Online CALM – Resources for calming the mind and increasing emotional resilience

I found this website today CALM – it’s put together by three lecturers at the University of Auckland, and has a whole series of downloadable MP3’s on methods that will help develop resilience and positivity for dealing with life’s ups and downs. Actually, the whole website can be downloaded and played from a computer off-line, which is great if you’re wanting to access this for your personal use.
The areas covered are Mental Resilience; Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression; Healthy Relationships; and Finding Meaning in Life.

While each area is dealt with quite briefly, there are loads of worksheets and MP3’s in each area. It’s that part that excites me! The MP3’s cover topics like ‘self hypnosis’ (by Dr Bob Large, Psychiatrist and Pain Specialist from The Auckland Regional Pain Service); Progressive muscle relaxation; Mindful breathing; Developing a coping plan; two on relationships; a whole bunch on religion and meaning in life including Catholic, Anglican, Bhuddist, Hindu; and meaning in life.

This site isn’t developed specifically for pain management – it’s for general life! Well worth a visit on a wet Sunday afternoon.

Pain management: CBT or a CBT perspective?

There is a bit of a misconception about CBT for chronic pain management. Some people think that it consists only of cognitive behavioural therapy as it is used for depression or other mental health problems. And this often means people think mainly of cognitive therapy as conducted by clinical psychologists – meaning that clinicians from other professions can lack confidence to be involved.

I thought today I’d outline the views of one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the cognitive behavioural perspective for chronic pain, Dennis Turk. In a paper by Turk and colleagues Kimberley Swanson from University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Seattle, and Eldon Tunk, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Ontario, the psychological models used to conceptualize chronic pain—psychodynamic, behavioural (respondent and operant), and cognitive-behavioural are described. They also briefly review treatments based on these models.

One of the main points of this editorial paper is, in their words, ‘to differentiate the cognitive-behavioural perspective from cognitive and behavioural techniques and suggest that the perspective on the role of patients’ beliefs, attitudes, and expectations in the maintenance and exacerbation of symptoms are more important than the specific techniques.’ (more…)