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This blog is to critically introduce, and contextualise, new research findings from developmental research, neuroscience, attachment theory  and other areas of psychology that are topical or are likely to whet the appetite of  anyone interested. The aim is to discuss research which will feel relevant and which might even, if lucky, make a differenc...e to how we approach our work or other areas of our lives. More

Touch, physical and emotional. Abuse or neglect?

 

What is the place of touch, physical closeness, and indeed emotional closeness, in professional relationships these days?  In these post Saville days there seems to be a lot of confusion. Quite rightly people and organisations are wary of the risk of inappropriate touching and of child abuse, awareness of which is thankfully much higher.  Much of my clinical work is at the Portman clinic where we see many sex offenders, and we are all too aware of the serious dangers of ignoring these issues, the vital importance of Safeguarding and the need to ensure children are protected. However the counterpoint is an increasingly frightened and rule-bound culture which looks after professionals and institutions and puts their interests above the children in their care.

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Pornography, adolescents and addiction

How worried should we be about internet pornography use?  There is no question of its prevalence. Over 66% of American men report using it at least monthly, and 40% of women [1] and reportedly about 50% of internet traffic is porn use [2]. For many adolescents pornography is how you learn about sex, what to do, what to expect, how to be with the opposite sex.

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Diabetes, soaring health costs and investing in children's psychological lives

Recently there has been a scurry of worrying statistics about a diabetes epidemic. Headlines suggest that diabetes is threatening to bankrupt the NHS, that there has been a 60% rise in cases in the past 10 years. Amazingly 3.3 million apparently are diagnosed with the disease, up 1.2 million in the last 10 years. Some predict further huge increases in the coming decades.

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Austerity, psychological help and challenging neoliberalism

 

Huge cuts to benefits and services are about to hit millions of Britons which will exacerbate the troubled and troubling times we are living in.  In the UK in the last 35 years the social fabric has dramatically changed,  the Bevanite settlement and welfare state has been profoundly (possibly irreversibly) pulled apart. Since the end of the cold war we have seen the seemingly relentless march of neoliberalism and untamed capitalism, the spread of  globalisation, and of  rising inequality. The world many grew up in and expected to continue is on the retreat and many in the helping professions such as psychotherapists feel the need to find a response which articulates our core beliefs and hopes. This is maybe all the more urgent as attempts are made to co-opt psychotherapy into neoliberal agendas with worrying implications. We have seen a spate of protests about the ways in which the government treats  those who need to claim what we used to call social security and is now derisorily called ‘welfare’  Mental health workers have staged protests against attempts to integrate mental health clinics with jobcentres,  and groups such as the alliance for psychotherapy and counselling are increasingly making their opposition  heard.

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Austerity, psychotherapy and worsening mental health

 

An important letter and accompanying report was published in the national press this week abhorring the effects of austerity and neoliberal politics on mental health services and on mental health generally . This is timely, not just because of the election, but because of the spiraling risks for now and for the future. Anyone working in services knows how they are being severely cut, making it harder and harder to access the kind of help that is needed. Only short-term ‘revolving door’ services are available to people in very serious need. Children’s mental health services are the most poorly funded, much less than adult mental health services which in turn have a fraction of health budgets. As an investigation by the charity Young Minds recently showed, children’s mental health services are in crisis.

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Fighting for good public services: Now for midwives and continuous care

An important new guideline was released this week by NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Evidence, which suggested that pregnant women in maternity care should have continuous one-to-one care. This is an important recommendation and has been widely backed by health officials across the country.

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