January 2, 2023 — Therapy Grab Bag: Some 2022 favorites
I thought I would start the year by rounding up some useful concepts and resources that I really enjoyed in 2022:
This Way Up: is a website providing evidence-based CBT online. This not-for-profit (free for both clinicians and patients — shoot me an email if you need help setting up a free clinician's account where you can "prescribe" programs to patients) website is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and was created with St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of New South Wales. Some reasons why I really love it:
The range of programs: There are programs that are specifically designed for Depression, GAD, Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Panic, OCD, PTSD, and Chronic Pain. There are also programs for co-occurring anxiety and depression, including ones specifically for perinatal anxiety & depression, focusing on mindfulness, and aimed teens. Lastly, other programs target specific skills, including stress management, insomnia, mindfulness, and student-well-being.
Not only are programs based on evidence-based practice, but their effectiveness has also been tested.
Awesome worksheets and handouts are available, and translated into 10 different languages.
ACT in Context: The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Podcast: this is a free podcast created by the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) that allowed me to delve deeper into ACT and its clinical application, all while commuting or going for evening walks!
It explains how ACT came to be, introduces acceptance, defusion, self-as-context, contact with the present moment, values and committed action, and looks at how ACT can be used in specific populations such as those with trauma/PTSD and adolescents.
Some high-profile guests feature on the show, including Steven Hayes himself, Sonja Batten, and Russ Harris.
It's filled with practical exercises and analogies that can be used in session!
Self-Compassion has been a very useful concept:
Here is a wonderful TED talk by Dr. Kristin Neff on the topic, which can act as a good introduction to the concept.
In short, self-compassion is not about rating oneself positively or as "better than average", but rather embracing oneself as one is, including any flaws.
Its three core components are self-kindness (in opposition to harsh judgment), common humanity (how am I the same as others?), and mindfulness (e.g., in the present moment).
Self-compassion offers benefits that extend beyond those offered by self-esteem, and, importantly, does so without being contingent on success. Self-compassion is not associated with narcissism, does not rely on social comparison, and results in a more stable sense of self-worth than self-esteem, all while being related to lower ratings of depression and anxiety and greater ratings of life satisfaction, motivation, sense of connection with others, and self-responsibility.
Some great self-compassion resources are available on Dr. Neff's website, including guided self-compassion meditations and exercises.
I also recommend her workbook entitled The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive.
I hope you discovered something new that you will find useful, and I wish you a fulfilling 2023!