8th March 2023 Newsletter
Welcome to the first newsletter for March 2023. This week we’re announcing three new resources for working with perfectionism and demanding standards. In our research roundup, we highlight a special issue from the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry in honor of Stanley (Jack) Rachman, and a review looking at psychological interventions for trauma in the context of ongoing threat.
Identifying Your Demanding Standards
People with perfectionism pursue demanding, self-imposed standards in one or more areas of their life, and base their self-worth on meeting these expectations, despite the negative consequences this has. This worksheet is designed to help clients identify the domains where they set demanding standards and clarify what they are.
Exploring Your Demanding Standards
Perfectionistic individuals often dislike the notion of ‘lowering’ their standards or ‘relaxing’ their rules. The Exploring Your Demanding Standards worksheet is designed to help clients examine a demanding standard, including its advantages and disadvantages.
Evaluating Your Demanding Standards
Cognitive strategies are a valuable tool for addressing demanding standards. The Evaluating Your Demanding Standards worksheet is designed to help clients re-evaluate their demanding standards and develop more flexible and helpful guidelines for their performance.
Works Well With
Demanding Standards – Living Well With Your Personal Rules
Demanding Standards – Living Well With Your Personal Rules is a guide written for clients who have high or perfectionistic standards which cause them distress. It provides clear information about what standards are and how they are maintained, as well as exercises with step-by-step instructions to help clients identify, monitor, and address their perfectionistic standards.
Reassurance-Seeking, a Faulty Compass, and Identity – Articles In Honor of Jack Rachman
The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry has published a special issue in honor of Stanley (Jack) Rachman and it’s excellent. We would normally devote space to summarizing each of these articles separately, but would run out of room if we tried. Each is well worth your time:
- Adam Radomsky explores The fear of losing control.
- Emma Smith, Neal Carrigan & Paul Salkovskis delve deep into Different cognitive behavioral processes underpinning reassurance seeking in depression and OCD.
- Renée Visser & Arnoud Arntz seek to understand A faulty compass: Why do some people choose situations that are not good for them?
- Chris Brewin explores Identity – A critical but neglected construct in cognitive-behavior therapy.
- Mark Freeston & Jessica Komes describe their somatic error theory of intolerance of uncertainty in Revisiting uncertainty as a felt sense of unsafety.
Psychological Interventions for Populations Under Ongoing Threat
A common clinical question concerns whether it is possible to deliver effective therapy to individuals experiencing current threat. Models of trauma such as the cognitive model of PTSD concpetualize trauma exposure in relation to past ocurrences, which lead to a current sense of threat. Professionals often take the position that ‘safety’ and ‘stabilization’ need to be established prior to commencing psychological treatments (and services may erect criteria requiring stability prior to offering assessment or treatment).
This pre-registered systematic review explored the effectiveness and feasibility of the full range of psychological interventions for psychological effects of traumatic events in contexts of ongoing threat. Studies included trials of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and trials of narrative exposure therapy for women in Iran living with abusive partners. The review suggested that:
"Psychological interventions for trauma-related difficulties do not cause harm, are feasible for populations under ongoing threat, and are most likely beneficial. The assumption that we should not offer psychological interventions in these settings is therefore not supported by the findings of this review. There was no evidence that suggested psychological interventions for those experiencing trauma were harmful."
Yim, S. H., Lorenz, H., & Salkovskis, P. (2023). The Effectiveness and Feasibility of Psychological Interventions for Populations Under Ongoing Threat: A Systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 0(0).