Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression

CT-for-depressionThis is the second edition of a bestselling work, providing essential knowledge and skills for implementing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The book is based on an 8-session programme covering, for example, awareness, living in our heads, taking care of myself, recognising aversion. Worksheets and forms are available online. Audio recordings of the practice exercises can be streamed or downloaded as MP3s.


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Bipolar disorder

The handbook is written by a mental health nurse and a researcher with experience of bipolar disorder and recovering from it. It provides a shared understanding of bipolar disorder and recovery, as well as drawing upon the experiences of people whose lives have been disrupted by the disorder.

It brings together the knowledge and experience of both health professionals and those with bipolar disorder to create a balanced, informative and very practical guide to good practice in understanding and managing the disorder.

The 36 chapters cover a wide range of subjects, including diet, supporting the family, counselling, warning signs and relapse prevention, to develop the reader’s understanding of many aspects of the disorder. The chapters also contain case studies, exercises and consideration points for those who want to expand on their reading.  

The handbook is divided into four sections covering: theories and approaches to bipolar disorder, inpatient care, bipolar in the community, and related conditions and conclusions.

Optional questions, reflection exercises and consideration points are included so that readers can reflect on their reading and further develop their learning.

Topics include:

  • what is bipolar disorder?
  • supporting the family
  • principles of recovery
  • dealing with stigma
  • advance statements

An all-round textbook suitable for people with bipolar disorder, family and friends, mental health nurses, social workers and other health professionals.

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Recovery in mental health

Subtitled “reshaping scientific and clinical responsibilities,” this translation was published in 2009 and has just reached our shelves.   Authors Michaela Amering and Margit Schmolke practice in Vienna and Munich respectively.   This is not a clinical textbook but a series of readable and mind-changing essays, rooted in narratives, case histories and service users’ accounts.   In part this is a useful survey of the ‘state of the art’ and in part an encouragement to re-think clinical practice into a more recovery-based approach.  It also gives a valuable account of the background, development and uses of ‘recovery.’

In two  challenging sections, the authors look at the implications of recovery-oriented servics for scientific and clinical responsibilities.   How well does the concept of recovery fit into evidence-based practice, for example?  As the introduction says,
“the consequences for mental health policy and services include new strategies and tools as well as evaluative data and attempts at system transformation.”

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Solid – in all senses of that word

book coverTo start this new blog, I’ve chosen one of the heaviest books on our shelves, “Psychiatry: an evidence-based text,” edited by Basant K Puri of Imperial College, London, and Ian Treasaden, of ICL and the West London Mental Health NHS Trust.  Although this was published in 2010, I’ve not had the strength to lift it until now, as it weighs in at a massive 1322 pages. 

The impressive list of contributors is drawn largely from the UK: is this a strength or a weakness?   The first section, The Foundations of Modern Psychiatric Practice, considers how to practice evidence-based medicine, looks at research methods, statistics, psychometrics and epidemiology.    Chapter 6 concludes:

The most neglected step… is the assessment of performance.  As we strive to improve patient safety and care, we must assess whether patients have been helped and then consider what lessons can be learned.”

 Parts 2 and 3 cover developmental, behavioural & sociocultural psychiatry and an overview of neuroscience.  Part 4 reviews mental health problems and mental illness and Part 5 reviews approaches to treatment. 

The problem with any textbook is the time taken to prepare it.  How evidence-based can it be when it takes 2-3 years to produce?   Against that, of course, it can take a few years for new advances in treatment to be thoroughly researched and it is therefore not a bad thing to be slightly behind the cutting-edge. 

What we have here is a very readable general textbook, written from a UK point of view and giving a useful background in scientific methods and neuroscience before launching into the clinical content.   Don’t take too much notice of the ‘evidence-based’ claim.


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