Post Of The Week – Saturday 30th January 2016

1) Health Careers – Psychological Therapies

The Health Careers website run by the NHS is dedicating the next couple of weeks to careers in psychological therapies. Here is an introductory video.

You can find out more here.



Improving Access To Psychological Therapy has been a big part of the NHS strategy to deal with the increasing burden of mental illness. Focusing initially on CBT, the system is based on screening people referred by their GPs and giving them an appropriate level of treatment. This article points out some of the challenges this system now faces ten years after it was first piloted.


3) Personalised Diets

We now accept that a calorie is not just a calorie. In order to understand why we find it hard to diet or why some people become obese, we need to look at how the body processes different types of food, not simply at its calorific value. That raises a further question about individual differences in the way in which we each process the food we eat. Different types of food might be more harmful to some people than to others.

This is explored in this article here. The answer lies in microbes in the gut.


4) The Pentagon And The American Psychological Association

The controversy about the involvement of psychologists in the interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere rumbles on. The Pentagon, according to this article, seems to want to keep the APA onside.


5) Human Support In e-Therapies

Much is now being made of the importance of online therapy. The problem has been in demonstrating its effectiveness. The abstract of this article suggests that the reasons why such therapy fails is imperfectly understood.

It suggests that for such therapy to work, clients need to interact with and be accountable to an expert, trustworthy and benevolent coach.


6) Antidepressants And Suicide

We’re about to start the Depression topic in A2. It won’t be long before we look at abnormality in AS. One of the crucial arguments about the effectiveness of antidepressants concerns the risk of suicide. This week, the BMJ published a piece of research which suggests a raised risk of aggression and suicide in children who take antidepressants. The article is here.

Predictably, there are different interpretations of these findings, a couple of which are in the Guardian article.  More of these are here.


7) Violent Video Games

There was a documentary on the BBC not so long ago about the science behind the link between violent video games and difficult behaviour. Here’s the latest significant piece of research in this area.

It found no association between violent video game use and depression. It remains a strong possibility that the increases in aggression related to such game use are caused by competitiveness, not violent content. This idea was explored in the BBC documentary.


8) Defining Abnormality

We are going to be looking at definitions of abnormality soon in AS. This article is a timely reminder of the difference between feeling sad, angry or confused and being mentally ill.


9) Jamie Hacker-Hughes

In this video, Jamie Hacker-Hughes makes a case for the importance and breadth of Psychology. He would do: he is President of the British Psychological Society.


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