Open Pages: Relational-Cultural Therapy

APA Books Open Pages is an ongoing series in which we share interesting tidbits from current & upcoming books. Find the full list by browsing the Open Pages tag. APA Books will publish Relational-Cultural Therapy, Second Edition by Judith V. Jordan, in October 2017. The following excerpt is from Chapter 7, “Summary.”

The neurobiological data strongly support the notion that we need connections to grow and thrive. In fact, new data indicate that we need connection to survive throughout our lives; we never outgrow our need for connection (Banks, 2016; Lieberman, 2013). We come into the world primed to seek mutual connection; our brains grow, and there is balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic functioning when there is sufficient early mutuality between infant and caregiver and an absence of chronic stress. However, our social conditioning with its overvaluing of separation, autonomy, and independence is at odds with our underlying biological predispositions. Herein lies a profound dilemma, as these competing tendencies produce enormous stress in all of us. Our individualistic social conditioning erodes the very community that our biology suggests we need. We are neurologically wired to connect (to thrive in relationship) but taught to stand strong alone (to be independent and autonomous). Stress is created at a chronic and undermining level when standards for maturity that cannot actually be attained with any predictability are placed on people. Thus, we are told to be strong through autonomy and separation. But in fact, “going it alone,” or being on the outside, creates pain and a sense of inadequacy. We are told not to be vulnerable, particularly if we are male; and yet every day we encounter the inevitability of our vulnerability. We see loved ones get sick or die; we watch our children suffer with illnesses that we cannot always cure. We watch parents and loved ones succumb to the indignities of older age. We hear of random acts of violence felling adolescent boys in the inner city, of children starving in Africa, of people tortured in prisons. Yet, in our effort to deny our vulnerability, we tend to locate vulnerability in chosen target groups who are then seen as “lesser than.” We marginalize and denigrate those who are seen as “weak.” We minimize the real pain of exclusion and marginalization.

RCT therapy offers a responsive relationship based on respect and dedication to facilitating movement out of isolation. In this context, people heal from chronic disconnections and begin to rework maladaptive, negative relational images, which are keeping them locked in shame and isolation. Energy is generated, feelings of worth increase, creative activity resumes, and people demonstrate enhanced clarity about their experience and about relationships. Most important, they engage in relationships that contribute to the growth of others and community is supported.

References

Banks, A. (2016). Wired to connect. New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.

Jordan, J. V. (2017, in press). Relational-Cultural Therapy, Second Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Lieberman, M. (2013). Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. New York, NY: Crown.

June Releases from APA Books!

Brief Dynamic Therapy 

SECOND EDITION

Hanna Levenson

In this concise volume, Hanna Levenson revisits the history, theory, and practice of brief dynamic therapy.  This integrative approach uses techniques from attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, affective–experiential learning, and systems orientations to help clients with dysfunctional ways of relating to others. This Revised Edition includes updated case examples, as well as new research findings—including process-outcome studies that affirm treatment effectiveness, and new research on the “reconsolidation process” that demonstrates how sudden, dramatic change happens in brief dynamic therapy.

 

 Cultural Humility

Engaging Diverse Identities in Therapy

Joshua N. Hook, Don Davis, Jesse Owen, and Cirleen DeBlaere

This book offers a clear, easily adaptable model for understanding and working with cultural differences in therapy.  The authors focus not on theoretical or clinical knowledge, but on what therapists don’t know about their clients.  They discuss how to work with cultural differences, and how to repair cultural missteps that threaten the therapeutic relationship.  Through case examples and hands-on exercises, this book demonstrates how therapists can use their limitations as opportunities to connect with clients at a deeper level.

 

 Existential–Humanistic Therapy

SECOND EDITION

Kirk J. Schneider and Orah T. Krug

Existential-humanistic therapy melds European existential philosophy with humanistic principles of psychotherapy. In this updated guide for students and clinicians, Kirk Schneider and Orah Krug explore the theory, history, research, and practice of this unique approach, including its increasingly integrative perspective. They demonstrate how existential-humanistic therapy’s emphasis on personal freedom, responsibility, and experiential reflection can help clients free themselves from self-imposed limitations and identify authentic life goals.

 

 

 Feedback-Informed Treatment in Clinical Practice

Reaching for Excellence

Edited by David S. Prescott, Cynthia L. Maeschalck, and Scott D. Miller

Feedback-informed treatment (FIT) employs practical measures that allow clinicians to continuously monitor client progress and the therapeutic alliance, and to tailor their approach to meet an individual client’s needs. This book brings together expert clinicians who have successfully integrated FIT into their own work. They teach readers how they can apply FIT to a variety of clients and treatment settings, including private practice, clinics, child and family therapy, LGBTQ counseling, the criminal justice system, and pharmacies.

 

 Narrative Processes in Emotion-Focused Therapy for Trauma

Sandra C. Paivio and Lynne E. Angus

Emotion-Focused Therapy for Trauma (EFTT) is an evidence-based, short-term individual therapy that has proven highly effective in treating clients with trauma through its emphasis on both narrative and emotion processes. Its fundamental underlying assumption is that recovery requires the client to engage emotionally with trauma memories to achieve self-understanding.  EFTT draws upon storytelling as a fundamental aspect of the human experience, permitting a healing engagement with trauma memories.  Richly illustrated with clinical examples, this book fully integrates theory, research, practice, and training.

 

 

Violent Men

An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Violence

25th Anniversary Edition

Hans Toch

This book analyzes the motives, attitudes, assumptions, and perceptions of men who are recurrently violent.  How patterned and consistent is the violence of such men?  What are the dynamics of their escalating encounters?  What personal dispositions and orientations are most apt to lead to violence?

This special 25th Anniversary Edition confronts recent debates over police violence, describes new clinical applications, and offers reflections from preeminent clinicians and scholars on the widespread impact and enduring power of Dr. Toch’s classic work.

Mindfulness Resources

Over the last few decades, the concept of mindfulness has quickly become a hot topic in mainstream Western culture. Workshops in schools and the workplace are popping up more and more to teach exercises to cultivate general wellbeing and provide stress relief.

Broadly, the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Second Edition defines mindfulness as the “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings,” cultivated is through meditation “in which a person focuses attention on his or her breathing and thoughts, feelings, and sensations are experienced freely as they arise.”

These practices can be incorporated into clinical psychotherapy, regardless of therapeutic approach, and modified as the psychologist sees fit. Here is a selection of products from APA Books that incorporate mindfulness-based principles:

 

APA Books® 

The Art and Science of Mindfulness, Second Edition

Intention is fundamental to any project, endeavor, or journey. Related to intention is the concept of mindfulness—the awareness that arises through intentionally attending to oneself and others in an open, caring, and nonjudgmental way. Authors Shapiro and Carlson draw from Eastern wisdom and practices as well as Western psychological science to explore why mindful awareness is integral to the therapeutic healing process. This new edition integrates the latest theory and research on mindfulness, with new sections describing the neuroscience of mindfulness and mechanisms of change.

 

Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia

This clinical guide presents mindfulness based therapy for insomnia (MBTI)—an innovative group intervention that can reduce insomnia symptoms. Combining principles from mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy, MBTI helps participants create meaningful, long-term changes in their thoughts and behaviors about sleep. This book reviews new research on MBTI and teaches mental health professionals how to integrate it into their own practices.

 

Therapeutic Presence

Therapeutic presence is the state of having one’s whole self in the encounter with a client by being completely in the moment on a multiplicity of levels—physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. The therapeutic relationship is essential to positive outcomes of psychotherapy. In this book, Shari M. Geller and Leslie S. Greenberg argue that therapeutic presence is the fundamental underlying quality of the therapeutic relationship and, hence, effective therapy.

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement 

This book serves as a comprehensive resource on the history, theory, and practice of mindfulness in sport.  The authors present mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), an empirically-supported, six-session program that can be adapted for specific athletic populations.  Each MSPE session includes educational, experiential, and discussion components, as well as instructions for home practice.

 

 

APA LifeTools®

25 Lessons in Mindfulness

This book presents a practical, step-by-step approach for establishing your own mindfulness practice. Brief introductory chapters explain the scientifically proven effects on health, as well as the philosophy behind this ancient practice. The remainder of the book consists of 25 experiential lessons that guide you through various meditative practices. You will learn to be mindful of your breath, sounds, sights, tastes, movements, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings as you maintain a compassionate attitude toward yourself and others.

 

APA Videos® 

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Ronald D. Siegel works with a young man who presents with stress-related chronic neck pain. First he helps the client to see that the mind plays a critical role in his presenting problem. Next, using the therapeutic understanding that resistance to mental and physical discomfort exacerbates suffering, Dr. Siegel works to identify the physical sensations and emotions that the client is struggling to avoid. Through practicing acceptance of pain sensations, anxiety, and other emotions, the client is able to become more comfortable with these experiences as they arise, placing him on a path toward freedom from his disorder.

 

Mindfulness for Well-Being

For most people, even the ordinary demands of life can cause some feelings of unease and stress, and these stressful thoughts and feelings may result in chronic mental and physical fatigue or anxiety. Yet, the seemingly simple act of mindfulness may help reduce the impact of stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. In this video, Rezvan Ameli demonstrates three mindfulness exercises within a group therapy setting and also discusses the science and practice of mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness for Insomnia

In this video, Jason C. Ong works with a group of young male clients who are all suffering from various sleep issues. In this demonstration, Ong teaches behavioral strategies within a mindfulness framework to help the group learn how to cope with periods of wakefulness at night.

 

 

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement in Practice

For many athletes, engaging competitively in a physical activity while staying in the moment can be quite difficult. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) is a mental training program designed to help athletes, coaches, and other performers develop a set of core skills that can facilitate peak performance and optimal experience. This approach is rooted in the practice of mindfulness and typically administered in a group format, but it can also be used with individuals.  In this video program, Dr. Keith A. Kaufman works closely with a group of university golfers who wish to improve their performance.

 

References 

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2015). APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Accepting Anxiety: Worries Can Be Helpful

By Jessica Jeffers

Your mind is racing. You have trouble sleeping or concentrating. Maybe you’re nauseous or your heart palpitates. You’re worried about everything, no matter how big or how small. As anyone who experiences anxiety can tell you: it’s not fun.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 40 million American adults are affected—that’s nearly 18% of the adult population. Anxiety disorders come in many different forms, but they all involve excessive amounts of worry.

One thing that’s easy for many people to forget is that anxiety is actually normal–in small doses. As Bret A. Moore describes in his book Taking Control of Anxiety, many people come to therapy with the unrealistic expectation that they can be rid of their worries entirely. “Trying to eliminate anxiety from your daily experience will leave you feeling frustrated and defeated,” Moore points out. “The key is [to learn] how to manage your anxiety through self-regulation, understanding, and acceptance.” Therefore, the goal of therapy typically is to learn techniques for keeping anxiety under control.

Anxiety evolved in humans primarily as a defense mechanism. It alerts us to potential dangers in our environment and encourages us to respond to these dangers. In this way, it’s an important response to potentially life-threatening situations, such as walking down a dark alley at night or encountering a bear while hiking. Worry becomes problematic, however, when it outweighs the actual amount of danger that is present and when it causes disruptions in your life.

Everyone experiences some level of worry about any number of issues. And these worries can serve a variety of functions that can actually be helpful. For instance:

  • Some anxiety can lead to improved performance. If you’re worried about a big test, an important job interview, or leading a presentation, it’s likely that you will study harder or practice more. That preparation could mean that you end up doing better than you otherwise might have.
  • Anxiety can serve as a motivator. Being anxious doesn’t feel good and most people who are experiencing anxiety focus on what they can do to reduce those feelings. This desire can often serve as the catalyst to change behaviors or situations that aren’t working.
  • People who struggle with social anxiety are excessively concerned about what people might think of them. You don’t want this concern to get in the way of building relationships with others or pursuing goals, but at the same time it can help you become more attuned to the other person’s needs or wants.
  • Visible physical responses to anxiety can serve as a means of communication. It can let others know that you aren’t comfortable, that you need help, and signs such as blushing or stammered speech can even indicate attraction to others.

Of course, excessive worrying can also have negative effects, like hesitation, confused thinking, and poor communication. The trick, as Moore puts it, is to find the right balance for you–which isn’t necessarily the right balance for others. Whether you’re doing it on your own or with the guidance of a mental health professional, part of taking control of anxiety involves finding that balance.

 

References

Moore, B.A. (2014) Taking control of anxiety. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.) Any anxiety disorder among adults. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml.

 

What are Microaggressions?

While the term has been around since 1970, Merriam-Webster only recently added “microaggressions” to its dictionary. It’s defined as, “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.”  Merriam-Webster uses racial minorities as one example; however any marginalized group is vulnerable to microaggressions.

This January, APA Books released the paperback edition of That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. In this book, Dr. Kevin Nadal explains how microaggressions affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Nadal describes microaggressions as the “New Face of Discrimination.” It has become unacceptable in the present day and age to openly voice and act on discrimination. Because of this, it can be commonplace for Americans in the majority to determine that they are not prejudiced, because they associate prejudice with the more outright forms of discrimination, such as hate crimes. However, they may not realize the ways in which their seemingly innocuous statements and behaviors can subtly harass or insult minorities.

Unlike blatant acts of discrimination, the motivations behind microaggressions are often ambiguous. Nadal uses the example of a White woman alone on an elevator who moves to the side and grabs her bag when joined by an African-American man. Nadal notes that there are several possible explanations for the woman’s action, but regardless of her intention, the man may suffer psychological stress as a result.

What can we do about microaggressions? Nadal gives several recommendations.  One location where microaggressions occur most often is in the workplace. It may be more difficult to confront microaggressions in this environment because of power dynamics and concerns over one’s employment status. It also raises the concern that one won’t be able to prove a microaggression to human resources representatives—or to convince them that such subtle interactions are worth investigating. Therefore, Nadal recommends that workplaces remain open to discussing microaggressions, and incorporating education about them in training and hiring opportunities.

 

References

Nadal, K. L. (2013). That’s so gay! http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14093-000