauma at some point in our lives. With time, most people recover from their experiences without needing professional help. However, for a significant proportion of people the effects of trauma last for much longer, and they develop a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is thought that between 3 and 5 people out of every 100 will experience PTSD every year.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
It’s common to feel a bit of anxiety around other people from time to time. If the anxiety is more severe than regular shyness, and interferes with an individual’s ability to live their life, they may be suffering from social anxiety: one of the most common anxiety disorders. It is thought that between 2 and 7 people out of every 100 experience social anxiety disorder every year.
What Is Social Anxiety?


What Is Panic Disorder?
A panic attack is a sudden surge of intense fear which is accompanied by strong body feelings (such as your heart beating rapidly, or finding it hard to breathe) and catastrophic thoughts (such as thinking that you will lose control or die). Panic attacks feel terrifying, but they are not dangerous. People who worry about their panic, and who take steps to try to prevent the possibility of having more, are said to suffer from panic disorder. It is thought that between 1 and 3 people out of every 100 will experience panic disorder every year and many more than that will have a panic attack at least once.
What Is Panic Disorder?

Latest Research


Ten misconceptions about trauma-focused CBT for PTSD
Trauma-focused psychological therapies such as CT-PTSD, prolonged exposure, EMDR, and cognitive processing therapy are the most effective treatments for PTSD. Unhelpful therapist cognitions about these treatments can affect how likely clinicians are to implement these best-in-class treatments. In another wonderful paper from Hannah Murray and colleagues at the University of Oxford, ten of the most common ‘misconceptions’ about trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapies are sensitively addressed. They include:

1. Trauma-focused treatments are not suitable for complex/multiple trauma.
2. Stabilization is always needed before memory work.
3. PTSD is about fear.

Murray, H., Grey, N., Warnock-Parkes, E., Kerr, A., Wild, J., Clark, D. M., & Ehlers, A. (2022). Ten misconceptions about trauma-focused CBT for PTSD. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 15.
10 Misconceptions About Trauma-Focused CBT for PTSD


Why you should be writing case formulations, listing treatment goals, and plotting symptom scores
Large-scale research from the improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) program in the UK found that services which identified a ‘problem descriptor’ (diagnostic label) for patients achieved better outcomes than those without (Clark, 2018). This study from Jacqueline Persons and colleagues is reminiscent of that research.

“We found that the presence of a written case formulation in the clinical record was associated with lower rates of both types of dropout. A list of treatment goals was associated with lower end-of-treatment scores on the BDI and the BurnsAI, and a lower rate[ing] of uncollaborative but a higher rate of premature dropout. A plot of symptom scores was associated with lower end-of-treatment scores on the BDI, and lower rates of both types of dropout. Results suggest that therapist use of a written case formulation, list of treatment goals, and a plot of symptom scores can contribute to improved outcome and reduced dropout in CBT.”

Gates, V., Hsiao, M., Zieve, G. G., Courry, R., & Persons, J. B. (2021). Relationship to CBT outcome and dropout of decision support tools of the written case formulation, list of treatment goals and plot of symptom scores. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 142, 103874.
The Benefits of a Written Case Formulation [Full Article]