Blog

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - Part I of II

    Friday March 27th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – part I

    Acceptance and commitment therapy has its roots in behavior therapy, mindfulness and relational frame theory. It associates psychiatric problems with excessive or improper control of verbal processes, known as cognitive fusion; and the avoidance of private experiences, known as experiential avoidance (Hayes et al., 2006). ACT has been endorsed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an evidence-based practice. Dozens of studies have been conducted both in the US and abroad that support its effectiveness with a multitude of client concerns.

  • Psychological Adjustment in Adopted Children

    Friday March 20th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Predictors of Psychological Adjustment in Adopted Children

     

    The Study

    A recent study has focused on the factors that predict psychological adjustment in children who were placed for adoption before they were 1.5 years old. The researchers aimed to find out what affected adopted children’s internalizing (sadness, withdrawal) and externalizing symptoms (acting out, defiance). 

  • Complicated Grief/Prolonged Grief Disorder

    Friday March 13th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Prolonged Grief Disorder/Complicated Grief

     

    Process of Grief

    Many types of loss can have profound effects on people’s psychological functioning, but the loss of another person through death is probably the most difficult loss most people will have to face during their lifetime. Bereaved individuals often yearn intensely for the lost loved one and can experience sadness, guilt, crying as well as many other symptoms.

  • Social Anxiety Treatment

    Friday March 13th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Social Anxiety Treatment

     

    Social Anxiety and 3 Dysfunctional Beliefs

    Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is defined as a continuous fear of social situations that might embarrass or expose one to scrutiny (APA, 2000). It is the most common anxiety disorder and one of the world’s largest mental health concerns (Bener, Gholoum, & Dafeeah, 2011). If affected individuals do not receive treatment for social anxiety, they can experience chronic anxiety as well as significant social and occupational disadvantages (Wong, Sarver, & Beidel, 2012). 

  • Domestic Violence - Assumptions and Treatment - Part II of II

    Friday March 6th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Domestic Violence/Partner Abuse Treatment

     

    Current Treatment and Assumptions

    Whenever a battery/domestic abuse case in brought in front of a court, mandated treatment is usually part of the sentence in every jurisdiction of the United States (Dankwort & Austin, 1999). The most common model of treatment in state-sanctioned programs is called the Duluth model. It is a 12-52-week mandatory intervention following arrest that presumes battery to be a male offense influenced in large part by patriarchal values.

  • Domestic Violence - Characteristics of Abusers and Victims - Part I of II

    Friday March 6th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE – CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSERS AND VICTIMS

    Partner abuse is a worldwide problem; between 10% and 50% of all women report having been abused by their intimate partners at some point in their lives (World Health Organization, 2001). In the US, intimate partner violence is reported by 1.5 million women and 800,000 men (Gondolf & Jones, 2002). In addition, there are many more cases that are unreported to the police, mental health professionals and even researchers. Victimization is often kept secret due to embarrassment, fear of retaliation by the perpetrator, the wish to avoid legal intrusions into their lives, and the belief that abuse is unavoidable and universal.

  • How to Solve Problems Effectively

    Friday February 27th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Worrying vs. Problem-Solving

    Worrying is simply a negative thought process. When we worry, we usually focus on worst-case scenarios, and possible future problems. These negative thoughts often play in our minds like an IPod on shuffle. And even though we keep on focusing on these future ‘terrible things’, we are too anxious to think clearly and find real solutions. Instead, we just dwell in our worst fears. So worrying makes us anticipate and fear things that are unlikely to happen in the future, yet it leaves us unprepared to deal with any real problems.

    Problem-solving, however, is different.

  • Infidelity and Couple Therapy Outcomes

    Friday February 27th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Infidelity and Couple Therapy Outcomes 5 Years Following Therapy

    Infidelity is a common marital problem in the United States, with prevalence rates estimated between 20-40% (Atkins, Baucom, & Jacobson, 2001). Approximately 42% of all divorcees reported more than one extramarital affair during the course of their marriages (Janus & Janus, 1993). Infidelity is linked to increased marital distress, conflict and divorce (Amato & Rogers, 1997).

  • Paternal Post-Partum Depression

    Friday February 27th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Paternal Post-Partum Depression

    Post-partum depression has long been identified as a serious condition after the birth of a child. There has been extensive research on maternal post-partum depression, which has revealed many predictors (Beck, 2001). However, there have not been a lot of studies conducted on what causes fathers’ post-partum depression. From the little data available, it seems that maternal post-partum depression is the strongest predictor of paternal post-partum depression (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).

  • Mindfulness and Yoga for College Athletes

    Wednesday February 11th 2015 - NYBH Staff

    Yoga and Mindfulness

    Traditional Sports Psychology for College Athletes

    College student athletes are a unique group in terms of being at increased risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties (Proctor & Boan-Lenzo, 2010). Not only do college athletes have to juggle academic responsibilities, interpersonal relationships and athletic endeavors, they are also under pressure to present the idealized public image of a college student athlete (Parham, 1993). Studies show that student athletes, especially at highly competitive levels, tend to engage in riskier behaviors (such as binge drinking or drug use) than their non-athlete counterparts (O’Connor & Beck, 2006). Because stress unrelated to sports can have a significantly negative impact on student athletes’ performance, psychological interventions can be particularly useful for this group.

    Traditional sports psychology, also known as psychological skills training, emphasizes the control of internal states (Whelan, Mahoney, & Meyers, 1991). Athletes learn how to control or reduce their negative emotions, thoughts and sensations in order to increase their potential for achieving an “ideal” mental state for optimal performance (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996). The idea is that by reducing negative mental states, athletes can minimize distractions and create opportunities for positive experiences and confidence building. However, trying to control or altogether suppress negative experiences may actually be counterproductive for improving performance. Avoiding unpleasant experiences may provide temporary relief from distress, but when it is done consistently, it can create a rebound effect and increase these unwanted states (Marx & Sloan, 2005). When such ineffective and dysfunctional strategies are used often, one’s cognitive resources can get depleted, which in turn can prevent one from adapting to situational demands and promotes a rigid mindset also known as psychological inflexibility. Psychological inflexibility can lead to a variety of mental health problems, may hinder the pursuit of meaningful and value-based behaviors (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999) and may even be detrimental to athletic performance. 

    The Current Study

    A recent study (Goodman, Kashdan, Mallard, & Schuman, 2014) has investigated the effectiveness and efficacy of a different kind of intervention, namely a comprehensive mindfulness program called Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC). The MAC program was originally developed by Gardner and Moore (2007) specifically for student athletes and it teaches athletes ways to be more mindful and accepting of negative thoughts and emotions, as well as identifying values and committing to behaviors that are in line with those values. The current study changed the original MAC program by condensing its 8-week protocol into 5 weeks (keeping the number of total sessions the same) and adding an hour-long yoga session each week to incorporate more physical movement into the program. Yoga was also added due to its central message of learning how to listen and respond to bodily sensations and learning mindfulness through increasing one’s awareness of their physical and mental states while performing certain movements and poses (Shiffman, 1996). Moreover, regular yoga practice has been associated with more positive emotions, fewer negative emotions, and increased satisfaction with life (Impett, Daubenmier, & Hirschman, 2006) in addition to reduced levels of depression and anxiety (Pilkington, Kirkwood, Rampes, & Richardson, 2005).

    The intervention consisted of 8 sessions as outlined below:

    Session 1 – Introducing mindfulness

    Explanation of the fundamental concepts of mindfulness and practicing mindful breathing

    Session 2 – Introducing cognitive defusion

    One goal of mindfulness is to create cognitive defusion, which is a state of mind characterized by psychological distance from subjective experiences (Blackledge, 2007). This mental state allows one to perceive thoughts and feelings as fleeting mental events instead of facts of reality.

    Session 3 – Introducing values and values-based behavior

    Values-driven behaviors are behaviors in line with one’s values (30 minutes of cardio training to improve conditioning even when fatigued), whereas emotion-driven behaviors are actions in response to emotions and may not be in line with one’s values (avoiding training because it is difficult)

    Session 4 – Costs of avoidance and benefits of acceptance

    Experiential avoidance is one’s attempt to control or eliminate unwanted, negative thoughts and feelings, while experiential acceptance is the willingness to tolerate those experiences in order to stay aligned with one’s values and goals

    Session 5 – Enhancing commitment

    Growth mindset refers to an orientation toward embracing challenges, moving through setbacks and learning from experiences. In contrast, a fixed mindset is an orientation to avoid challenges, giving up easily and ignoring feedback.

    Session 6 – Enhancing flexibility

    Exercises to learn how to redirect attention from internal processed to an external task (e.g.: if one was avoiding lifting weights, creating a plan to life even more weights by focusing attention on the task instead of negative emotions)

    Session 7 – Attention and reinforcing mindfulness

    Different types of attention necessary in sports are discussed along with exercises to envision a sporting situation and identifying how to best direct attention

    Session 8 – Maintaining and enhancing mindfulness, acceptance, and commitment

    Setting performance goals and action plans to achieve them

    Yoga after each session

    Results

    Following the intervention, the members of the athletic team reported greater mindfulness, greater goal-directed energy and less perceived stress than before the intervention. They also reported greater tolerance of negative experiences (i.e.: greater comfort with disgust and anxiety). Several players expressed that mindfulness exercises were the most useful part of the intervention. Through mindfulness participants learned to allow their experiences to occur without judgment and accept them as they naturally unfold. They learned to cultivate an open and receptive attitude that promotes the acceptance of negative states (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Such openness is important for athletes as it helps them navigate the fluctuating demands of the competitive sporting environment. The reported lower levels of perceived stress is also crucial as it might equip athletes with an increased ability to cope with negative events. Participants also reported increased levels of importance of valued life domains. Since college athletes have only a finite amount of resources to devote to multiple competing life domains, it may be helpful to clarify and identify the ones that are the most personally meaningful. Then they can develop goals and channel more energy into the life domains that they value the most. 

    Mindfulness, Yoga, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy References

    Goodman, F.R., Kashdan, T.B., Mallard, T.T., & Schumann, M. (2014). A brief mindfulness and yoga intervention with an entire NCAA Division I athletic team: An initial investigation. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 1, 339-356.

    Proctor, S. L., & Boan-Lenzo, C. (2010). Prevalence of depressive symptoms in male intercollegiate student-athletes and non-athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 4,  204–220.

    Parham, W. D. (1993). The intercollegiate athlete: A 1990s profile. Counseling Psychologist, 21,  411–429. 

    Whelan, J., Mahoney, M., & Meyers, A. (1991). Performance enhancement in sport: A cognitive-behavioral domain. Behavior Therapy, 22,  307–327. 

    Hardy, L., Jones, J. G., & Gould, D. (1996). Understanding psychological preparation for sport: Theory and practice of elite performers. New York, NY: Wiley.

    Marx, B. P., & Sloan, D. M. (2005). Peritraumatic dissociation and experiential avoidance as predictors of posttraumatic stress symptomatology. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 43, 569-583.

    Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Kashdan, T. B., Goodman, F. R., Machell, K. A., Kleiman, E. M., Monfort, S. S., Ciarrochi, J., & Nezlek, J. B. (in press). A contextual approach to experiential avoidance and social anxiety: Evidence from an experimental interaction and daily interactions of people with social anxiety disorder. Emotion.

    Gardner, F. L., & Moore, Z. E. (2007). The psychology of human performance: The mindfulness-acceptance-commitment approach. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

    Shiffmann, E. (1996). Yoga: The spirit and practice of moving into stillness. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

    Impett, E. A., Daubenmier, J. J., & Hirschman, A. L. (2006). Minding the body: Yoga, embodiment, and well-being. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 3, 39–48. 

    Pilkington, K., Kirkwood, G., Rampes, H., & Richardson, J. (2005). Yoga for depression: The research evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 89, 13–24. 

    Blackledge, J. T. (2007). Disrupting verbal processes: Cognitive defusion in acceptance and commitment therapy and other mindfulness-based psychotherapies. Psychological Record, 57, 555–577.

    Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Dell.