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What is Music Therapy?

What is Music Therapy?

What is music therapy? Depending on many things, including my energy levels and perception of the openness of the questioner, this question can elicit from me a breadth of reactions. It's the one most often posed to me, since my decision to train as a music therapist five years ago. It's one for which the answer has since mutated into many fluid variations and continues to be re-defined for me. To a stranger, I will answer, “using music to help others”. To an interested colleague however, the answer is more complex, as music therapy is not one unified...
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Politics, Psychotherapy and Boarding School

Politics, Psychotherapy and Boarding School

“You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps,” read the sign in the ‘greasy-spoon’ café behind whose steamed up windows I had sheltered from the dissolving heavens. Yes, I must be bonkers, I thought. While normal psychotherapists open their doors to all-comers I had somehow ended up specialising in gender – where you always end up treading on someone’s hallowed post-modernist turf – in couple relationships – where the difficult road to intimacy challenges not only the clients – and ex-boarders! For a quarter of a century I have been pioneering a...
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Mysteries of Time Perception: Plug in Your Brain event with Claudia Hammond

Mysteries of Time Perception: Plug in Your Brain event with Claudia Hammond

Most of us are pretty obsessed by time. Either by having too much of it, or running out of it, it dictates much of what we do, and how in control we feel. Time is actually the most commonly used noun in the English language - amazing, I know. The Beatles’ most commonly used noun was Love, so maybe we could take a lesson from that. Welldoing had the pleasure of attending a Plug in your Brain event at Westminster University, where Claudia Hammond, of BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind, delivered an engaging talk about time. I wanted to share a few things that we...
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Movember Moves Men's Health into Spotlight

Movember Moves Men's Health into Spotlight

For the past few years November has lost its harried run-up to Christmas feel and become a must-do month. Why? Movember, of course, when any self-respecting man forgoes a razor to grow a moustache (and only a moustache, no other beardy bits allowed). The money raised (by getting friends, colleagues and family to sponsor him) goes to men’s health - but more all these moustachioed men tell others what they’re doing, and - man to man - they talk about things that men rarely talk about. This week, at the Good Day at Work Conference which focused on wellbeing in...
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iAi Debate: Madness Incorporated

iAi Debate: Madness Incorporated

In our post today, Welldoing brings you a video from the Institute of Arts and Ideas. In this video, President Elect of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra debates the nature of mental illness with psychiatrist David Healy and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall. While we commonly think that psychiatric diagnoses like depression and bipolar disorder are real, many now argue that they have little basis in reality. Should we abandon psychiatry and its classifications? Would this usher in a new era of effective health care or cause widespread...
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From Patient to Psychiatric Nurse

From Patient to Psychiatric Nurse

"Does it make any difference that I have had a depressive illness myself?” “Yes, it does,” replied the Chairman of the interview panel.  “It means that you will have more understanding of the patients”. In the l960s, I had been admitted to a traditional psychiatric hospital which was characterised by an authoritarian system of government, staff hierarchy and custodial care.  Battling with depression, and difficulties with concentration and memory, had left me without energy or motivation. I was panic-stricken at the feeling that I was losing my grip on...
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Great Myths of the Brain

Great Myths of the Brain

Have you noticed how often the word brain pops up in newspapers and magazines, TV programmes and radio shows lately? For a number of reasons  – from the devaluation of traditional organised religion through to advances in research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) –  the brain is having a media-sexy moment. But that doesn’t mean everything you read about it is true. At least, not entirely. This is what prompted editor of the renowned British Psychological Society’s Research Digest Christian Jarrett to write Great Myths of the Brain, published...
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Gone Girl: I Blame the Parents

Gone Girl: I Blame the Parents

It's hard not to blame the parents. In David Fincher’s gripping film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl there are many different dyadic and triadic relationships with which to engage: the husband and wife, the twin brother and sister, evidence-based versus intuitive cop, obsessive past boyfriend with husband and wife, husband, wife and mistress but the one that I kept wanting to pick at like a hardened scab on a child’s knee was the relationship between the central character, Amy Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike), and her Waspish parents Rand and Marybeth...
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Why Do People Take Extreme Risks?

Why Do People Take Extreme Risks?

Imagine climbing up a sheer wall of rock without a rope. Missing a foothold, losing your grip, or encountering a falling rock could send you flying toward almost-certain death. Welcome to the precarious world of free solo climbing. Alex Honnold is widely regarded as the world’s leading free solo climber. He has made some remarkable un-roped climbs, including the breath-taking 2000-foot walls of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The concentration required is extraordinary. Half Dome took three hours to climb the first time he scaled it, and Honnold was one slip...
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OCD: A Life Lost In Thought

OCD: A Life Lost In Thought

I have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than twenty years, but I could not have written this sentence until a few years ago. In fact, the first time I did write that I had OCD I deleted the email that contained the words without sending it. Then, after I did send it, I deleted it from my Outbox. And from my Trash folder. And then I rebooted the computer, just to make sure. Things changed a few months later. That original email had been to a literary agent about an idea for a book on OCD. When I subsequently signed a deal to write the book...
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