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New Harbinger Blog for Professionals

Dedicated to providing mental health professionals with the latest in evidence-based psychology research, theory, practical in-session tools, and everything in between.

fiona.hannigan

Editor’s Note: The following is a Q&A with Russell Kolts, PhD, author of CFT Made Simple: A Clinician’s Guide to Practicing Compassion-Focused Therapy.

 

Tell us a bit about your journey to learning and ultimately teaching compassion-focused therapy.

fiona.hannigan

Most cognitive behavioral therapy approaches focus on aversive symptoms and problematic behaviors. This emphasis can limit the attention that’s paid to experiences that focus on growth and prosperity, such as a client’s culture and faith. Acceptance and commitment therapy, however, has a marked focus on values-based living, which aims to increase functionality by using values as a compass to do so. For many clients, one of the most important areas of values-based life is religious belief systems.

fiona.hannigan

Editor’s note: The following interview is with April West, PsyD, co-author with Matthew McKay, PhD of Emotion Efficacy Therapy: A Brief, Exposure-Based Treatment for Emotion Regulation Integrating ACT and DBT. West is a psychotherapist and emotion researcher based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

What is emotion efficacy and what does it mean when someone has low emotion efficacy? 

fiona.hannigan

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) is rooted in a scientific explanation of how our brains have become the way they are through the history of human evolution. From this foundational understanding, CFT focuses on the purposeful cultivation of compassion, the skills and strengths that flow from it, and how to use them to work effectively with human suffering.

fiona.hannigan

Editor’s note: The following interview is with Steven Alper, MSW, LCSW, a psychotherapist and mindfulness practitioner who has taught mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for twenty-four years. He is the author of Mindfulness Meditation in Psychotherapy: An Integrated Model for Clinicians.

Tell us the story of how you became interested in meditation. Who were some of the teachers who influenced you?

fiona.hannigan

Are some of your clients overwhelmed by their emotions? Does the knob seemed turned all the way up when they’re angry, ashamed, fearful, or sad? Do they struggle to avoid painful affect, and then, as they lose control, become overwhelmed by a tsunami of feelings? Do they believe that certain emotions are unbearable (distress intolerance), and that they lack the ability to face them? As you know, these are all features of emotion dysregulation, and a corresponding lack of emotion efficacy.

fiona.hannigan

Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) focuses largely on the therapeutic relationship and the interpersonal behaviors that occur in sessions. FAP therapists pay special attention to identifying clinical relevant behaviors — behaviors that take place in sessions and exemplify the client’s real-life problematic behavior (termed CRB1), and the client’s real-life improved behavior (termed CRB2).  These are the “away moves” and “toward moves” clients engage in during sessions.

hilary

Inclusion in tribes was a condition of survival in earlier eras of human history. As a result, our ancestors grew extremely sensitive to the threat of rejection from the group, and we retain sensitivity to social exclusion to this day. But most of us no longer have strong group bonds akin to those that exist in tribes, and we are also potentially able to be in contact with cast numbers of other humans. Thus each and every individual we encounter can represent either a source of great comfort and safety or a looming threat of social exclusion.

fiona.hannigan

The goal of psychotherapy should be to increase a client’s psychological flexibility. When it comes to clients with emotion regulation disorders, research shows that experiential avoidance and distress intolerance are the two transdiagnostic factors that are responsible for much of the inflexibility that they experience.

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