My doctoral thesis research into tablet-computer based art interventions for people with dementia and their caregivers has been published. You can find the paper here, or here if you are on ResearchGate. I conducted the research with Paul Camic, Sabina Hulbert and Michael Heron. The research explored the impact of art-viewing on wellbeing, both quantitatively (with measures of happiness, wellness and interestedness built into the app) and qualitatively (through interviews I conducted with all the people who took part). As it was an exploratory study, we focussed on detailed evaluation of people’s experiences and as such the sample size was relatively small (12 pairs). The results suggest that art-viewing on a tablet computer can benefit the wellbeing of people with dementia, and have qualitative benefits for their relationships with their informal caregivers. On the path to finding those results, I learned a lot.
When I think about my hobbies, which include photography, cycling, motorcycling, hacking and fishkeeping, I sometimes think they’re quite diverse. After all, some of them usually take place outdoors, and others are very much indoor activities. They also seem like a diversion from the often overly cerebral world of clinical psychology. On further reflection however, there are parallels between all of them and psychology. In what might become a regular feature (at least until I run out of hobbies), I shall describe what I consider to be parallels between them and clinical psychology. The first hobby I shall consider is fishkeeping.
In a previous post, I described the thoughts Clinical Psychology Forum 261 – a special about the gap between clinical psychology and psychiatry. A letter summarising those thoughts was published along with other responses to CPF 261 in this month’s Forum, which is somewhat poignantly a special about ‘Remembering the bio in biopsychosocial’.
Therapeutic use of hypnosis is perhaps most commonly associated with the archetypal psychoanalyst, using it to unlock memories and associations that might be inaccessible when people are fully conscious. This is one possible therapeutic use, but there are other areas where hypnosis is being trialled.
Part of my current placement involves working with children experiencing dystonia who are candidates for or who have had deep brain stimulation (DBS). Since I was relatively naive to the concepts, I have read up. DBS seems to be helpful to clients experiencing a range of motor-related physical problems, and is most commonly used with people experiencing Parkinson’s Disease, and more recently people experiencing various forms of dystonia. There are two main subtypes of dystonia: primary (a discrete condition) and secondary (resulting from other conditions such as brain injury). DBS seems to be more effective for people diagnosed with primary dystonia. This might be related to the heterogeneity of the secondary dystonia group. A paper by John Gardner about the history of DBS was helpful in positioning the treatment in a historical and sociocultural context, but some of the assertions in the paper concerned me.
I recently started my specialist placement: children’s neurosciences incorporating paediatric sleep and a complex motor disorders service. It has been fascinating so far, working with new client groups and in a hospital setting, which is novel to me. It has also been a culture shock, hence the title of this post.
A group of course-mates and I recently wrote a letter to the Clinical Psychology Forum in response to issue 256, which was itself a response to the Draft Manifesto for a Social Materialist Psychology of Distress, written by the Midlands Psychology Group. The letter was published in CPF 262. Continue reading for the letter.
This month’s CP forum special (PDF version at this link) has been quite evocative for me. It looks at the ongoing discussions about differences between clinical psychology and psychiatry. I shall outline my thoughts about the special issue below.