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- What Makes An Effective Therapist? A Clinical Psychology And Psychotherapy Podcast Episode.
This psychology podcast focuses a lot on different areas of clinical psychology, psychotherapy and various mental health conditions. I do this because I truly hope to inspire some psychology students to go into clinical psychology and become psychotherapists. It can be extremely useful, interesting and be extremely rewarding work. Yet we do need to ask ourselves from time to time, what actually makes a good therapist because it seriously isn’t down to what degree they have. Therefore, in this clinical psychology podcast episode, we’ll be looking at five different factors that help to make a good psychotherapist that can bond with clients, improve lives and decrease psychological distress. If you enjoy mental health, psychotherapy and careers in psychology then you’ll love today’s episode. This psychology podcast episode has been sponsored by Careers In Psychology: A Guide To Careers In Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Business Psychology and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley What Makes An Effective Therapist? Now we’ll look at five research findings that help to make an effective therapist. You Can Make Mental Health Difficulties And Still Be A Great Therapist One of my favourite research findings about psychotherapists comes from Orlinsky et al. (2011) that found that after graduation, the vast majority of therapists have actually been in therapy themselves. This happens for a very, very wide range of reasons and this brings us to an important topic within psychology. Everyone thinks that to be a therapist you shouldn’t have any mental health difficulties and you shouldn’t have anything “wrong” with you and if you do then you will simply fail as a therapist. This has no basis in reality and this isn’t reflected in the literature. Mainly because everyone experiences personal growth and this growth can take a lifetime. Of course, unresolved trauma and other mental health difficulties can leave us vulnerable to being psychologically triggered by the experiences of our clients. This becomes a problem when it leads us, as current or future therapists, to experience empathic failure, advice-giving instead of therapy, emotional distancing and even disassociating in the therapy sessions. Thankfully (I think?), one way to test if there is an area of psychology or therapy you get triggered by is whenever you’re being taught a certain topic and you get triggered by it. Then this is a warning sign that you might have issues to deal with. Personally, I definitely agree with this point. Since I was talking to a friend a while ago about how my ideal clinical population is transgender people but my friend pointed out how the topic of suicide and self-harm will certainly come up. That was before I went to therapy and even during my trauma lectures last year at university, I was uncomfortable. So it would be interesting to see how my journey of healing has helped with me dealing with these topics from future clients. I think I could deal and help clients with these topics but until I get experience with them again, I simply will not know for sure. Overall, if you have mental health difficulties, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll fail as a therapist. Personal Qualities Are Important For Therapy Outcomes One finding that should come as no surprise to you wonderful podcast listeners is that a therapist should have certain personal qualities that are strongly linked to improved therapy outcomes. For instance, a good therapist is comfortable with emotional intimacy, can tolerate strong emotions in themselves as well as other people, they’re empathic, have healthy personal boundaries and they can hear and take criticism without being defensive about it. There are other additional qualities that would be great in a therapist but they’re some of the most important factors shared by good therapists. As a result, if you’ve just listened to that short list then rate yourself on these traits. See how good you think you are and see what traits you could work on to improve. I know I’m working on my healthy personal boundaries and empathy, because I am not perfect and that’s okay. Most Therapeutic Models Are Equally Effective At Treating Most Mental Health Conditions Thirdly, the “Dodo Bird Effect” proposes and it is supported by research that most models of therapy are equally effective for most types of mental health conditions. Although, this isn’t saying that therapeutic models don’t matter because they seriously do and I think they can be extremely useful in guiding clinical practice, but this is why you need to pick models you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t really matter what models you pick as long as you like them and this liking will help you be more confident, happier with your work and this confidence with come through your work with your clients. For example, I really like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, systemic therapy and the person-centred approach because they really resonate with me and how I like to work. Therefore, I would never ever choose a graduate programme with psychodynamic work because I hate it and that hate would show in my therapy work with a client. That would only harm the client and my job satisfaction. However, I would say as a counterpoint, know when you can’t help someone because there are better people to help them. For example, going back to my own point, as much as I love CBT, systemic and person-centred approaches and I hope to be qualified in them in the future. If anyone came to me and I thought Acceptance Commitment Therapy or Internal Family Therapy would be better for them, I would have to send the client to those specialists because I couldn’t help them. I think all the therapeutic models have their place to some extent, so as future or current psychologists we need to understand when other specialists are better able to help our clients. Different Graduate Degrees Don’t Make A Therapist More Effective Personally, I don’t know if this is a US-centric point because I didn’t know there were so many different types of psychology graduate degrees, but it turns out that the longer you study doesn’t make you a better therapist. For example, it doesn’t matter if you of a Masters of Science, Arts, Education, a PhD, PsycD, MD or an MSW. Whilst it will certainly impact your career opportunities and the sort of career you end up doing, when it comes to therapy it doesn’t make you more effective. And as much as you might be doubting me, it is a very strong research finding that has been replicated in a ton of studies according to Christensen and Jacobson (1994). Of course, this isn’t to say that all graduate programmes give you the same learning experience. Since if you want a PhD then this is great if you want to conduct research and go into academia. If you want to do a PsyD then this is great if you a lot of supervision and classroom learning. Then if you want a Masters of Social Work then this might offer a wider community way of looking at mental health. However, the point remains. According to the research, the extra years of training offered by a doctoral programme don’t make someone a more effective therapist compared to a shorter degree programme. Experience Alone Doesn’t Make A Therapist More Effective Lastly, in the UK, there is a large focus on the Reflective-practitioner model, that focuses on clinical psychologists reflecting on their practice and finding new ways to improve. This is exactly what we need to do if therapists ever want to improve. Since feedback is important in clinical practice and it allows us to learn and adjust the way we work based on it. There’s a great article called “The Secrets of Supershrinks” that I’ll link to in the reference section below where some psychology researchers discuss how the best psychotherapists routinely get feedback from their clients and they actually listen to it by adapting their practices in the process. Personally, I totally understand this because our clients are the people we are trying to help, so why wouldn’t we go to them to get better? It is useless for us to talk only to our peers and supervisors about our working practices, because they aren’t the people we’re trying to help. It is our clients that are our reason for going into the office every day, so it only makes sense that we get their feedback and take it onboard. Of course, this is flat out scary at times and I couldn’t imagine asking a client for feedback because, what if they’re mean? What if my ego gets hurt? And all those other very human fears. However, a larger part of therapy is being vulnerable and letting go of our egos. We aren’t perfect, our work will never be perfect and sometimes we just need someone to tell us something and then we realise that we were doing something wrong and now we can fix it. Um, doesn’t that sound like what we do for our clients? So why don’t we allow our clients to do the same for us in terms of feedback? Maybe you were too pushy, rude or insensitive about asking a certain topic. Maybe the client found your polite laughter hurtful or something. I actually had a counselling assessment this week and it really did annoy me how smiley and how much the woman interrupted me. It was annoying. I’m glad she won’t be seeing me because I really didn’t like her. And yet because she didn’t want feedback, I couldn’t tell her and she might annoy another client that really, really needs her help. Just thought. Clinical Psychology Conclusion When it comes down to it, our graduate programmes give us the knowledge, tools and techniques to improve lives and become therapists. Yet ultimately, it is down to us as human beings to become good therapists. Mainly because therapy really is about relationships and two humans together in a room talking, bonding and wanting to help the person in distress. No graduate programme can teach us how to be a better human and a better listener. That all comes from within a person but this isn’t fixed. We can become better therapists and people over time, and if you remember those 5 features of what makes an effective therapist then you might be well on the way to improving. And helping so many amazing people that walk into your therapy room hoping that you can help them decrease their distress, improve their life and hopefully change their life for the better. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Careers In Psychology: A Guide To Careers In Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Business Psychology and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Christensen, A., & Jacobson, N. S. (1994). Who (or what) can do psychotherapy: The status and challenge of nonprofessional therapies. Psychological science, 5(1), 8-14. Duncan, B. L., Miller, S. D., Wampold, B. E., & Hubble, M. A. (2010). The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy (pp. xxix-455). American Psychological Association. Grenyer, B. F. S. (2010). The heart and soul of change: delivering what works in therapy, (Book Review). Miller, S. D., Hubble, M. A., Duncan, B. L., & Wampold, B. E. (2010). Delivering what works. Nemec, P. (2012). Review of The heart and soul of change: Delivering what works in therapy. Orlinsky, D. E., Schofield, M. J., Schroder, T., & Kazantzis, N. (2011). Utilization of personal therapy by psychotherapists: a practice-friendly review and a new study. Journal of clinical psychology, 67(8), 828–842. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20821 I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy? A Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Podcast Episode.
When I was researching emotional dependency, because that is a very common relationship issue between partners, one of the therapies I discovered for the problem was Emotionally Focused Therapy. Therefore, this piqued my psychological interest and we’re going to explore this fascinating therapy in today’s episodes. By the end of this clinical psychology episode, you’ll understand what is emotionally focused therapy, how does it work, why is it used and much more. Today’s episode has been sponsored by Psychology Of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Friendships, Romantic Relationships and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy? Emotionally Focused Therapy is a short-term psychological therapy that aims to give a couple a way to rekindle their emotional and physical bond that tends to get lost to disappointment and alienation from a partner. This is a common dynamic in distressed couples. As a result, Emotionally Focused Therapy draws on attachment theory and similar research so the therapy believes the best lever or vehicle of therapeutic change is the security of the partner connection. As well as this connection is a great source for individual and couple growth too. Therefore, the love in the relationship is transformative and the reforming of this emotional and physical bonds allow the couple to be open and responsive with each other. This allows them to create a mutually satisfying and supportive relationship, one that will last in the present and for the future. In addition, Emotionally Focused Therapy works on the research showing that our emotions are the organising principles of our lives. As well as when a partner shows the emotions of longing and sadness compared to isolation then this is a powerful tool for reestablishing that lost contact and responsiveness of a partner. Then once this contact has been restored, it can become a source of mutual comfort. In other words, a buffer against the many stressors life might throw at our clients. Moreover, Emotionally Focused Therapists allow couples to discover any unmet needs for closeness in the relationship are normally underlined by alienation or anger. Then the therapists help them realise that sharing this vulnerability opens new ways to communicate and create instant opportunities for the couple to be tender with each other. This was phrased by one of the developers of Emotionally Focused Therapy, Sue Johnson as “Emotional Responsiveness- tuning into and supporting the other- is the key defining element of love,” How Does Emotionally Focused Therapy Work? We know that Emotionally Focused Therapy focuses on a couple’s emotional experiences and reactions first and foremost, and it’s based on attachment theory and the importance we place on connections with others as a source of comfort and safety. As well as a vehicle for our own growth but the growth of the relationship too. However, if we dive into this therapy a little more then we learn that these connections to others can be physical. Like our blood and flesh romantic partner. Yet they can be a mental representation of an important figure inside us that we form our relationships around. or these others can be the different parts of ourselves. The human need for others is hardwired into us and it is only our connections that help us feel safe enough to grow, take risks, explore the world and develop into the person we want to be. When this doesn’t happen then our nervous system takes over by experiencing arousal and people are prepared for avoidance of risk, vigilance because of perceived danger and they have a sense of hopelessness. According to Emotionally Focused Therapy, all these are risk factors for mental health difficulties. Personally, going off my own experience here, this is definitely true I think because my mental health was at its worst when I didn’t feel safe in my own life and I felt utterly hopeless about my future. Therefore, if there is a psychotherapy that focuses on improving that sense of safety and security then this is only a good thing for the people that need it. Additionally, regardless of whether Emotionally Focused Therapists are working with real partners, mental representations of relationships or in couples therapy, the therapy still explores the nature of our connections and the wide range of emotions they create. The therapy helps people to actively restructure these relationships too so the client can help pave the way for new, more rewarding experiences. In other words, by restructuring these relationships, it will hopefully help the client not to keep having the same negative emotions and making the same “mistakes” in future relationships. Overall, I’ve already spoken about the attachment theory bits but Emotionally Focused Therapy helps a client to understand how their negative ways of interacting in a relationship are normally related to fears of loss. Then a therapist can help the client to learn how to openly talk about their fears, identify any attachment needs that their fear masks and then instead of the client using their fear to distance themselves from the partner, they can use their vulnerabilities to seek closeness too. Allowing the couple to solve any problems they come across together. When Is Emotionally Focused Therapy Used? This form of psychotherapy is really useful when a couple comes to a therapist feeling distressed and alienated to the extent that they believe their relationship cannot be repaired. The couple might be showing signs of extreme grief, loss of trust, anger, fear or even a sense of betrayal. Also, these negative emotions are normally so strong that it’s believed they’re actually protests or despair over the loss of the connection and the lack of physical and emotional closeness that the couple once had. As well as linking to the section above, in Emotionally Focused Therapy these feelings are thought to be hiding unlovability, helplessness and fear that pop up when these bonds of closeness are damaged. As a result, Emotionally Focused Therapy is useful for people and couples who have difficulties showing their emotions or they unfortunately believe that showing emotions are a sign of weakness. This is honestly one of my biggest, biggest pet hates in the entire world because emotions don’t make you weak. That is such an outdated, such a silly notion that I hated more than anything else on this entire planet. I flat out hate it. Anyway, Emotionally Focused Therapy can also be useful for people who have problems with emotional regulation as their intense reactivity is believed to be a result of emotional alarm bells being set off by fears of abandonment. Then in individual therapy using Emotionally Focused Therapy, the therapist helps to form a secure alliance with the client that becomes a safe space for any emotional expression and exploration. That’s the reason why this therapy can be used for people with emotional dependency because Emotionally Focused Therapy helps to deal with fears of abandonment, intense reactions and their unhealthy attachment styles. That is really good to know about for future reference. It is worth noting that Emotionally Focused Therapy can be used in a lot of other places too because it does directly target emotional isolation. This is important because emotional isolation is believed to be the core aspect of a range of mental health difficulties like depression and anxiety and my personal favourite trauma. Also, this therapy can be used to repair family bonds where parent-child relationships have become negative, for instance. Personally, I mentioned this earlier, because I can understand how Emotionally Focused Therapy is useful in trauma victims. Since my own trauma, it does make you feel very alone, very shameful and very guilty so you cannot talk to or express your emotions to other people very easily and this causes tons of mental distress. Therefore, by creating a safe space for this emotional expression is flat out critical. I know a lot of therapeutic orientations do this space safe work because it is basically the therapeutic alliance, but Emotionally Focused Therapy seems to focus on it more. What Should You Expect From Emotionally Focused Therapy? When it comes to the therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy is typically delivered once a week for 8 to 20 sessions. Then after the therapist understands the history of the couple, they will start to watch their interaction patterns with the couple being asked to identify their most pressing issues. After questioning, listening and watching the couple, the therapist can start to understand the unspoken insecurities and fears that underline their negative interaction patterns. Normally, the first few sessions of the therapy focus on de-escalating the emotional reactivity and distress that the couple experiences, even more so in their life outside the therapy session. They do this by getting the couple to expand their emotional response patterns so they can respond and recognise their partner’s needs. In the second stage of the therapy, the focus changes to restore the deep emotional bond between the partners. This allows the couple to create a sense of security that allows partners to share their insecurities and vulnerabilities so they can comfort each other and this serves as a secure base for the individual’s and couple’s growth and their exploration of the world. Remember everything in this therapy comes back to attachment theory. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that an Emotionally Focused Therapist isn’t a passive person in the therapy process, they’re very active in the therapy. Since the therapist has to reframe the distancing behaviour as withdrawal or fear and highlight that this isn’t a pathology, this is actually a misguided attempt at a connection. This allows a partner to express their deep feelings for each other and what they need from their partner in a more adaptive way. Finally, the final sessions focus on consolidating the gains made by the couple in the other sessions. Such as, the couple have managed to improve their mutual support system and then they’re asked to talk about an ongoing or an old problem so they can develop new solutions to it. This helps to get the clients to practice connecting and being comfortable instead of disconnecting whenever the relationship gets difficult. This can only happen because the couple now understand the true emotional needs that used to drive their negative interaction patterns. Clinical Psychology Conclusion Personally, I always enjoy looking at different forms of psychological therapies because we only really get to learn about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. And as much as I love that therapy, it is certainly nice to change things up at times and broaden our therapeutic horizons. Therefore, Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on attachment theory and a couple’s emotional experiences and reactions as well as the importance humans place on connections with others as a source of comfort and safety. As well as a vehicle for our own growth but the growth of the relationship too. Then by restoring this connection in a relationship, the therapy helps a couple to recognise and deal with the emotional needs of the other person. And something I am recognising more and more as I deepen my own knowledge about clinical psychology, it is there is seriously no one way to help a client. Also, no single therapy has all the answers for a client so I truly believe the most important thing we can do as current or future psychologists is to try and learn about as many therapies as possible so we can pull different levers and use different techniques depending on the client. Adaptability really is the name of the game when it comes to clinical psychology and Emotionally Focused Therapy certainly helps us adapt for our clients. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Psychology Of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Friendships, Romantic Relationships and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Greenberg, L. S. (2010). Emotion-focused therapy: An overview. Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal, 4(33), 1-12. Greenberg, L. S., & Goldman, R. N. (2019). Clinical handbook of emotion-focused therapy (pp. xiv-534). American Psychological Association. Greenberg, L. S., & Johnson, S. M. (1988). Emotionally focused therapy for couples. Guilford Press. Greenberg, L. S., Ford, C. L., Alden, L. S., & Johnson, S. M. (1993). In-session change in emotionally focused therapy. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 61(1), 78. Johnson, S. M. (2009). Attachment theory and emotionally focused therapy for individuals and couples. Attachment theory and research in clinical work with adults, 410-433. Johnson, S. M. (2019). Attachment theory in practice: Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with individuals, couples, and families. Guilford Publications. Rathgeber, M., Bürkner, P. C., Schiller, E. M., & Holling, H. (2019). The efficacy of emotionally focused couples therapy and behavioral couples therapy: A meta‐analysis. Journal of marital and family therapy, 45(3), 447-463. Wiebe, S. A., & Johnson, S. M. (2016). A review of the research in emotionally focused therapy for couples. Family Process, 55(3), 390-407. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- How Do Wildfires Impact Mental Health? A Clinical Psychology and Environmental Psychology Podcast.
With wildfires becoming increasingly common with them destroying homes, families and entire counties, we need to know how wildfires are impacting our mental health. We need to know if wildfires increase or decrease our mental health and what we can do to improve our mental health after the effects of wildfires. If you’re interested in clinical psychology, mental health and climate change then you’re going to love today’s episode. Today’s podcast episode has been sponsored by Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley How Do Wildfires Impact Mental Health? We know that our physical health is clearly impacted by wildfires because when people get exposed to the smog, smoke and poor air quality of wildfires then this negatively impacts our physical health. For example, the wildfires in Canada earlier in 2023 led to weeks of smog as well as poor air quality to be experienced by the USA. However, this is nothing new because this isn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) that wildfires have been linked to negative effects on our health. Especially our mental health. Since a lot of studies have focused on this research area specifically and there is a very useful meta-analysis that helps us to understand the results. Therefore, the meta-analysis Gao et al. (2023) looked at studies that happened in Canada, the USA and Australia and 21 of these studies focused on the effects of the pollutants and the effects of wildfires on mental health. The other studies in the meta-analysis focused on physical health. As a result, as you can imagine all the studies found wildfires negatively impacted our mental health. As well as there were strong associations between wildfire exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Distress, anger issues, specific phobia, heavy drinking and severe psychological distress. One of the included studies even found a decade later a geographical region experienced a wildfire, there was a 22% increase in mental health difficulties and heavy drinking. This was supported by research by Brown et al. (2021) as well. Clinical Psychology Conclusion At the end of this rather short podcast episode today, I want to stress that even though a lot of this literature does focus on developing countries. There is good research saying that the rise in global temperatures and the wildfires it causes does impact our mental health. It doesn’t only impact our environment and farming and livelihoods. Which of course has negative impacts on the economy as well as quality of living. It does impact our mental health too. The entire point of this podcast episode isn’t to tell that the world is doomed now because of climate change negatively impacting our mental health. This is simply another reason why climate change needs to be dealt with otherwise our mental health services will be under even more pressure as the number of wildfires around the world continues to increase. And no one can deny this connection anymore because we have the data, science and studies to prove it. Climate change is real but it can be stopped. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Agyapong, V. I., Ritchie, A., Brown, M. R., Noble, S., Mankowsi, M., Denga, E., ... & Greenshaw, A. J. (2020). Long-term mental health effects of a devastating wildfire are amplified by socio-demographic and clinical antecedents in elementary and high school staff. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 448. Bosman, Julie. (2023). “Smoky skies menace U.S. cities, driving residents indoors.” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/28/us/canada-wildfire-smoke-air-quality-midwest.html Brown, M. R., Agyapong, V., Greenshaw, A. J., Cribben, I., Brett-MacLean, P., Drolet, J., ... & Silverstone, P. H. (2019). After the Fort McMurray wildfire there are significant increases in mental health symptoms in grade 7–12 students compared to controls. BMC psychiatry, 19, 1-11. Brown, M. R., Pazderka, H., Agyapong, V. I., Greenshaw, A. J., Cribben, I., Brett-MacLean, P., ... & Silverstone, P. H. (2021). Mental health symptoms unexpectedly increased in students aged 11–19 years during the 3.5 years after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire: Findings from 9,376 survey responses. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, 676256. Eisenman, D. P., & Galway, L. P. (2022). The mental health and well-being effects of wildfire smoke: a scoping review. BMC public health, 22(1), 2274. Gao, Y., Huang, W., Yu, P., Xu, R., Yang, Z., Gasevic, D., ... & Li, S. (2023). Long-term impacts of non-occupational wildfire exposure on human health: A systematic review. Environmental Pollution, 121041. Humphreys, A., Walker, E. G., Bratman, G. N., & Errett, N. A. (2022). What can we do when the smoke rolls in? An exploratory qualitative analysis of the impacts of rural wildfire smoke on mental health and wellbeing, and opportunities for adaptation. BMC public health, 22(1), 1-12. McDermott, B. M., Lee, E. M., Judd, M., & Gibbon, P. (2005). Posttraumatic stress disorder and general psychopathology in children and adolescents following a wildfire disaster. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(3), 137-143. Sun, Q., Miao, C., Hanel, M., Borthwick, A. G., Duan, Q., Ji, D., & Li, H. (2019). Global heat stress on health, wildfires, and agricultural crops under different levels of climate warming. Environment international, 128, 125-136. To, P., Eboreime, E., & Agyapong, V. I. (2021). The impact of wildfires on mental health: a scoping review. Behavioral Sciences, 11(9), 126. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- What Is Emotional Dependency And Locus Of Evaluation? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.
Continuing with the theme of last week’s podcast episode What Is Person-Centred Psychotherapy, this week I want to look at another psychological concept from my therapy sessions that I found absolutely fascinating. I want to talk about it because it is brilliant to look at, a lot of people “suffer” from it and there isn’t always a lot of information available on emotional dependency. As well as there is nothing that links emotional dependency and locus of evaluation together, until this podcast episode anyway. Therefore, if you’re interested in clinical psychology, psychotherapy and mental health then definitely keep reading. Today’s podcast episode has been sponsored by Psychology of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Friendships, Romantic Relationships And More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley What Is Emotional Dependency? What I’ll do is that I’ll explain how normal healthy relationships work so you can understand emotional dependency is unhealthy. Then I’ll give you some good definitions including my own personal way because some of the definitions get a little hard to grasp. Therefore, we all know that emotional support in relationships is normal, healthy and it is seriously needed. Since we all like to know that our boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever is there for us after a bad day at work and they are able to support us. That is perfectly normal and it is expected and needed in social relationships. We all need in relationships with our romantic partners and friendships to be able to support each other. Also we cannot have great relationships without a good level of healthy personal intimacy where we feel safe to disclose things about ourselves. That is all healthy and normal. In addition, emotional support helps us to feel good about ourselves, it increases self-esteem and our confidence. However, when someone becomes emotionally dependent on another person then this can make a relationship unhealthy and rather toxic. Due to if a person is dependent on someone else then they cannot function very well or self-soothe effectively. This means that we need to rely significantly on other people to provide this for us and this typically comes in the form of assuring we are good enough and we deserve their unconditional love. As a result, when we talk about romantic relationships, this leads us to be very unsure and concerned about our partner’s commitment and/ or approval towards us. This makes us focus on our own doubts about the relationships and our self-doubts. Leading people to feel insufficient in the relationship and our love (or friendship love) is overtaken by our fear. People with emotional dependency typically have concerns about will they abandon me, replace me and leave me? Ultimately the person with emotional dependence becomes reliant on the reassurance of the other person to feel valued, safe and secure. Leading to relationship degradation. The main reason for this is simply because it is hard to love someone whilst letting that person be whoever they want to be when we are trying to cover up our own insecurities. With these insecurities typically generated in earlier life experiences and childhood, because when our parents weren’t able to make us securely attach to them, this harms us. How Do I Describe Emotional Dependency? Because emotional dependency deeply explores childhood attachment styles and whatnot, I want to quickly summarise all of it so we can move on to some other sections. Therefore, I describe emotional dependency as when people don’t love a child, or they didn’t love a particular part of them enough as a child. This leaves a massive hole in that child that they desperately want to fill with some kind of love, safety and security. This leads to them in later life forming unhealthy attachments with friends, romantic partners and others in order to fulfil that hole inside them and the person wants someone to offer them the unconditional love, security and safety they were never given as a child. For example, the sexuality part of my Self was never loved as a child and it was deeply traumatised and abused. This left me really wanting someone, anyone to give the sexuality part of my Self a feeling of safety, security and a kind of love (more like validation these days). So that’s why whenever I form a close relationship (which I rarely do these days because of autism and past trauma) I do tend to make it toxic in relatively short order. Simply because I want, I need that sense of love, safety and security that I was never ever given as a child. Now I will point out here that all the other parts of my Self were given extreme amounts of love, safety and security. Therefore, people can develop a more general kind of emotional dependency or they can form a narrow type like I have. Or should I say had, past tense. In addition, people who develop emotional dependency end up finding it next to impossible to internalise the validation and assurance that someone gives them. Meaning they need to keep hearing it again and again and they find it hard to make it part of their self-image, and fully integrate that part of the Self into their overall Self. How Does Emotional Dependency Destroy Relationships? Then to hammer this point out before we move onto the “cures” or therapy techniques for emotional dependency, emotional dependency typical breaks relationships because the emotionally dependent person wears down the other person with their constant or common requests for reassurance that they’re cared about, loved and that their partner wants to spend time with them. The problem with this is that giving in to these requests doesn’t erase all the pain, suffering and it doesn’t fill the hole inside the person. It really doesn’t. Therefore, as these requests continue over time, it wears down the other person until they reach a breaking point. Now I will admit that the people who have to spend with emotionally dependent people are flat out amazing. They do actually go through so much out of “love” (if they’re in a romantic relationship) or dedication to the friendship and that causes them their own pain and annoyance. They are flat out amazing and great people who putting up with it and trying their hardness to help the emotionally dependent person. But they do reach a breaking point and I seriously don’t blame them. This is hard on everyone and these friends and romantic partners are heroes and incredible for just trying to last as long as they can. Yet ultimately this is down to the emotionally dependent person to fix and get some kind of psychological support so they don’t have to be emotionally dependent anymore. Overall, emotional dependency leaves a person not wanting but needingreassurance desperately so they can help reduce some of the pain, suffering and uncertainty inside them. They just want someone to help fill the hole into themselves that just needs love, security and safety. But this isn’t healthy and this has to change. How Can Emotional Dependency Be Cured? I have to admit that nothing in psychology can be “cured” but emotional dependency are psychological wounds on a person. Therefore, they can be healed over time with enough information, dedication and motivation so the emotionally dependent person can work through their trauma and past and learn how to improve their lives. Since as my therapist put it, at the end of the day, a partner, a friend, whoever can give me as much validation, as much safety and as much security as I want. Yet I know it will never be enough because basically as soon as I leave them I started feeling unsafe, in danger and uncertain again. It was simply how my mind used to work and I knew that wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know how to change it. That’s why people who are emotionally dependent on others need to learn how to independently cope and ultimately provide themselves with a sense of security, safety and love. Which I have to admit we are in an extremely powerful position to do that nowadays because we aren’t children anymore. We are adults, we have the knowledge, we have the words and we hopefully have the life situations that allow us to provide ourselves with these three senses now. In addition, there is a fair amount of information and resources online to help us overcome our emotional dependency. Including something called “Reparenting” ourselves or Transactional Analysis, which my therapist mentioned in passing and I must do a podcast episode on at some point because I know that will make me look it up. Furthermore, here are some other tips I found online about overcoming emotional dependency and I think these are all really helpful. Then we’ll move onto the extremely powerful technique of Locus of Evaluations because this is what allowed me to basically kill my Emotional Dependency issues. · Deal with your past trauma · Heal with emotions and your emotional wounds · Understand your triggers · Increase your circle of friends · internalise locus of evaluation · Distance from yourself from the relationship (think of this as a behavioural experiment because you’ll see you won’t die by being separated from the relationship) · Do your own interests away from the relationship · Ask what does your friend or partner need from you in the relationship (this is more aimed at partners to be honest) · Know you are as good as the person you’re emotionally dependent on · Reparenting and know the areas you need to reparent yourself in · Understand you have the right to talk about your positive and negative feelings even if it risks upsetting others (within reason of course. Don’t be a horrible person for the sake of it) What Is The Locus of Evaluation? As proposed by Feltham and Dryden (1993), a person’s Locus of Evaluation is the place from which a person makes their judgements about themselves, the others and the world, with the term first being used by Carl Rogers. Therefore, a person can operate from an internal or external locus of evaluation. If a person uses an internal locus of evaluation then they trust themselves, they get their positive and negative evaluations from inside them and they get their sense of self-worth from themselves. Nonetheless, if a person operates from an external locus of evaluation then this means they get their sense of self-worth, self-esteem and they internalise the value judgements about themselves from important others. This is normally because of childhood conditions. In addition, it is important to note here that these are never the same for two people or even two aspects of the self. Since whenever it comes to me being a psychology student, a writer, a podcast and basically every single part of my Self (except until recently sexuality) I operated from a place of internal Locus of Evaluation. Due to I know that whenever I write something (be it nonfiction, fiction or university-related) I do the best I can do in that moment in time and I will improve over time. Therefore, whatever other people think doesn’t make me devalue myself and I don’t get my sense of self-worth from other people. At least 99% of the time, I always love to hear from you podcast listeners but some bad comments won’t make me want to shut the podcast because I believe I’m useless. However, when it comes to the Sexuality Part of me because that was never loved, given safety or anything as a child. That part of my Self was left behind as the other aspects of the Self developed in healthy, normal ways so I had to change my Locus of Evaluation and bring it. I did this mainly through a lot of memoir-ish writing and just reflecting and learning about reparenting and Locus of Evaluations. And over time I just realised I really don’t care what other people think of sexuality and how I am and what I do with my life. It is honestly a tiny part of my life but because it was so abused and traumatised it has caused me massive problems in my life. But now I simply no longer care about the value judgements. I also accepted some harsh truths about my life and my personal situation that helped me to bring in my Locus of Evaluation too. Since I know, truly know that only I can make myself feel safe, loved and secure and I did some reality checks too because some traumas from my childhood just don’t apply these days. Finally, a good thing to realise when you’re working through emotional dependency is to realise that you don’t need anyone (including the person you’re emotionally dependent on) to give you safety, love and security because only you can give yourself that sense. But you can want them to still be in your life. There is a massive difference there. Need is about you not being able to function without them and want is you just wanting them to be there as a friend, a lover but ultimately you can function fine without them. Since you gave yourself that power back. Clinical Psychology Conclusion Overall, emotional dependency is about when a child isn’t given love, security and safety they will find other unhealthy ways to have it in the future. They might seek constant reassurance, love and safety from a friend or a romantic partner. Yet over time this constant reassurance does wear a relationship down, normally to breaking point. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome emotional dependency including psychological therapy, reparenting and readjusting your Locus of Evaluation. Personally, by the time this podcast episode goes out I would have had three weeks (4 sessions) of therapy and honestly it has been the best money I have ever met. Due to I know how to have healthy relationships now, I know how to trust myself and give myself everything I never had as a child and I know moving forward that will be extremely important. And honestly, I look back at my mental health breakdown the week before I started therapy and the week I started it, and I don’t know how that person is anymore. I know that scared, traumatised and abused part of my Self is still there but he has no power over me now. He will not control my life, he will not make decisions because he’s healed. Or he is healing and now I am learning how to live life with my a decade’s worth of trauma, pain and suffering inside me. Granted I’ll admit I have no idea who I am in regards to my Sexuality Self because since it was first developed inside me, it isn’t filled with pain, suffering and self-torture. It is free so I am definitely looking forward to exploring that part of me in the future and seeing how all these different parts of my Self interact. I know therapy can be a scary time and thing to do, but if you need it, definitely do it because it has the power to change your life for the better. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Psychology of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Friendships, Romantic Relationships And More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Baltes, M. M., & Silverberg, S. B. (2019). The dynamics between dependency and autonomy: Illustrations across the life span. In Life-span development and behavior (pp. 41-90). Routledge. Estévez, A., Chávez-Vera, M. D., Momeñe, J., Olave, L., Vázquez, D., & Iruarrizaga, I. (2018). The role of emotional dependence in the relationship between attachment and impulsive behavior. Feltham C and Dryden W (1993) Dictionary of Counselling, Whurr Publishers https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201904/are-you-too-emotionally-dependent-your-partner Koskina, N., & Giovazolias, T. (2018). The effect of attachment insecurity in the development of eating disturbances across gender: The role of body dissatisfaction. In Marital Relationships and Parenting: Intimate relations and their correlates (pp. 191-213). Routledge. Rogers C (1951) Client-Centered Therapy, Constable Tolan J (2003) Skills in Person-Centred Counselling & Psychotherapy, Sage I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- What Is Person-Centred Therapy? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.
Interestingly enough in August 2023, I started four weeks of psychotherapy to help me deal with trauma and abuse from my past and I have only recently learnt that the counsellor (or as I call her ‘therapist’) uses a person-centred approach to therapy. I have only just heard about this approach to mental health to be honest, so I want to explore it further. Since I found it rather useful. Therefore, in this clinical psychology podcast episode, we’ll explore what is person-centred therapy, how does it work, what to expect and so much more. If you’re interested in psychological therapy, mental health and clinical psychology, then you’ll be in for a treat. Today’s podcast episode has been sponsored by Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley What Is Person-Centred Psychotherapy? Person-centred therapy is a client-based psychotherapy that uses a non-authoritative approach to mental health difficulties that allows clients to take the lead in therapy sessions so they can discover their own solutions to their difficulties. This particular approach to mental health was started by Carl Rodgers because he believed that every person is unique (which we are) and everyone’s view of their world should be trusted. In other words, he believed we should never ever doubt our clients and how they describe the world, because to them that actually is how the world works. Personally, I do understand this because everyone interprets different situations and events differently depending on their past experiences. This is basically what the cognitive approach is saying just with different words. Due to the cognitive approach believes it isn’t the events themselves that cause mental health difficulties it is our beliefs and interpretations of them that lead to difficulties. Furthermore, Carl Rodgers firmly believed in self-actualisation. This is the idea that all of us have the solutions, knowledge and power to make the changes we need in our lives. As well as this therapy is non-directive so the therapist doesn’t take the lead and instead follows the client and doesn’t engage in any direct discussions. However, something I am seriously starting to notice is that all these different approaches to mental health are basically just rehashing what another has already said. For example, every single psychotherapy I can think of is about self-actualisation and making sure the client realises they can make the changes needed in their lives using the tools and guidance the therapist gives them. Yet only they can make the changes for themselves. This actually isn’t unique to any approach. Moreover, I will admit that the non-directive part of person-centred therapy does require a bit of getting used to. Since I love cognitive-behavioural therapy, which is very structured, I had to let go of the idea that she was going to lead, and I had to lead instead. Thankfully I have so much mental health difficulties tied up in different parts of abuse and trauma that I have more than enough things to talk about, but it still did require a bit of relearning. Anyway, during person-centred therapy, a therapist isn’t the lead as we know. Instead the therapist is known as a “compassionate facilitator” because they listen to the client without judgement, they acknowledge the client’s experiences without changing or moving the conversation and they are there to support the client without interrupting them. Or impacting on their own process of self-discovery. In my experience that acknowledgement and “validation” in a fashion is extremely important and it does feel great to have someone else call your abuse and trauma, well, abuse and trauma. And I will happily admit that the process of self-discovery it is scary how much you can actually discover about yourself when we free yourself up. Like I literally cannot share everything I’ve discovered about myself on the podcast because that’s like another twenty episodes in itself, but it’s a lot of fun. And honestly, as much as really don’t want to discover anything more about myself, I know I will and that’s okay. Overall, the reason why the therapist doesn’t interrupt this process of self-discovery and lead is because it is down to the client to uncover what hurts them and what they need to do to repair it. That is a very powerful realisation when it hits you. How Does Person-Centred Therapy Work? The entire point of person-centred therapy is to step away from the more traditional psychotherapeutic models where the therapist is the leader and expert and instead the client is the expert in themselves. Again that is something I have mentioned a thousand times before on the podcast and in books. Therefore, person-centred therapy has three central tenets that allow the therapy to be successful. Firstly, the therapist has an unconditional positive regard so they are empathetic and non-judgemental. Due to the therapist accepts what the client is saying as true and they want to convey to the client that they are understood, confident, trusted and they are valued. As well as the client is free to make their own better choices and decisions in their life. This tenet I think is very powerful and helpful because I have tried to talk about my past before and there are only ever three outcomes really. None of which I blame on people. Firstly, they call me a liar because they don’t want to hear it because what I have to say is too painful. Secondly, they are sorry for what’s happening but they can ultimately never ever understand it at a deep level. Thirdly, they understand it but the problem with that is it is common trauma and abuse so they aren’t comfortable listening to it and because of emotional dependency and other difficulties, I burn them out too much. That’s why having a therapist that can just listen to me talk is extremely helpful. Secondly, there is congruence or genuineness so the therapists have no air of authority to them. Instead they present themselves as an accessible and their true self that clients can see is honest and transparent. And this is definitely true, I might be autistic so reading and understanding people is always going to be hard but I know my therapist is very honest and transparent. Finally, there is empathetic understanding where the therapist wholeheartedly accepts and understands the client’s views as well as feelings in a way that can be helpful in reshaping the client’s sense of their experiences. Normally, I think this final part is done by “accident” in a fashion because just by talking and listening and offering up good psychological insights. My therapist has helped me to realise a lot about myself and how I view my Self and my past and my relationships. On the whole, in this therapy, whenever the therapy is working well the clients feel they are better understood in these sessions and this leads them to feel better understood in other areas of their lives as well. This does have research support, especially whenever a client identifies the unconditional positive regard in their therapist there is an increased chance in positive outcomes. Since the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client is a type of therapy in itself. When Is Person-Centred Therapy Used? A person-centred therapeutic approach might be used with groups and individuals, be it adults or adolescents in a short- or long-term fashion. The people that tend to take this approach and benefit from it are people that want more self-confidence, a stronger sense of identity and authenticity, increased trust in their own relationships and more success in establishing (and maintaining I will add) their interpersonal relationships. In addition, like other approaches to mental health, the person-centred approach doesn’t have to be used only because it can be combined with other therapies to treat depression, grief and anxiety. Although, it can also be treated to treat trauma, family stressors, abuse and so much more. And because this is a client-led psychotherapy, it is the more motivated and determined clients that tend to do better and be more successful at the therapy. Personally, even though I didn’t choose person-centred therapy, I am more than glad I ended up with it. Since I’ve only had two sessions so far and I have found it so useful in understanding my own relationships, my identity, self-confidence and it has basically taught me to let go of what other people want from me and their expectations. I talk about this a little more next week in the Emotional Dependency and Locus of Evaluation podcast episode but person-centred therapy has been immensely useful to me. What To Expect In Person-Centred Therapy? Even though I’ve mentioned my own experience through the podcast episode, the only other thing I want to say is that the therapist might repeat your words. This isn’t them trying to be annoying or anything, it is simply them trying to understand what happened, what you mean and how you feel. It is them trying to draw out a little more information from you too. Of course, they might have misunderstood you and I think that’s happened once or twice with myself. One time was when, because I laugh as a coping mechanism when I have seriously screwed up, she didn’t understand why I was laughing about something extremely serious (well at least it was to me). This allowed me to rephrase my response in a way both of us could understand. Moreover, there might be moments of silence in the therapy and this can be good because it allows us to process our thoughts and realisations. Since person-centred therapy is all about self-acceptance and self-discovery. Or if you’re like me and you have so many things to unpack, you basically don’t stop talking for the entire session. Then you end up at the end of the therapy feeling a little overwhelmed because of everything you’ve learnt, discussed and it can take a little while for you to realise what the takeaways are for you. Clinical Psychology Conclusion Overall, person-centred therapy is all about allowing a client to talk, explore their difficulties and find the solutions for themselves. This is extremely helpful in my experience but then again I’ve learnt recently I have very high emotional intelligence, which is funny because I used to be extremely bad at it. A Person-centred Therapist should always have the ability to be calm in sessions and they need to let a client verbalise their frustrations and disappointments too. Since this can all help a client to gain insights into what’s hurting them and most importantly how they can move forwards. Personally, I am willing to say that person-centred therapy has already changed my life for the better and I still have two more sessions, so I am actually really excited to see what will happen, what will I learn and most importantly how else can I change my life for the better. Therapy can be seriously fun, interesting and life changing if you want it to be. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Bower P., Byford S., Sibbald B. et al., Randomised controlled trial of non-directive counselling, cognitive-behavior therapy, and usual general practitioner care for patients with depression. II Cost Effectiveness. British Medical Journal. Dec 2000;321:1389. Hazler, Richard J., Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories and Interventions. Chapter 7: Person-Centered Theory. 6th Ed. 2016. American Counseling Association. McCormack, B., McCance, T., Bulley, C., Brown, D., McMillan, A., & Martin, S. (Eds.). (2021). Fundamentals of person-centred healthcare practice. John Wiley & Sons. McCormack, B., McCance, T., Bulley, C., Brown, D., McMillan, A., & Martin, S. (Eds.). (2021). Fundamentals of person-centred healthcare practice. John Wiley & Sons. Mearns, D., Thorne, B., Lambers, E., & Warner, M. (2000). Person-centred therapy today: New frontiers in theory and practice. Sage. Renger, S. (2023). Therapists’ views on the use of questions in person-centred therapy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 51(2), 238-250. Rogers, C. (2000). Person-centred therapy. Six key approaches to counselling and therapy, 1, 98-105. Tudor, K., & Worrall, M. (2006). Person-centred therapy: A clinical philosophy. Routledge. World Health Organization. (2021). Guidance on community mental health services: promoting person-centred and rights-based approaches. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- How To Make Friends At University? A University Student Life Podcast Episode.
With Fresher’s Week in the UK being a month away, I wanted to share a fun, interesting chapter from a new book giving you a few unofficial tips for making friends at university. If you’re nervous about starting university or simply want to know more about university social lives, then you’re in for a treat with this great university student life podcast episode. Enjoy. Today’s podcast episode has been sponsored by A Student’s Guide To University and Learning: A Psychology Student’s Guide To University. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Extract From A Student’s Guide To University and Learning COPYRIGHT Connor Whiteley 2023 To break up all this university and learning content, I wanted to spend the next section of the book focusing on the all important social side of university. Since university can be an extremely social and good time of your life if you know how to make friends and find new people. In this chapter, I’m going to help you find your people at university and why this is so important. Enjoy! Finding Your People At University This is probably one of the only blog posts I have ever resisted writing because this isn’t my expert area. But I guess that means I am a good person to write it in the end. Therefore, in today’s blog post I’ll be giving you a few tips about how to find your people at university. Note: as I am a UK student, there will be some things that are specific to UK universities, but the vast majority of points are universal. Talk To People In Your Lectures and Be Proactive This is an easy and a difficult tip to start off with because we all know we need to talk to others. We know we need to be social, talkative and be proactive if we want to find new people in any environment. But this is scary. I will fully admit I find this sort of thing difficult. I am not a massive fan of talking to new people in large groups amongst other things. Yet I do encourage you to do it. I recommend you talk to new people, socialise, see where conversations take you. You might end up meeting someone really interesting, a person similar to yourself and hopefully a life long friend. None of it is possible unless you take the first step and start talking to people. Also I need to mention that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone in your lectures and seminars will be nervous, scared and anxious about meeting new people. There is nothing new here, so be kind to yourself and take the first step to talk to someone. In addition, there is a great easy fact here that might help you. Giving you the world’s easiest ice breaker. You are all there to study the same thing. Everyone in my lectures and seminars is there to study psychology, so something I got to remember for my final year is to use the very easy ice break of “what made you want to study psychology?” or some version of that. Instant ice breaker and conversation starter. I think most of this idea about finding your people is down to all of us to stop being nervous about meeting new people and taking that first step. Join Societies This is the UK specific thing I mentioned earlier, but for the international audience, UK universities have these large social clubs that are formed around a particular activity called Societies. These I cannot stress enough are great ways to meet people. For example, in my first year of university, I was a member of the Baking Society and this was a brilliant way to meet other people who enjoyed baking and did other degrees. Meaning I could hear their experiences, get to know them and get to learn from them. It was a great few hours every week where I got to hang out with people like me. Additionally, the great thing about societies is most universities have tons of them centred around any activity you can imagine. So I would recommend you check out your university’s website to see what they offer, and if there are any that interest you, sign up and go to them. You could have a LOT of fun. One of my friends in first year did the Quidditch society! (And yes, that is the sport from Harry Potter) Lastly, there are always academic societies available to students so this gives you another opportunity to mix with others students. Some of which will be from later stages at university so you can hear their experiences. That I do recommend you do. Don’t Stress Out As I preluded to in the first section, we all get stressed out or concerned about making new friends, meeting and mixing with new people. But please try not to get stressed out. It isn’t healthy and it could only make your concern worse. I would just relax, just do what I’m mentioned and remember something else. I first heard this in my second year from my Student Ambassador Mentor and she mentioned the very true fact that we will meet new people every term. Due to every term we will have new modules with different students and we will have to mix with them again. Meaning there is never a lack of opportunity to meet new people. The only thing there is a lack of interest in taking the opportunity. And I know, I really know this is scary and lots of people don’t want to take that first step. But I highly recommend you do because you never know where that first step could take you. A person to talk to, a friend for the rest of university or a true lifelong friend. You will never know unless you take that first step. I really hope you enjoyed today’s psychology student life podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET A Student’s Guide To University and Learning: A Psychology Student’s Guide To University. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- How Does Attachment Style Impact Eating Disorders? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.
We know from previous podcast episodes about eating disorders that family therapy is offered as a treatment option, so family dynamics and relationships are a core part of eating disorders. However, we don’t know until now the role of attachment styles and how our attachment impacts our risk of developing eating disorders. In this great clinical psychology podcast episode is a developmental psychology spin, we focus on attachment styles and how they impact a person’s chance of getting an eating disorder. If you enjoy child psychology, clinical psychology and eating disorders then you definitely don’t want to miss this episode. Today’s episode has been sponsored by Developmental Psychology: A Guide To Developmental and Child Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley And I have to admit here that I am seriously good at being psychic at times, because I won’t go into details here but I have had a very tough week for my own mental health. I am fine now but this was the toughest week I’ve had in years. However, this podcast episode is brilliant because it’s given me a lot of food for thought and a lot of practical tips I can use in my own life and I don’t even have an eating disorder. This going to be a lot of fun. How Does Attachment Style Impact Eating Disorders? If you’ve ever done developmental psychology before then you might be aware that our relationships are largely determined by the type of attachment style we have. Then this impact on our relationships can impact our mental health, happiness and the state of our protective factors when it comes to mental health difficulties. As a result there are four attachment styles and these describe how we maintain and establish our relationships. Firstly, you have secure attachment and this is all about a positive perception of the self and others, so we have the capability to form and maintain close connections with other people and tolerate differences and being separated from them, as well as we can maintain effective emotional coping. Secondly, you have an anxious attachment. This is an insecure attachment style where a person needs a high need of reassurance, has trouble trusting others and a fear of abandonment. Thirdly, you have an avoidant attachment, which is another type of insecure attachment style. This is where a person avoids close connections and has a tendency to dismiss feelings and push away from intimacy. Finally, you have disorganised attachment, and personally I quite like this one because I sort of feel like at this point psychology sort of gave up naming things. Since this is a massive miscellaneous category, so this is a final type of insecure attachment style that characterised by a conflicting or inconsistent response to close connections. Mainly think of this one as a mixture of avoidance and anxious. Thankfully, there’s a lot of good, high-quality research that links attachment styles and eating disorders. For example, a 2019 meta-review on the topic showed us that people with avoidant or anxious attachment styles are actually more vulnerable to developing eating disorders. This is because these people unfortunately have difficulty in establishing relationships and maintaining these close relationships as well as intimacy, trusting others and exerting self-control over their emotional responses. All of these are traits that might very well help cause and maintain an eating disorder. For instance, if we look at Binge-Eating Disorder or even Bulimia, if someone uses their poor relationship with food to cope with their emotional responses. Then they eat a lot and if they have Bulimia they have extreme measures to get rid of the food. This helps them to believe or feel like they’re having control over their life again. As a result, the authors of the 2019 meta-analysis argued that when it comes to treating eating disorders, we need to focus on addressing the client’s attachment style. Since this might be critical in the recovery process. Personally, I am really hopeful of any research that helps us to develop eating disorder treatments because we so badly need them. Due to even Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is our best and most effective treatment for eating disorders still isn’t that grand compared to CBT for other mental health conditions. And over a third of clients still never enter recovery from an eating disorder. Another study from 2021 looked at the relationship between a person’s attachment style with their friends and parents and the rate of body dissatisfaction in teenagers. As you can imagine, when there were high levels of alienation, trust and communication issues, there was also high levels of body dissatisfaction. Therefore, the researchers argued that we need to maintain our social relationships positively and help a client work towards a secure attachment style with their friends and parents as this might cause a protective effect against body dissatisfaction. Finally, when it comes to very recent research, another study from 2022 looked at attachment style and how it impacted treatment outcomes for clients undergoing Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E). The results showed a significant link between treatment outcomes as well as insecure attachment styles because the negative attachment styles caused lower rates of remission and higher rates of eating disorders. Meaning whenever a client comes to us as future or current clinical psychologists, we need to explain to them the role of relationships in their condition and why it is important to create and maintain closeness with others. How Developing A Secure Attachment Style Can Help With Eating Disorder Recovery? I mentioned earlier how in psychotherapy, we can help people to adopt and develop a secure attachment style to help them establish and maintain their close relationships. Now we need to look at how this actually helps in a little more detail. This all comes down to resilience because interdependence is a very helpful way to build someone’s resilience and help them recover from an eating disorder. Since having a network of dependable connections provides a client with a sense of belonging, acceptance and security. Something I know is flat out critical for mental health. This helps the client to increase their self-acceptance and self-worth. And I will be honest here this is something I am struggling with at the moment and I know this is hard for anyone. But accepting yourself for who you are and what has happened in the past but also what needs to happen in future so you can move on and have a great life. That is critical and the fact that we do have a way to do this in a therapeutic setting is brilliant. Anyway, by helping a client to develop trustworthy relationships that give them emotional support so they are able to get through the tough times. In addition, to the practical support when it comes to them planning enjoyable activities, helping to distract them during the hard times and helping them to prepare their meals. This all helps a person to stay motivated for the long term so they can recover. Therapy isn’t easy but with the right support it is possible. And the critical aspect of all of this is the simple fact that in psychology, we understand that supportive relationships are the key to start building a life for ourselves and our client that is actually worth living. Therefore, supportive relationships are critical in the recovery aspect of an eating disorder. This is why helping our clients to develop secure and healthy connections by asking for support from our reliable family members, friends and specialists can be immensely powerful on their healing journey. How Can Someone Practice Secure Attachment As An Adult? Of course nothing on the podcast is ever any sort of official advice but this is something I am extremely interested in and I know this going to be useful to a lot of psychology students, professionals and people impacted by eating disorders too. As a result, when it comes to eating disorder treatment we know that clients need to create secure attachment patterns centred about their body image, food, thoughts or even exercise. A given therapist might want their client to choose their relationships over their eating disorder or when they’re emotionally distressed they want to reach for people, not food. This might include helping a client to be there for their friend more by turning up to a work party or something instead of letting their anxious thoughts about the social situation or food possibly harm the relationship. There are a lot of other examples but in therapy, a therapist might encourage the client to do a lot of these sort of things where they are focusing on their personal relationships instead of their fears. Furthermore, there are some skills and techniques that people can use to improve their secure attachments. These include establishing clear and helpful boundaries with their friends, developing effective communication skills, showing understanding and kindness towards others and themselves as well as relying on their own internal validation instead of seeking out reassurance from others. Nonetheless, some personal favourites of mine include tolerating being physically apart and spending time away from someone without feeling abandoned, asking and offering other people support (that is a massive one) and trusting the overall goodness of yourself and the important people you have around you. Then finally, I really like the idea of having the confidence that we do know what we stand for and that we know ourselves. Clinical Psychology Conclusion I flat out love how useful this podcast episode was to me personally because I have a lot of things I need to take away from this episode. I didn’t even know this was going to be helpful to me but relationships are critical for our mental health and we need to have close relationships. And I’m glad that we now not only understand their importance for eating disorders but we understand how we can change our attachment styles for the future so we can better ourselves in the long run. Of course, talking to a therapist or any other mental health professional will always be critical and it could help a lot. This is beyond critical and outside of therapy, it is important to focus on our close relationships and maintaining them. Not only because this helps us to feel great about ourselves and our lives but also because these can be very important protective factors against body satisfaction in teenagers and helping people with eating disorders overall. Since even if you have an insecure attachment style as a young person it doesn’t mean you cannot have a secure attachment as an adult. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Developmental Psychology: A Guide To Developmental and Child Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Cassioli, E., Rossi, E., Castellini, G., Sensi, C., Mancini, M., Lelli, L., ... & Stanghellini, G. (2020). Sexuality, embodiment and attachment style in anorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 25, 1671-1680. Castellini, G., Cassioli, E., Rossi, E., Innocenti, M., Gironi, V., Sanfilippo, G., ... & Ricca, V. (2020). The impact of COVID‐19 epidemic on eating disorders: A longitudinal observation of pre versus post psychopathological features in a sample of patients with eating disorders and a group of healthy controls. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 53(11), 1855-1862. Gonçalves, S., Vieira, A. I., Rodrigues, T., Machado, P. P., Brandão, I., Timóteo, S., ... & Machado, B. (2021). Adult attachment in eating disorders mediates the association between perceived invalidating childhood environments and eating psychopathology. Current Psychology, 40, 5478-5488. Laporta-Herrero, I., Jáuregui-Lobera, I., Barajas-Iglesias, B., Serrano-Troncoso, E., Garcia-Argibay, M., & Santed-Germán, M. Á. (2021). Attachment to parents and friends and body dissatisfaction in adolescents with eating disorders. Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, 26(1), 154–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359104520962155 Rossi, E., Cassioli, E., Martelli, M., Melani, G., Hazzard, V. M., Crosby, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., Ricca, V., & Castellini, G. (2022). Attachment insecurity predicts worse outcome in patients with eating disorders treated with enhanced cognitive behavior therapy: A one-year follow-up study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 55( 8), 1054–1065. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.23762 Siegal, D. (2020). The Verdict Is In — The case for attachment theory. https://drdansiegel.com/the-verdict-is-in-the-case-for-attachment-theory/ Tasca, G. A. (2019). Attachment and eating disorders: A research update. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 59–64. Tasca, G. A., & Balfour, L. (2014). Attachment and eating disorders: A review of current research. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 710–717. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- What Is Structural Family Therapy? A Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Podcast Episode.
Whilst Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has to be the most famous and common psychological therapy clients come from, it isn’t the only one. There is a very wide range of psychotherapies that clients can be offered depending on the mental health condition. In this clinical psychology podcast episode, we’ll learn about what is structural family, when is it used and how does family therapy work. If you want to deepen your understanding of systemic approaches, clinical psychology and mental health then you’re going to love today’s episode. Today’s episode has been sponsored by Social Psychology: A Guide To Social and Cultural Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley What Is Structural Family Therapy? Personally, I’ve been wanting to learn about family therapy for ages so I am really excited that I finally get to learn about this great area. Therefore, structural family therapy is a type of psychological therapy that focuses on the relationships and interactions between different family members. It’s based on systemic theory that sees the family as a system and if there is conflict between family members then this impacts the entire family system. As a result, structural family therapists seek to improve a family’s communication skills and they encourage changes and rules to adapt to better serve the family system. In addition, it really is this family structural system that makes this therapy distinctive compared to other therapies. As well as a structural family therapist actively engages in the process of restructuring the way the family system works so they can adjust the elements that cause the family dysfunction. This restructuring work can impact the reactions by family members to major life changes, family boundaries and hierarchies of power. Personally, I have always really liked systemic theory. Since whilst the cognitive-behavioural approach will always be in favour as I believe it explains more about mental health conditions than systemic ones. I think love the idea that a family is a system and conflict can spread through the family system and cause a lot of difficulties for an individual. Furthermore, a really interesting difference between individual psychotherapies and structural family therapy is that the family therapy gives everyone in the family a voice. It means that a therapist gets to hear about the family from everyone and how everyone views each other and their relationship. This gives the therapist a lot more information and different angles compared to hearing about the family from only one single client. This I think is very useful because the problem with any information coming from one person is that it will always be biased by their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Now that flat out isn’t a bad thing because therapists can get tons of information about a client and their family through this individual work, but when we’re trying to help an entire family system. It is a lot better to hear from everyone. How Did Structural Family Therapy Develop? Structural Family Therapy was developed in the 1960s by Minuchin because he believed that the more members of a family that participate the better the treatment outcome for a client could be. And this therapy continues its importance into these modern times as one of the main theories behind family counselling. “The idea of structural family therapy sprang out of a sense that what we were doing was not working,” explained Salvador Minuchin, the principal creator of structural family therapy. “We were all very much oriented toward psychodynamic-oriented psychological approaches, and they didn’t work.” In my opinion, I do understand where he’s coming from because back then the cognitive-behavioural approach was just starting to be developed and off the top of my head, I am fairly sure it wasn’t being applied to mental health conditions for a while after this. Even Beck’s depression work was still a number of years off at this point. Therefore, I understand the sheer need to move away from psychodynamic approaches but like all psychological theories and schools of thought, family can’t explain everything. As well as this family system theory does completely dismiss the importance of social factors within romantic and friend relationships and cognitive factors like thinking, attentional and memory biases. When Is Structural Family Therapy Used? Now I am very excited to share some of the reasons why Structural Family Therapy is used in only certain situations. Since I know in my criticism above I was being a bit hard on the therapy because you just couldn’t use this therapy in a range of mental health conditions. But there are some difficulties that this therapy is brilliant at looking at. As a result, Structural Family Therapy is commonly used in cases of divorce, blending families, drug use, adolescent behavioural as well as mood disorders, families where a parent has a mental health condition or when a family is affected by death or an illness. In addition, significant changes in family life. This is what I’m seriously interested in not really because it can be used when a parent loses a job and move city even though these are very important uses of this therapy. Yet Structural Family Therapy is also used when it comes to a change of sexual orientation and gender identity amongst a family member. Now because I’ve been trying to gain work experience in gender dysphoria places recently and I’ve been researching a whole bunch of gender stuff, I can totally understand why Structural Family Therapy would be brilliant for this difficulty. And all I will say is I would be extremely interested to see how this therapy works for a family struggling to accept the sexual orientation of a family member. That would be fascinating to me. How Does Structural Family Therapy Work? On the whole, the main goal of Structural Family Therapy is to help a family change and restructure itself so the family members interact with each other in a way that increases their happiness and causes less conflict in the family system. As well as helps them to find more beneficial ways of dealing with stressors that will inevitably pop up in everyday life. One way this might be done is by the therapist recommending that the parents change or adapt the way they interact with their child depending on whether the child needs more support or guidance or more independence. Also, they might suggest different strategies for parents so they can present a united front. Overall, this helps to strengthen the family system and this psychological therapy can go on for a few weeks or months depending on the needs of the family. What Should People Expect In Structural Family Therapy? Personally, something I find really interesting about this therapeutic orientation is that unlike in other psychological approaches, the therapist is a very active part of the therapy. Since the therapists might suggest things at times. For example, that they change the format of the sessions by asking some family members to leave for a moment, by changing the position of family members seated in the room and sometimes the therapist suggests bringing family members behind a one-way mirror so they can watch and observe the conversations of other family members. Moreover, there are five main tenets of Structural Family Therapy. Firstly, there is mapping. This is an effort to understand how a family functions by looking at their structures, patterns and rules. Therefore, a therapist might draw a diagram, write notes to themselves or get family members to map out the family systems for themselves. Secondly, there is joining. This is a process where the therapist gets to know the family and they set out the expectations of the therapy. This normally involves questions about the family, an explanation of the techniques of therapy and how the family and therapist will show support for the family. Thirdly, there’s unbalancing. This is an interesting tenet of the therapy where the therapist challenges the family member. Of course this isn’t meant to be confrontational but to make the family members reconsider their perceptions about how the family operates. Penultimately, you have reframing. This is a method that Structural Family Therapists use to show the family’s various complaints and challenges. Then the therapist will often reframe the problems that a particular individual has because of the structure as well as the patterns of the family’s dynamics. Finally, there is enactment, which is very important. As this is all about the plan for the future. Due to once the family’s system and structure has been examined, the therapist with the input of the family will introduce different practices and ideas for the family to execute. Clinical Psychology Conclusion Whilst I will happily admit I have absolutely no intention of getting trained up in system theory, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Since I understand the family system idea, its power and how it can be used to transform the lives of families for the better. I will never doubt the sheer power of family therapy and how it can save lives, improve them and stop people from suffering devastating consequences of mental health conditions. Structural Family Therapy was just a logical next step in my own learning about this therapy. And I am really glad that I did learn about it because it was interesting to see how this therapy encourages change and transformation so families can thrive. Sometimes family is chosen and other times it is blood, but whatever family you have, it is flat out critical. None of us can be successful without our family so the fact we have a therapy that helps to enhance is great, wonderful and it certainly impacts individuals and makes them fly high. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Social Psychology: A Guide To Social and Cultural Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Colapinto, J. (2019). Structural family therapy. Encyclopedia of couple and family therapy, 2820-2828. Ellis, É. (2022). A critical, relational approach for working with suicide in family therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 43(1), 104-117. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/therapy-types/structural-family-therapy Jiménez L, Hidalgo V, Baena S, León A, Lorence B. Effectiveness of Structural–Strategic Family Therapy in the Treatment of Adolescents with Mental Health Problems and Their Families. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(7):1255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071255 Lee, N., & Spengler, P. (2019). Training counseling psychologists in couple and family therapy. In Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy (pp. 2962-2966). Cham: Springer International Publishing. Miller A, with Minuchin S and Lappin J. Instructor’s Manual for Salvador Minuchin on Family Therapy. Romney, J. S., Hawkins, L. G., & Soloski, K. L. (2020). Gender conformity and suicide: A case study integrating structural family therapy and Satir experiential therapy. Clinical Case Studies, 19(4), 282-300. Taibbi, R. (2022). Doing family therapy: Craft and creativity in clinical practice. Guilford Publications. The Minuchin Center for the Family I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- Why Psychology Isn't A Useless Degree? Response To The Augar Report. A Clinical Psychology Podcast
In late July 2023, the UK Government decided it would likely act on a 2019 Review into Higher Education, labelling psychology as a degree with no or little benefit. In the future, the UK Government might impose legal limits on the number of psychology students a university can have. In this fascinating psychology podcast episode, you'll learn more about the report, the wages of a number of psychology jobs in the UK and why I believe it is a moral outrage if the UK Government prevents people from studying psychology. Even more so considering how powerful psychology is as a force for good. If you're interested or even remotely care about psychology, mental health and the future of our profession then you have to listen to this critical episode. Today’s psychology podcast episode has been sponsored by Clinical Psychology Collection. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Why Psychology Isn't A Useless Degree? My Response To The Augar Report. A Clinical Psychology and Future Of Psychology Podcast Episode. So, we're moving on to the content part of today's episode. So, we're going to be talking about the independent panel, the review of post-education and the funding from May 2019. So, this is something that the UK government did and informally it's known as the Augaur Review. So, I'm really excited about this because we do need to talk about it. We do need to respond to this because I think it's flat-out wrong. And to be honest, it's not as simplistic as they actually make out. The Report Itself So, in like, this section of the podcast episode, I actually want to focus on what the report itself said because there are some interesting points. So, the first part of the report, that actually relates to psychology, talks about how the UK has one of the most expensive psychology degrees in the world. Because of that international context...in England, a psychology degree will cost you £9,250 a year. That is for one single year. Whereas Wales, another member of the UK only has £9,000, but in the U.S one year of a psychology degree in a public university has £6,170. But in Australia, a psychology degree for one year will cost a maximum of £3,500. So, quite a bit cheaper. And then at Scotland, well Scotland, which I'm a massive fan of, a psychology degree will apparently cost you nothing because Scotland has free education if you're a Scottish resident. So, as you can see, England is a stupidly expensive place to go to education. There've been lots of theories about this and including one that my head of school mentioned is that education in England is not valued, which to be honest yeah, I definitely don't think it is. Because if you see the policies that come out, if you just see the education secretaries, I just don't think they're serious about education whatsoever, mainly because none of them actually have any like experience in it. But again, that's a topic for another day though. As you can see, England, very, very expensive place to live. And it's that number which I think the report is based on, because like a three-year psychology degree will basically cost you £27,000. So, that's something that we need to bear in mind going forward in this podcast episode. Going on to the report itself and when it mentions that psychology, this is the thing that I actually want to quote. So, "The graduate premium for men is low or negative and at the age of 29 for a sizable minority of subjects. In addition to the creative arts, these include English and philosophy for which the premium is negative. And agriculture, communications, psychology, languages, history, bioscience, and physical sciences, which it is zero or very small. Women, by contrast, enjoy a graduate premium at age of 29 irrespective of the subjects they study. But the premium is small for creative arts, agriculture, social care, and psychology." The reason why they actually choose the 29 age-bracket is because basically, it's a few years after your university. That gives the report a really good idea about what you're going to get over your lifetime. The very fact that psychology is basically no better than creative arts or farming is no better than history or languages. I think that is disgusting and very hurtful because I was actually talking with a history friend of mine a few weeks ago and we both agreed, doing a history degree will not get you a job. It seriously won't. There's just not...because history is really hard to get a job in anyway, because there's so few jobs. And plus, also it's not very specialized at the end of the day. And when it comes to languages, I sort of understand that too. And communications, what does a communication degree does? I have no idea. Creative arts, I just do not know. I mean, again, none of these are specialized. But social care and psychology is, because psychology is very specialized. Like, you cannot get a job in psychology. You cannot become a clinical psychologist, you cannot become a forensic psychologist, you cannot become an academic in psychology without a psychology degree. So, why on earth is this so undervalued? Personally, I think right off the top of my head, I think it's because psychology jobs are public sector. Of course, I know this is turning into a borderline political episode, but in the UK, our government does not care about mental health. It really doesn't. I think the majority of the older population doesn't. And of course, it's the older people that vote in the UK government because over 60% of the population in the UK is over 50. So, the fact that they don't care about psychology and mental health I think does have an impact. But psychology is also so much more than mental health. It's human behavior, is basically why do we do what we do? It's critical to everything. It's critical to our understanding. It's critical to our criminal justice system so we can understand why criminal behavior happens. It's critical to our children and our youth so we can understand how do we give them the best start in life. Psychology is everything. So, the very reason, the very report done by this government or to be honest like two governments ago or basically however many, the fact that psychology isn't recognized for being a very powerful force for good I think is disgusting. Because it can be, it can change lives, it can improve them. So, I just think it is flat-out weird but it's even more weird when we look at the average salaries. What Is The Average Salary For A Psychologist? So now, I actually want to look into a number of different psychology jobs and look at their average salary and bearing in mind that a psychology undergraduate degree in the UK will cost you about £28,000. And then because psychology is so specialized and you need to have good knowledge, a master's degree, my master's is costing me even though it's just taxpayer money that I'll never pay back another eight and a half grand. So, a psychology degree at undergraduate and master's level will cost you around £36,000. Okay. So, let's just bear that in mind, that number. I typed into Google, UK average salary 2023. Okay, so this is what a normal person earns. This is the average for across all the UK. So over this, the average on of all the millionaires and all the billionaires in the UK and it's also the average of all the poorer people and what I call the normal people. So, the average GDP per capita in the UK is around £29,588 in 2023. That's what the normal person earns. Then I typed in UK average salary, a business psychologist. And the average from glassdoor.co.uk came back at £41,234 per year. That's what a fully qualified person gets. And because of that price tag, I'm sort of guessing they've got a few years of experience behind them. Let's think about it. In one year, you can make basically £5,000 more than your degree ever costed you. So, that's one year. So, in the next year, yeah, if we lived in a society where all your university debt has to get paid off in like a single year, so that would leave you £5,000 for one year, but then for the rest of your working life you are earning £40 grand. That's £11,000 more than at the UK average. And I think that would go up within inflation. It's already £11,000 more, which I think is very, very good. It's very reasonable. In the UK, £40 grand a year can actually get you quite far I think, at least in my experience. I find it a bit weird that that's only classed as a small premium because I mean, doctors might become an NHS doctor or a general practitioner. Yes, that might earn you £60,000 a year, which is larger. But just because you only earn £11,000 more than the average Joe, I don't think that's a bad thing or I don't think that undervalues psychology at all. But that's just a business psychologist. Now, if we look at social psychology like cognitive psychology, biological psychology, as far as I know, if you want to do something in those jobs, you can only become an academic, and then you can research it in your spare time when you are not teaching. So again, that is £40,000 according to Google. So, I find it flat-out weird because this was done through a 2019 higher education single-paced spine. So, whether that's basically like resource. So, this figure is very, very true. So, you can earn £40 grand doing a psychology degree and to becoming an academic. Again, it's not small. Granted because of how you are treated and all the other working conditions, £40 grand is nowhere near enough. But again, I don't know how that's only classed as a small benefit though, especially if we think about the larger context about the world, which is where you are going to teach people, you're going to teach students, you're going to inspire them and they're going to move on and they're going to do great things like with their life using the knowledge that you gave them. So, the fact that psychology, especially if you become an academic is classed as useless or just a small premium basically, it's not going to give you any premium at all, I think it's just so weird because I think this is only done from a monetary point of view because you are inspiring the next generation. If I didn't have my lecturers then I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be podcasting. This podcast would not exist. None of my psychology books would, none of my psychology degrees, and all the people that I hope to help in the future, they would not happen. So, I just find it so weird, so weird. And talking about my favorite topic in the entire world. So, according to prospectus.co.uk, the average clinical psychologist earns on average, so, the average trainee in the NHS at band 6 is £32,360. Now, even though that's from prospectus.co.uk, I do want to sort of counter that. So, an assistant psychologist, which you can become after your masters, basically earns about £26,000 or £27,000. They're the sort of price ranges that I've seen for someone who's basically just finished like their masters. So, even though that's basically the same as your undergraduate, I can understand where the report's coming from in that sense. But then on the other side, when you would do your clinical psychology doctorate and when you're fully qualified you can be on £50,000, £60,000 or even £80,000 a year, which I think is mad. Like, I see some of the job adverts for like £80,000 and I'm like, "Yes, please, I really want to become qualified," because who wouldn't love to be on £80,000 a year? So, again, if the idea that doing an undergraduate psychology degree isn't good, then how are people meant to become masters students? And then how are people meant to gain their years of experience so they can do the clinical psychology doctorate and get onto £80,000? It makes no sense to me because you just can't do it. NHS Workforce Crisis For the final section of this podcast episode, I want to talk about what could happen if the UK government places legal limits on psychology degrees. So, the UK government has made its position rather clear from the stuff I've read, that it does want to impose legal limits on these sort of degrees. Again, because it's the UK government, it's not clear and it doesn't have any concrete ideas about what to do. Therefore, this section will be very hypothetical. At my university, there was 250 people that graduated with me. Okay? And I've mentioned before on the podcast, that about 40% of psychology graduates end up by doing a psychology master's. And it's the master's students that I'm interested in. Because as I've said before, psychology is sort of useless unless you have a master's. So, that leaves 100 university students, okay? Let's say 50% of this 100 decide to do clinical psychology and then let's say 10% after their master's go, "No, clinical psychology's not for me." And then the remaining 40 people go on to become assistant psychologists. Okay then, that is 40 extra people from my university alone decide to go and work in the NHS. So, they can support the fully qualified clinical psychologist, they can improve lives, they can help people, they can make people feel better, who will have depression, they can support people who are autistic, and they can help people with ADHD maintain their focus, improve their lives so they can achieve something. And also, but most importantly, if you might have a suicidal person, they can save their life. They can support a psychologist, so a person that wants to kill themselves can see that is not the way and life is so, so worth living. That is all what a psychologist can do. Okay? 40 people from just my cohort alone using these fictional numbers. So, let's say the UK government says the maximum number of people can be 100. So legally, a university is only allowed to have 100 people on a psychology degree. So, that basically knocks off 150 people. Okay, now let's try and do the same calculations. I love how ambitious I'm being in the fact that I can actually remember that. Let's basically just say that on the same sort of numbers, so about 40% of 100 is 40 people. So, about 40 people decide to go on to do a master's of some sort in psychology. So, let's half that again because let's say 20 people go and decide to do a clinical psychology degree and then at 10% decide that clinical psychology is not for them. That only leaves 18 people out of our 40 that have decided to go into the clinical psychology workforce. Now, I've spoken about this on the podcast before. Our mental health services in the UK and around the world are on their knees. We have vacancies, like the NHS has never seen before. They have over 300,000 job vacancies on the NHS. Of course, not all of them are in psychology, but NHS desperately needs people. So, can we really place legal limits on degrees that would get people into the NHS workforce? Because if there's 18 people and if there's a massive reduction over time of people who actually go into the NHS workforce, then the NHS will be on its knees. Mental health services will be broken. No, in fact, I'm willing to say they will be smashed up because they just don't have the staff, they don't have the new people coming in, and I think that's tragic. Think of all the people that are going to suffer all the people we can't help, all the people that are never going to be able to access the waiting lists. The waiting lists will, I think, easily double because we don't have the staff to get through the waiting list and the backlog. I think this is a moral outrage. I think it's disgusting. And if the UK government does place legal limits on the number of students that can do a psychology degree, then I will be livid and I will...I don't know, I think it will push me to some sort of action because we need more psychology students. And then, also the other benefits about studying psychology, like an understanding, it makes you understand people. It makes you understand people from different cultures because of cross-cultural research. It makes you understand people that are different from you. It makes you understand why autistic people act the way they do and it gives people hope, right? I've said this before, I've said this in episode 200, my psychology degree's given me so much hope for the future because by understanding how human behavior works, I can understand that people that are smarter than me or to be honest, if I was given the right support, then I could come up with ideas with other people about how to improve a climate change like messaging, tackle like racism and prejudice. This is what psychology teaches us and we can do this stuff. I think everyone should have like these sort of opportunities to learn about stuff that will increase tolerance and that will make the world a better place. So, I know this was a bit rambly, but I'm so passionate about it. I think it's disgusting that they want to do this. And I really hope this has struck a chord with you because psychology isn't useless and money is not everything. Psychology teaches us so much that if more people did psychology, then the world would be a much better place. A place then where everyone would be equal. There'll be less sexism, misogyny, yeah. The world needs psychology more than ever, and just thank you for listening. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Clinical Psychology Collection. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Independent panel report to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding May 2019 https://news.sky.com/story/government-to-crack-down-on-rip-off-university-courses-which-ones-could-be-at-risk-12922087 https://news.sky.com/story/which-university-courses-could-be-deemed-low-quality-by-new-government-policy-according-to-the-augar-review-12922241 I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- What To Do If An Adult Loved One Is Diagnosed With Autism? A Clinical Psychology Podcast Episode.
With the number of adults being diagnosed with autism, we need to ask ourselves what if our boyfriend, girlfriend or partner gets diagnosed. We need to ask this not only because a diagnosis changes a relationship but so we can better support our loved one. Allowing our loved ones to live happily in a supportive and loving environment. This is even more important to consider when we remember how support for autistic adults is rarely spoken about. If you’re interested in clinical psychology, autism and supporting people with mental health conditions, then you’re in for a treat. Today’s psychology podcast episode has been sponsored by Suicide Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Why Should We Look At Supporting Autistic Adults? As a result of the prevalence rate of Autism increasing, there are more and more adults getting diagnosed with the condition than previous years. Since the US’s Centre for Disease Control estimated that one in every 44 adults have autism. Normally adults that come for an autism diagnosis have spent hours researching the condition, they’re taken all the online autism tests (and yes as a psychology person that makes me shiver) and they self-diagnose based on this evidence. Also, an adult is normally referred for an autism assessment by a doctor, friend or therapist. Since the assessment process for autism is very complex, very time-consuming and very expensive. Of course when it comes to the UK, thankfully it is free at the time of writing but we have to wait at least 4 or 5 years to actually get an assessment. Thankfully, adults still want to go through the long, complex process of getting an autism diagnosis. Due to they believe a diagnosis will help them to understand themselves better and improve the quality of their life. Now one thing I do want to admit to is that autism and ADHD are very unique cases when it comes to diagnosis. I’ve spoken before on the podcast plenty of times and in my book Clinical Psychology Reflections Volume 3 about the damage diagnostic labels can do to people. But autism and ADHD diagnosis are some of the only conditions that don’t cause more problems than they solve. And they don’t cause as much stigma, negative mental health and other negatives that labels cause. This is because adults, parents and sometimes the children themselves are often relieved about an autism diagnosis because they can finally explain why they’re or their child is acting in this particular way. Just a little interesting fact for you. As well as this is supported with a great quote from Leedham et al. (2019), “Diagnosis was experienced by participants as facilitating transition from being self-critical to self-compassionate, coupled with an increased sense of agency." What To Do If An Adult You Love Is Diagnosed With Autism? However, if you know a friend, loved one or family member that was recently diagnosed with autism then what should you do. Since I will not lie, this does change things and some adults start acting differently after having received their diagnosis. Therefore, this is always important information to know, not only for autism but this might be useful with other mental health conditions too. You Should Research Autism Personally, I really don’t understand how anyone can want to be really supportive to a friend or loved one, if they don’t research the difficulty. Thankfully, there are a ton of amazing podcasts, books and resources that allow you to learn about autism. Some of this podcast’s own autism episodes include: · What Needs To Be Said About Autism, Sex and Intimacy? · Is Person-First or Diagnosis-First Language Best? · Why Many Autistic People Don’t Like Functioning Labels? However, other books on autism include, Unmasking Autism by Devon Price, Neurotribes by Steve Silberman and a whole bunch of others. As well as there are YouTube channels, like Autism from the Inside and other ways to research too. Therefore, in whatever way you choose to digest your media, there is a way you for to learn about autism. Now I will confess, there are normal and obsessive ways to research things. Personally, I would just stick with the normal ways and by normal I mean research it until you have a good understanding but you aren’t reading everything you can find on it. I have the problem of becoming obsessively researching something when I eventually develop an interest and I’m telling you this because I wanted to better support my Latvian friend. So I read a book about Latvian history and a lot of different websites and academic papers (well the abstracts anyway) about the difficulty he was facing. In hindsight I’m happy that I explored the topic in detail and I explored the history, but looking back I realise how this could be deemed as obsessive or at least, a little intense. Especially as reading two or three online articles would have sufficed perfectly. Anyway, by doing your own research, you’ll be able to better understand the mental health difficulties and daily struggles that the autistic person in your life experiences. Forget Your Preconceived Ideas About Autism Personally, I flat out hate the myths in society about autism because they are annoying as hell and deeply problematic. Yet those myths are way beyond the scope of this podcast episode, so let’s focus on the fact that if we lack direct experience with autistic people then we believe these myths. The myths and misconceptions are the only sources of information that we have about this clinical population, so we believe them. I understand this, I really do. Furthermore, a lot of the adults listening to this podcast episode, myself included, we all grew up in a time where most of the information about autistic came from the parents of autistic children. That isn’t a bad thing and it is a very valid perspective, but it is limited. Only the people who live, experience and deal with the struggles of the mental health condition can tell us what it is truly like. Therefore, it is important to let go of any preconceived notions when it comes to autism. Even more so when these ideas come from parent-dominated discussions about the condition because autistic people themselves will always, always understand the condition better compared to their parents. Because they’re living it. Validate Them This is something I am so hot on at the moment because even though I know, I truly know the sheer power of validation and someone actually validating you and I have tons of stories connected to that point. I’m not going to tell you them in this episode because they aren’t all related to autism. Anyway, it is extremely possible, and I would say likely, that you will have family members that don’t see you as autistic. You might think you should have a different diagnosis or that you’re looking for an excuse to explain away your awful behaviour. Now moving on to adults around this loved one, if you really believe this then I suppose this is okay. But if you actually want to love, support and be nice to this loved one then this is flat out not the right thing to say or do. Instead, you should listen to them, ask questions and validate their inner experiences. I know, I really do know how hard it can be to listen to someone you’ve known for ages has been hiding thoughts, feelings and difficulties from you. Or even pretending to be someone that they aren’t. This is called masking behaviour and it is something a hell of a lot of undiagnosed autistic people have to do to survive. It is awful that we have to do that but it is just a way to survive because of the world we live in. You should never judge them. You should only ever listen, respect and regardless of whether you actually believe them. Just do the nice thing and validate them. It isn’t hard and yes, as you can tell I am very passionate about people validating others. Accept Your Loved One Might Be Different After A Diagnosis Continuing on with a look at masking behaviour, autistic adults and adolescents are masters of hiding their autistic traits if they can so they can appear normal and function in this neurotypical world that we live in. However, these masking behaviours, according to research, can lead to an increased risk of anxiety, depression and sadly suicidality. This is important because the wonderful thing about an autism diagnosis is that it gives a person a chance to accept their autism and this results in a reduction in their masking behaviours. Also, this means the autistic adult will increase and engage in the behaviours they normally forced and twisted themselves to hide so this can lead to the impression to other people that they’re changing. To be honest, I do understand that this might be scary as hell and really confusing. But in reality all that is happening if your loved one is turning into the person they are. The person they were behind closed doors, the person that they were scared to show and most importantly the person they might have even thought was ruining their life. When this couldn’t be further from the truth. On the whole, the best thing you can do to support your loved one is to simply accept them and love them. As well as encourage them to unmask themselves so they can live as authentic, true and wonderfully autistic self. No one should have to hide who they are. Love Them Finally, I’ll be the first to admit that autism makes you experience a lot of rejection in your life that you don’t understand until later on, a lot later on. It can hurt your friendships, it can break them and it can impact your social life in very negative ways. For example, I have a new friend and because he is such a good friend, this is a massive learning curve for me. Since I hadn’t had this good of a friend for easily half a decade and I am a completely different person since that time, so I am having to learn how to be a good, close friend again. I know that probably makes no sense to neurotypicals but if there are autistic people in the audience, which I know there are. Then you guys are definitely back me up here. Therefore, a lot of autistic people as adults, still lack social skills and experience communication difficulties that neurotypical people handle with such ease. This means a lot of autistic adults do spend their lives confused by other people and the various social interactions around them. Because let’s face it, people are so weird at times. I mean it. Overall, this can make autistic adults feel isolated and lonely so that’s why it is critical for you to care about them and ultimately love them for who they are. Not who you want them to be. Clinical Psychology and Autism Psychology Conclusion To wrap up this podcast episode, I have to say that I love autistic podcast episodes because they’re really interesting to me, they’re useful and they are a lot of fun. I understand that getting a diagnosis can be a stressful time in any family because it is a massive change and that can cause all sorts of wonderful benefits and problems. Therefore, I really hope that this has been a useful guide to the families and friends of autistic adults because you now know what to do if someone you love has been diagnosed with autism. Then just a reminder here are the five things you can do: · Research autism · Forget your preconceived ideas · Validate them · Accept they might be different after their diagnosis · Love them I always say that a diagnosis isn’t a bullet, something to be shamed of or something that ruins a person. A diagnosis like autism can actually be a great way to accept yourself, understand your behaviour and get support so you can move on and live a full and productive life. And that all starts with the love and support of the friends and family around you. I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Suicide Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Clinical Psychology References Ahlers, K. P., Gabrielsen, T. P., Lewis, D., Brady, A. M., & Litchford, A. (2017). Supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder in understanding and coping with complex social emotional issues. School Psychology International, 38(6), 586-607. Cook, J, Hull, L, Crane, L, & Mandy, W. (2021). Camouflaging in Autism: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review. 89, 102080 Galvin, J. Howes, A., McCarthy, B., & Richards, G. (2020) Self-compassion as a mediator of the association between autistic traits and depressive/anxious symptomatology. Sage Journals. Hume, K., Regan, T., Megronigle, L., & Rhinehalt, C. (2016). Supporting students with autism spectrum disorder through grief and loss. Teaching Exceptional Children, 48(3), 128-136. Huang, Y., Arnold, S. R., Foley, K. R., & Trollor, J. N. (2022). A qualitative study of adults’ and support persons’ experiences of support after autism diagnosis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 1-14. Leedham, A Thompson, A.R., Smith, R. & Freeth, M. (2019). I was exhausted trying to figure it out: The experiences of females receiving an autism diagnosis in middle to late adulthood. Sage Journals South, M., Costa, A. P., & McMorris,C. (2021) Death by suicide among people with autism: beyond zebrafish. The Journal American Medical Association, 4;4(1) Stagg and Belcher (2019). Living with autism without knowing; receiving a diagnosis in later life. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. 2164-2850 Turnock, A., Langley, K., & Jone C. R.G. (2022). Understanding stigma in autism: a narrative review and theoretical model. Autism in Adulthood, 4, 1 I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- Graduation. A Psychology Ending. A Psychology Beginning. A psychology Student Life Podcast Episode.
After their psychology degree, university students graduate and go to their graduation. But what does it mean? How does it work? And there is anything to reflect on afterwards. In this psychology student life podcast episode, I take you through my graduation including my thoughts before the day, "toilet planning", how the day worked, how the ceremony went and then I wrap up the episode by reflecting on my time at university and what my graduation means for the future. If you're a future or current psychology student then this will be a very useful, interesting and eye-opening podcast episode. This podcast episode has been sponsored by How Does University Work? Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Psychology Student Life Episode Transcript Expectations Are Before The Day So, I have to admit, I did not actually know what to expect about my graduation because I sort of knew that beforehand there would be a reception, and I didn't know what was gonna happen at that reception. And equally, I had no idea what really happens at a graduation, because they just don't really tell you about how our graduation works, because we had the information pack, so we knew the timings. So, we had to be at this specific place to get the tickets, to get the gowns, to get the photos done, etc., etc. But the ins and outs, we didn't really know though. So, I was a little nervous, like, about that. Overall, the whole graduation itself, I was not nervous about it. I was not nervous about getting my degree, even though I know quite a lot of other people were. Like, some people were really panicking and, like, other stuff. I think one person was actually almost, reduced to tears, they were that sort of excited, but really, really nervous. Thankfully, I didn't have that. But if you do feel that, that's completely normal. And I almost think that's a rite of passage. So, I'm a bit gutted that I didn't quite get that rite of passage. But the thing that I was nervous about was the reception. It was like I mentioned, I think it was on Monday's podcast episode, that because a bunch of my friends doing Camp America, I actually was really concerned I won't have anyone to talk to at the reception. But, for anyone that doesn't know, the reception is sort of where you all meet beforehand or after your graduation. You all talk, mingle. There are speeches done by the academic staff. You can talk to your academic staff, like, for one last time. Like, I spoke to some great ones. I talked to one of my clinical lecturers, sort of, like, for the first time, but he sort of knew me because I kept popping up, basically. There was a lot of, like, good stuff like, and a lot of good catch-ups and there were a lot of photos to take. So what my expectations before the day were quite nervous. And to be honest, that's normal. I really, really do want to, like, hammer that point home, that that's okay to be nervous. Toilet Planning So, this is the sort of comedy section of this podcast episode. And to be honest, I really did just wanna add this section to sort of lighten this up, and to be honest, to make you guys laugh, because it must have been the day before the graduation, me and my family were talking, and we realized something quite important. So, the graduation ceremony goes on for about 90 minutes, but then there's a problem. People in the audience, and at the time we didn't think students could, they didn't think we could go for the toilet. And the problem with that is that because everything would be so busy because you're preparing before you getting your gown and everything, and you'll be drinking, you really didn't want to have to go to the toilet too much, because even outside Canterbury Cathedral, where the bar was and where we were all getting ready, I didn't actually know where the toilets were, even now. So, that was actually quite bad. But as I said, there was actually a lot of toilet planning. Like, we all made sure that we had a drink when we got up. But then we really did try to limit our drinking. So, that might be a minor tip for the parents and whoever your guests are. But if you're a student, drink as much as you want, honestly, because you actually can go for the toilet during your ceremony, because it's really carefully done. Like, you might have to wait a little bit, depending on how far away you are from getting your name called. But it's really good though. And to be honest, you've actually got nothing to worry about from the toilet side. And the really fun bit is, is the fact you can actually just rub it in your parents' faces. How Did The Day Work? So, I've already spoken quite a lot about the reception, and I've also mentioned the photos bit on Monday, the podcast episode. But I really do want to add in a bit more detail though. As I mentioned, like, before though, the reception is basically where you go beforehand and have speeches, and you get to meet everyone again before the ceremony. Now, do not do what my family did, because, in the information pack we got, which was the longest bit, we didn't really know what the word congregation meant. Of course, we know what it means in the religious context and everything. When it comes to university, we actually had no idea. So, and to be honest, this information pack we got really did sound like everything we needed because it included the reception times and other bits. Then we realized it really didn't, because we went to the ceremonies first though, and then, thankfully, we realized before we actually spoke to anyone that we were actually in the wrong place because this was not where the reception was happening. Thankfully, Westgate Hall, which is where it was happening, wasn't actually that far away. So, we took a few wrong turns, but we did actually get there. So, a massive tip though when it comes to university graduation, if you see the words of congregation, it's talking about the ceremony. And the funny thing about the actual information booklet is that the word "ceremony" wasn't really mentioned. It was only congregation. I don't why they call a university ceremony a congregation, but it was a bit of light fun though, and I laughed about it a few times. So, another tip I would absolutely give about the day is that definitely just take as many photos as you can, because this is sort of like the last time you're gonna be seeing a bunch of people, people though, and this is sort of last time that you are gonna see the friends that you really, really like, but you might not be that close to, or the friends that you really care about, but you sort of know after you go to university you aren't really gonna bother too much about staying in contact with or you're not gonna make the effort to go and see them in person. Granted, sometimes that's actually impossible. Like, some of my friends, they're international students, and they come from really quite far-away countries. So, seeing them in person would basically be impossible, or it would break my bank account. Something that I really, even though I love them, basically, I am not gonna do that at all. My bank account's my bank account. So, but that's definitely my massive tip, though. Just take a ton of, like, photos. And then also talking about the professional photos. To be honest, the professional photos, they're just sort of there. No one actually talks about them. Again, so I actually want to talk about them. The professional photos are really, really good. Because if you're in the UK, then you might get a kick out of this. The company that normally actually does the school photographs that you did when basically ever since you were in year one, called the Tempest, they're actually the same people that do your university photographs. So, basically, you cannot get rid of this company. But they are really, really good, and I like them. So, we're going back to actually useful stuff, is that when it comes to your professional photographs, actually, just take your parents, take your partner, and actually, yeah, get in the queue, because then you can have your graduation photos done. And even though I actually went by myself, because we didn't realize that, you really could have one with the parents, but I still had tons of other really nice photos with my parents anyway. Well, I did see tons of other couples and their parents, and the photos that did, like, turn out nice. But something that's really nice about the photos is that when you actually get your certificate, you actually get a photo taken. Therefore, I had a photo of the Chancellor actually shaking my hand and actually getting my certificate from the Chancellor. So, that's always nice. That was a nice surprise. The Ceremony Itself So, moving on with the actual psychology graduation, the way how the ceremony works is that after you get checked in, you're basically given a number, and because this number is the exact same order as the university's certificates are done, and the order that your name is read out in. So, it's really important that you are in this order. And, at this point, everyone's nervous, everyone is starting to feel scared and it's sort of like stressed but really excited about it at the same time. I wasn't at this a point in time, so we all lined up. But the problem with having your name beginning with W, as in your surname, is you realize just how far away you are from the front. And the funny thing about the university ceremony is after people have clapped the first 20 people, you could actually hear the difference in their enthusiasm. Because the first 20 people, everyone's really excited, everyone's really happy, and after the first 20, it's like, yep, we're just clapping for the sake of it now. We're just clapping to be nice. So, it really is important that you actually do get excited and you do sort of, like, clap. Like, if someone that you know is getting the award, then give it a bit of extra oomph, and really, really trying to clap is what I did a few times. But that sort of drop is actually quite funny. And then I will absolutely admit that the only time I did get nervous, or my heart did start pounding, was when I was actually entering the queue to actually get my certificate. Because what happens is that you all are sitting down until where your section is actually, like, called up, and then you're putting, like, a line in your order, and then you actually, like, go off and you actually wait for your name to be called. Then you would go to the chancellor, like, shake his hand, and then you walk down the cathedral. So, that was, like, really good, though. But when I was only, like, five people away, my heart started pounding, and I really felt like I needed a toilet, like, massive toilet, biggest toilet I've ever needed, and bang went the toilet planning. So, my heart started pumping, thankfully, my name was called, and then I went out, everything was fine and I didn't need a toilet anymore. So, it was just, like, nerves. So, yes, like, I shook the chancellor's hand, walked down the cathedral, got my certificate, and then went back to my seat though, and that was really, really good. So the ceremony was a lot of fun, really nice. I had to actually see everyone, like, graduate, and everyone get their reward. And then, as I graduate, so, like, go out first, and then in list, like, friendship groups, like, we did the phone up the mortarboards. But one thing I do want to mention about the mortarboard is that in the UK, and at my university, you can buy it for 10 pounds. Now, I did not want to keep my mortarboard. I just wanted to rent it. I just wanted to rent it for the day, then just go home, basically. But my parents really, really wanted my mortarboard, so they bought it, and now I'm stuck with my mortarboard for the rest of my life, and it's like, I'm never gonna wear it again, obviously, because I'll just get a new one from my master's graduation, and it's sort of like, I don't know why my parents wanted it, but they just did. Got to love them. And now I just need to secretly plot how the hell I'm gonna get rid of this mortarboard when they go. My Thoughts About My Graduation And The Future So, I'm really, really happy that I've graduated. I have to admit, there were definitely some times where I did not think this was gonna happen, and I've spoken about this a lot on the podcast, but from my academic writing in year one and two not being up to scratch, to the sheer amount of stress and concern I had about group projects in my first year, I did not think I was gonna graduate. I seriously didn't. I didn't think I was even gonna get into my master's. That caused a lot of stress, a lot of ups, and a lot of really, really bad mental health that I have not had in years, and thankfully, I haven't had in good two years. Because I got onto my placement year, I met the amazing professor Amir. I cannot pronounce his surname, and I really, really, really should learn, considering I've actually known this guy for two years, and I'm actually working with him again next year. Yeah. So, he's been great, really helped me with my academic writing, and his Ph.D. students are wonderful. Absolutely cannot fault them. I actually might try to have them on the podcast at some point, because they're doing really interesting research. But anyway, though, that's a topic for the far, far future. So, what I'm trying to say is that you might struggle at university. Believe me, you really, really might. But you can still graduate if you keep trying, learning, and if you keep try and improving, your graduation will be a lot of fun. I'm surprised how much fun I had at my graduation, considering I'm not the most emotional of people, believe me. Yeah, like, seriously, I was surprised at how much fun I had because I thought I would be rather unemotional or rather unaffected by the day. And to be honest, I was for the most part until my actual graduation. But now, I'm a postgrad. I'm really happy. I'm really excited for the future. And as I actually said on my social media post, considering how much my university experience has given me, not only as a person but as a fiction author, because I've done university romances, fantasy, and I've done mysteries based on my university experiences, I really am looking forward to my future as a master's student, and everything else beyond that. Because that's what my university experience has given me as my undergrad. So, I really am looking forward to seeing what can my master's give me. So, I really am happy about the future, I'm really happy that I graduated and if you have graduated, I think you can back me up with everything that I've said. And if you haven't graduated, then you've got something great to look forward to. I really hope you enjoyed today’s psychology student life podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET How Does University Work? Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.
- Why Are Doctors Moving Away From Body Mass Index? A Biological Psychology Podcast Episode.
For decades, doctors have used the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if someone is at a healthy weight. This is one of the factors used in clinical psychology to diagnose eating disorders and any people involved in clinical work uses the BMI from time to time. Yet the BMI’s usefulness has been criticised and extensively questioned in recent years because of its failures. Therefore, in this health psychology podcast episode, we focus on why doctors are now moving away from BMI and what could be used in the future. If you enjoy health psychology, clinical psychology and biological psychology, you’re going to love today’s episode. This podcast episode has been sponsored by Biological Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Why Are Doctors Moving Away From BMI? Personally, this doesn’t surprise me that this is happening within the medical field. Since if you’ve done clinical psychology before, this is a subset of arguments that I learn about recently. There were a lot of problems with the BMI, and we will talk about these, but I do welcome the vote by the American Medical Association to move away from the BMI. In addition, in case you’re new to Body Mass Index, this is the formula where a person’s weight in Kilograms is divided by the square of their height in metres. Then the result of this formula is classified into one of four categories. They are: · Underweight · Normal weight · Overweight · Obese These labels aren’t rare in the US medical system, and as someone from the UK, I regularly hear these labels too. However, what is really interesting is the history behind the BMI because once you know the history of this formula then you really start to question why on Earth it’s used in medicine in the first place. It isn’t based on evidence at all. What Is The History of The BMI? The weird thing about the BMI is that it was invented in the 1830s by a Belgian statistician because they wanted to describe the “average man”. I suppose that is fine fair enough because we all want to research and describe things from time to time. Nonetheless, it rose to popularity in the medical field during the 1970s by the physiologist Ancel Keys. Since he was looking for a better way for the US health insurance companies to estimate a person’s body fat. The theory behind this is that there is a correlation between someone’s body fat and the risk of them dying. In other words, he wanted to make it more effective for US health insurance to charge people more money if they had more body fat. Now as someone from the UK, and I don’t doubt the US health insurance companies will sadly move into this country in my lifetime. I think this is awful, crazy and harsh, because I have only ever heard of horror stories from Americans about their insurance companies. Anyway, the BMI was a much better and simpler calculation for finding out someone’s body fat compared to the methods used by the US health insurance companies at the time. Furthermore, to be fair, we have to admit that the BMI is very useful at evaluating large populations, but it is a lot less helpful for evaluating a single person’s health. The reason for this is because there is no way at all to quantify a person’s muscle and bone mass so athletes tend to have higher BMIs because of their higher muscle mass. Yet according to the BMI, they might be overweight. Another example is that as a person ages, they lose muscle mass and increase abdominal fat and this unhealthy change isn’t picked up by the BMI. A third problem is that the BMI was mainly developed as well as tested on white men. Yet a person’s body composition varies massively between genders, ethnicities and races. For example, a perfectly healthy black woman might appear to be overweight or even obese according to the BMI. This is why the BMI is a rather useless metric if we really look into it. Tomiyama et al. (2016) Whilst there are a lot of studies that investigate the sheer amount of people that are miscategorised by the BMI, I do want to focus on this particular study. Due to this particular one actually compared the BMI against other measures of health. Including, blood pressure, insulin resistance, glucose, cholesterol and a few others in over 40,000 adults. The results demonstrated nearly half of the “overweight” people as well as 30% of the “obese” people actually had healthy metabolism. Moreover, more than 30% of the people with a so-called normal weight had an unhealthy metabolism. Therefore, if you take this number and apply it to the US population then this means that there are over 74 million people in the US that are misclassified as unhealthy or healthy according to the BMI. As a result, whilst the BMI isn’t perfect and I believe it has very, very limited uses, the American Medical Association doesn’t want to resign it to history. Instead they want doctors to use other factors to determine someone’s health like those used in the study above. And this is a very good quote from American Medical Association Immediate Past President Dr Jack Resneck: “There are numerous concerns with the way BMI has been used to measure body fat and diagnose obesity, yet some physicians find it to be a helpful measure in certain scenarios. It is important for physicians to understand the benefits and limitations of using BMI in clinical settings to determine the best care for their patients.” Health Psychology Conclusion At the end of this podcast episode, I have to admit that I really am going through a biological psychology phase at the moment for a reason I flat out don’t understand. Yet I wanted to do this podcast episode because I heard about the disadvantages of the BMI but I haven’t looked into them in any depth until now. I understand why the BMI isn’t a great tool and I really hope that medical doctors do start to walk away from the BMI properly. And to bring this back to psychology, as much as I hate this, I truly, truly hate this. Since the American Psychological Association has a lot of medical input, the BMI requirements for a lot of eating disorders will not be replaced with something more useful to psychologists until the medical doctors get rid of it themselves. This is another reason why we need to move beyond diagnosis like I’ve done previous podcast episodes on. Anyway, until that happens, we will have to put with the BMI for a little bit longer and we can start to slowly use other measures of body fat in the meantime. But this is certainly a step in the right direction. I really hope you enjoyed today’s biological psychology podcast episode. If you want to learn more, please check out: FREE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET Biological Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley Patreon for exclusive access and rewards Have a great day. Health Psychology References Caleyachetty, R., Meunnig, P., & Kengne, A. P. (2016). Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories. International Journal of Obesity, 40(8), 1332-1332. Goh, K. C., Safonov, M. G., & Papavassilopoulos, G. P. (1994, December). A global optimization approach for the BMI problem. In Proceedings of 1994 33rd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (Vol. 3, pp. 2009-2014). IEEE. Rothman, K. J. (2008). BMI-related errors in the measurement of obesity. International journal of obesity, 32(3), S56-S59. Tomiyama, A. J., Hunger, J. M., Nguyen-Cuu, J., & Wells, C. (2016). Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012. International journal of obesity, 40(5), 883-886. Why Doctors Are Moving Away from BMI | Psychology Today I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and if you feel like supporting the blog on an ongoing basis and get lots of rewards, then please head to my Patreon page. However, if want to show one-time support and appreciation, the place to do that is PayPal. If you do that, please include your email address in the notes section, so I can say thank you. Which I am going to say right now. Thank you! Click https://www.buymeacoffee.com/connorwhiteley for a one-time bit of support.