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Self Attitudes Part 1

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University of Waterloo
Allison Kelly

LECTURE18 S ELF -A TTITUDES AND P SYCHOPATHOLOGY P ART 1 OF 2 Today’s Questions  Are there common themes across the Axis I and II disorders?  Is there value in taking a trans-diagnostic approach to understanding, preventing, and treating mental disorders?  Are there self-attitudes we can cultivate to help ourselves stay well? Outline  Trans-diagnostic approach to psychopathology  Theory of evolution, threat, & safeness  Self-compassion: what is it, why build it, and what to consider  Research findings on self-compassion  Applications of self-compassion Trans-diagnostic approach to psychopathology Issues with the DSM approach?  Separate disorders with separate diagnostic criteria BUT… o Some symptoms present in >1 disorder o High comorbidity across disorders  A lot of people present with one, recover and then get another one  Fluctuation over time o Diagnostic changes over time o Inherit genetic vulnerability to a range of disorders, not just the one running in your family o Common causal influences  People at higher risk for disorder because of abuse  Genetic vulnerability  Personality vulnerability The Trans-Diagnostic Approach  Focus on factors common across disorders regarding… o Similar Patterns of thinking, behaving, feeling 1 o Similarities in Vulnerability and etiology o Similarities in Underlying maintaining factors o Prevention and treatment  From a range of disorders Ideal trans diagnostic approaches  Attention to biological, psychological, social, and developmental influences o DSM: focussed on what is on the outside: what we can observe o Trans-Diagnostic: Theory about symptoms and ways to test theories  Theory-drive, supported by empirical investigations  Help us understand development, maintenance, prevention, & treatment of many disorders, not just one Gilbert’s theory of evolution, threat, and safeness  Developed by Paul Gilbert o How understanding our evolution can help us to understand our psychology today The Evolved Brain  Humans share “old brain” with earlier species o Oriented towards threat and self-protection  Fight or Flight Reaction o Primitive drives and emotional responses o Relationship Drive  Sex, power, tribalism  But we also have a “new brain” o Frontal cortex allows us to engage in higher-order mental processes  Feel anxious and then assess that, which makes the anxiety worse  Imagining what others are thinking o Requires care, kindness, and nurturing from the moment we are born  Animals require this as well, but we REALLY need it to survive  Our brain needs it to develop normally to regulate emotions and maintain relationships *** Video: ‘STILL FACE’ Experiment (Tronick, 2009)*** Optimal Threat Regulation  Affection stimulates the Soothing-affiliation system 2 o Evolved to regulate threats o Oxytocin underpins affiliative behaviour o Oxytocin receptors in amygdale *** Importance of compassion from others and self Internal Threat and Soothing InInternal ThThreat aand SSoothing InInternal TThreat aand Soothing Selexperienced Selexperienced asunlovable aslovable CALMS CALMS Affilia ve- Affilia ve- Threat Threat Soothing Soothing Neurophysiological Neurophysiological Interrepresenta ons networks Internrepresenta ons networks ootherassuppor ve, ofotherasthreatening, helpfcomfor ng shamingoralarming Emo onamemorieof Emo onamemoriesof From Gilbert (2010) soothing From Gilbert (2010) NOsoothing 11 12 Making sense of psychopathologyFeeling threatened (by both external and internal world) + Being unable to feel soothed, safe, connected (from external or internal sources) 3 Summary THREAT Symptoms: attempts to cope with Unable to regulate sense of underlining sense of being threat via soothing-af iliation defective and ashamed  (Eating Disorders – focus on losing SHAME weight to feel like they’re okay as a Self-protective and/or achievement-focused person. Become strategies to regulate threat (i.eSYMPTOMS ) focused on Shame, self-criticism, and symptoms of psychopathology The Nature of Shame 1. What feelings come up? o Anxiety, loneliness, sadness, anger, disappointment o Threat based feelings 2. What are the key fears? o Rejection, Something wrong with you, people will judge you, Ridiculed, Abandonment, Fear of being found out 3. How do you think others would view you, feel towards you? o Negative views towards you: judging you, unaccepting, sense of loathing or disgust 4. How do you see, feel toward yourself? o Something is wrong with you 5. What are you motivated to do? o Change the topic, forget about it, Rationalization, deny that it is important, self harm,  Not the same as embarrassment or guilt
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