Why Stress Destroys Us

Prof. Carmine Pariante

Carmine Pariante (@ParianteSPILab) is Professor of Biological Psychiatry at Kings College London, where he also leads the Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology (SPI) Lab, investigating the relationship between stress, mental health and the immune system.

Carmine is the editor of a number of books including “Understanding Depression: A Translational Approach“, and “Behavioral Neurobiology of Stress-related Disorders“, and he also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

He has received a number of awards for his research including the 2012 “Academic Psychiatrist of the Year” Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the 2015 Anna-Monika Prize for Research on Depression, and the Norman Cousins Award for outstanding contributions to research in psychoneuroimmunology.

In today’s episode we discuss the biology of stress, everything from the anatomy of the brain, to the endocrine system, and how it’s all functions together. We explore the evolutionary advantages of the stress response, how the pressures of modern life can cause stress to become chronic, and how the physiological damage of long-term stress can lead to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

 

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Related Links

Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology (SPI) Lab – Facebook Page

Book Recommendations

          

Image courtesy: Amy McTigue

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How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill

DJ Jaffe

D.J. Jaffe (@MentalIllPolicy) is a writer and activist whose work is focused on improving care for the 4% of people who are the most severely mentally ill, including those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

D.J. is the founder and Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org, a think-tank dedicated to providing law enforcement, the media and policy makers with unbiased information on issues affecting the seriously mentally ill.

His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, and he is the author of the controversial and well-reviewed, “Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill“.

In today’s episode we discuss the distinctions between serious and non-serious mental illness, why anti-stigma and anti-suicide campaigns are misguided, the damaging myths about serious mental illness perpetuated by the media, and ultimately how mental health advocates are failing the very people they profess to be trying to help.

 

Related Links

Mental Illness Policy Org – Homepage

8 Myths About Mental Illness – by D.J. Jaffe

Mental Illness Policy Org – Facebook Page

National Alliance on Serious Mental Illness – Facebook Group

Book Recommendations

                                   

Image courtesy: MJ Klaver

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Is it Time to Drop Your Diagnosis?

Dr. Lucy Johnstone

Lucy Johnstone (@ClinPsychLucy) is a consultant clinical psychologist, conference speaker, lecturer and trainer, and one of many professionals and service users/survivors who take a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice.

She is author of “Users and Abusers of Psychiatry“, co-editor of “Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People’s Problems“, and the author of the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “A Straight Talking Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis“.

Lucy also writes a blog at Mad in America where she writes about the advantages of one alternative to psychiatric diagnosis, known as psychological formulation. An approach which allows for the exploration of personal meaning within relational and social contexts.

In today’s episode we discuss why the concept of psychiatric diagnosis is both invalid and unreliable, we weigh up the benefits and consequences of being labelled with a particular disorder, and whether or not the demise of the current classification system, which is acknowledged to be unsatisfactory even by the people who invented it, will lead to more constructive and helpful alternatives.

 

Related Links

Mad in America – Rethinking psychiatric care

Drop the Disorder Facebook Group – A group for anyone who is interested in challenging traditional approaches to emotional distress

A Disorder 4 Everyone – Exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis

Book Recommendations

                                        

Image courtesy: Wikimedia

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PTSD: Trauma, Meaning and Malevolence

Dr. Nick Grey

Nick Grey (@nickdgrey) is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Research and Training Fellow at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Sussex.

His research interests are in the development and dissemination of cognitive-behavioural treatments for anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is also a member of the Wellcome Trust Anxiety Disorders Group led by David Clark and Anke Ehlers.

He is the editor of “A Casebook of Cognitive Therapy for Traumatic Stress Reactions“, co-editor of “How to be a More Effective CBT Therapist“, and co-author of the forthcoming 3rd edition of the psychological self-help classic, “Manage Your Mind”.

In today’s episode we explore the definitions and subjective nature of “trauma”, why women are twice as likely to suffer with PTSD than men, the difference between a normal and disordered trauma response, what differentiates PTSD from other anxiety disorders, we discuss the nature of malevolence and why acts of evil are more likely to result in trauma than accidents and natural disasters, why narrative and meaning plays such an important role in a person’s recovery.

 

Related Links

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – NHS Choices Summary

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies – The largest professional organisation focused on traumatic stress

UK Psychological Trauma Society – UK version of ISTSS, includes listings of specialist UK trauma services

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – The NICE guidelines for PTSD provide a summary of PTSD assessment and treatment

National Center for PTSD – Program of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs which maintains the free access Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress (PILOTS) database

PTSD Coach App – The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma (iOS), (Android)

Book Recommendations

                                   

 

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A Beginner’s Guide to Psychoanalysis

Prof. Elizabeth Lunbeck

Elizabeth Lunbeck is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, specializing in the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and psychology, with allied interests in women and gender, intellectual and cultural history, and the twentieth-century United States.

She is the author of a number of books including the multi-award winning “The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America”, and “The Americanization of Narcissism” for which she received the 2015 Courage to Dream Book Prize from the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Liz is also an academic program graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and holds an MA in counseling psychology from William James College.

In today’s episode we explore some of the basic ideas of Freudian psychoanalysis, what it is and where it came from, whether there’s any truth to the modern caricature of psychoanalysis as an expensive waste of time exploring Oedipal issues and repressed memories, what modern psychoanalysis looks like in practice, and whether or not Freud still has anything to offer in the the 21st century.

 

Related Links

ElizabethLunbeck.com – Liz’s website

Karnac Books – Online bookstore with around 18000 specialist titles on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy

Book Recommendations

               

 

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Image courtesy: Tnarik Innael

The Holy Grail of Psychotherapy?

Dr. Warren Mansell

Warren Mansell (@warrenmansell) is a Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at the University of Manchester, specialising in psychological approaches to bipolar disorder, transdiagnostic interventions for mental health problems, and Perceptual Control Theory.

In 2011 he received the British Psychological Society May Davidson Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology in the first ten years since qualifying as a clinical psychologist.

He is the author of a number of books including “The Bluffer’s Guide to Psychology“, “Coping with Fears and Phobias: A Step-by-step Guide to Understanding and Facing Your Anxieties“, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion “A Transdiagnostic Approach to CBT using Method of Levels Therapy“.

In today’s episode we explore the transdiagnostic approach to understanding psychological distress, how a loss of control is at the root of all mental health problems from anorexia to OCD, and why Method of Levels could prove to be the Holy Grail of psychotherapy.

 

 

The transdiagnostic processes common across all psychological disorders, and the fundamental process which underlies them all… Loss of control caused by conflicting goals.

 

Related Links

PCTWeb – The theory of control that is changing our world view

Method of Levels (MOL) – A way of helping people listen to themselves

Method of Levels and Life’s Journey – A demonstration of a Method of Levels therapy in action

Book Recommendations

                         

 

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Porn Scars: Afflictions of the Porn Generation

Wendy Maltz

Wendy Maltz (@healthysextweet) is an internationally recognized certified sex therapist with more than forty years of clinical experience, and a leading expert on healing sexual abuse, women’s sexual fantasies, healthy sexuality, and recovery from porn-related concerns.

She has served as an Adjunct Instructor teaching “Human Sexuality in Counseling” at the University of Oregon, and in 2014, she received the prestigious Carnes award from the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health for “her outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction.”

Wendy is the author of numerous books including “Private Thoughts: Exploring the Power of Women’s Sexual Fantasies“, “The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse“, and the book which expands on today’s topic “The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography“.

In today’s episode we discuss the social and psychological consequences for young men who grow up with fast and easy access to increasingly extreme pornography.

 

Related Links

HealthySex.com – Wendy’s website

Do You Know the Difference? (Porn-related Sex vs Healthy Sex) – Poster

The Hazards of Porn – Poster

Teenagers are having less sex, but contracting more STI’s – Cosmopolitan

Book Recommendations

          

 

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Image courtesy: Heather Hopkins

Tapping into EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Dawson Church, PhD

Dawson Church, PhD, is a health writer and researcher in the fields of health, psychology, and spirituality.

He is the author of the best-selling book “The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention“, and founder of EFT Universe, one of the largest alternative medicine sites on the web.

He is the editor of the peer-reviewed journal “Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment”, general manager of Energy Psychology Press, and a blogger for the Huffington Post.

In 2007 he founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare (NIIH), a nonprofit institution dedicated to the study and implementation of evidence-based psychological and medical techniques.

Now, I’m a skeptic when it comes to energy psychology, and much of what alternative medicine claims to offer, particularly when it comes to mental health.

However, rather than dismiss these concepts outright, I think it’s better to give them a fair hearing, and let you guys make up your own minds.

For those of you unfamiliar with EFT, or tapping as it’s commonly known, it’s basically a form of alternative medicine which claims that tapping on certain acupuncture points can help relieve various psychological problems.

In today’s episode we discuss the origins and theory behind EFT, it’s professed application to the likes of anxiety and PTSD, whether “blocked energy” is at the cause or effect of psychological distress, and whether or not the positive effects of EFT can be explained away by the placebo effect.

 

Recommended Links

DawsonGift.com – Download a free copy of the EFT Mini-Manual

EFT Universe –  The largest EFT site on the web.

EFT Tapping ‘How to’ Video with Dawson Church – YouTube

 

Some Opposing Viewpoints:

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Can We Really Tap Our Problems Away? – Skeptical Enquirer

Time to turn off the Tap: Why Emotional Freedom Technique is dangerous nonsense – The Psychiatry SHO

Related Books

               

 

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Image courtesy: Tomás Fano

Maternal OCD: Striving to be Supermum

Dr. Fiona Challacombe

Dr. Fiona Challacombe (@DrFionaCh) is a research fellow and clinical psychologist working at the Maudsley Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, and the Section of Women’s Mental Health at Kings College London, where she specialises in maternal OCD and anxiety.

She is patron of Maternal OCD, a voluntary organisation dedicated to raising the profile of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for mothers.

Along with Prof. Paul Salkovskis (see episode #004), she is co-author of “Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT“.

In today’s episode we explore how and why OCD manifests during the perinatal period, the nature and content of the obsessions and compulsions, and what causes maternal OCD? Is it down to hormonal changes, living in risk averse society, or the evolutionary desire to keep our children safe from harm?

We explore why maternal OCD is given such little attention compared to other mental health issues, whether or not this condition has long term ramifications for the children of parents with OCD, and most importantly how to seek treatment.

 

Recommended Links

Maternal OCD

OCD Action – A national (UK) charity for anyone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD-UK – Supporting children and adults affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

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Image courtesy: Julian Fong

Unmasking the Imposter Syndrome

Dr. Valerie Young

Valerie Young (@ValerieYoung) is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker and world renowned expert on the imposter syndrome.

Valerie first experienced imposter feelings herself during her graduate program at the University of Massachusetts in 1982, and has studied the phenomenon ever since.

After 30 years of insight, in 2011 she published the award winning book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It“.

To date, she has taught her “How to Feel As Bright and Capable As Everyone Seems to Think You Are” program to over 80,000 people at organizations such as Boeing, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Apple, Chrysler, and Facebook.

In today’s episode we discuss the origins of the imposter phenomenon, why people experience it, who is most susceptible, why it can be harmful to our careers and mental health, and most importantly, how to overcome it.

 

Recommended Links

ImposterSyndrome.com

Thinking your way out of imposter syndrome – Valerie’s TED Talk

ChangingCourse.com – Turn your interests into income

Books Mentioned in This Episode

                    

 

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Image courtesy: JD Hancock