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53 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
Incorporating the Numinous into Psychological Practice - Ralph Piedmont #2
My guest today is Professor Ralph Piedmont, Professor of Pastoral Counselling at Loyola University in Maryland and a past president of the APA's Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. In this conversation, we discuss spirituality as a clinically-relevant personality trait, and how one can go about integrating spirituality into clinical practice. Ralph is also co-author (with Teresa Wilkins) of the recently published book, Understanding the Psychological Soul of Spirituality. **20% Discount Available to MindStew listeners - with the code BSE20**
50 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
The Psychological Soul of Spirituality - Ralph Piedmont
My guest today is Professor Ralph Piedmont, Professor of Pastoral Counselling at Loyola University in Maryland and a past president of the APA's Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. In this conversation, we discuss the nature of spirituality as a personality trait (arguably the sixth personality trait!) that cuts across cultures and religions, it's relevance for clinical practice and wellbeing and the nature of the FFM domain of openness to experience and its maladaptive expressions. Ralph is also co-author (with Teresa Wilkins) of the recently published book, Understanding the Psychological Soul of Spirituality. **20% Discount Available to MindStew listeners - enter the code BSE20 at checkout**
60 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
The Wandering Mind - Jonathan Smallwood
My guest today is Professor Jonathan Smallwood (@the_mindwanders), Professor of Psychology at Queens University in Canada. Jonny researches the neuroscience of the phenomenon of spontaneous, internally generated thought, as exemplified by mind-wandering and day-dreaming. To me, this is an interesting topic because it is; a) something that we do all the time, b) relevant to high-prevalence mental health conditions (such as rumination and worry in depression and anxiety), and c) is quite different from other most neuroscience areas that tend to be studied through specific tasks. In this conversation, we discuss the function of mind-wandering, whether it makes us unhappy, its relationship to the default-mode network, the position of the default-mode network in the brain's processing hierarchy and the challenges and opportunities of studying spontaneous thought.
56 minutes | Sep 11, 2020
Technoboosting mindfulness - Jay Sanguinetti
In this episode I speak with Jay Sanguinetti, Research Assistant Professor and Director of the NICE Lab (Non-Invasive Cognitive Enhancement Lab) at the University of New Mexico, and Science Director of the SEMA Lab (Sonification Enhanced Mindful Awareness) Associate Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. Dr. Sanguinetti investigates the use of noninvasive brain stimulation to enhance cognition and well-being. We discuss Jay’s work investigating whether focused ultrasound can be used to augment meditation practice in the development of mindfulness. I found this conversation fascinating as it highlights how modern brain technologies could enhance wellbeing and also because the impact could be significant; while mindfulness is an effective intervention for pain, addiction, and mood disorders, many people don’t persist with mindfulness training long enough to experience the full benefits.
58 minutes | Aug 30, 2020
Mindfulness, Interoception and Depression - Norm Farb
In this episode I speak with Norm Farb, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and Principal Investigator of the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics Lab. Dr. Farb studies the neuroscience of the self and emotion with a focus on how cognitive biases shape the emotional reactions that influence well-being, and how these biases and emotional reactions are affected by cognitive training practices such as mindfulness meditation. He has led several influential studies on the mechanisms of mindfulness training and depression vulnerability, highlighting that resilience against depression stems more from the growth of mindfulness-related skills, such as interoceptive awareness, than the eradication of residual depressive symptoms.
59 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
The Phenomenology of Schizophrenia - Josef Parnas #2
Today we speak again with Professor Josef Parnas, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen and a co-founder and Senior Researcher at the Danish National Research Foundation: Center for Subjectivity Research. In our first conversation we discussed the implications of taking the phenomenology of schizophrenia seriously, and covered topics such as importance of clinical experience, and adequacy of current systems to classify psychopathology. But after the interview I realised that we didn’t really discuss the phenomenology of schizophrenia itself and felt that I had missed an opportunity to learn from someone with so much experience. So in this episode, I ask of a lot of basic questions to better understand what schizophrenia is and what life is like for those with it.
58 minutes | May 24, 2020
Phenomenology and Schizophrenia - Josef Parnas
Today we speak with Professor Josef Parnas, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen and a co-founder and Senior Researcher at the Danish National Research Foundation: Center for Subjectivity Research. Professor Parnas has been involved in research into the schizophrenia spectrum for about 40 years, and by using a phenomenological approach, has come to focus on the anomalous self-experiences associated with the schizophrenia spectrum. In this conversation we discuss how we should think about schizophrenia, phenomenology and the importance of clinical experience, and systems to classify psychopathology.
44 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
Empirically-based Diagnosis and Categorisation - Robert Krueger
Today we speak with Professor Robert Krueger, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Hathaway Distinguished Professor, and the Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Professor Krueger’s work spans the fields of personality and personality disorders, psychometrics, and genetics, and is centred on developing an empirically-based system of grouping and delineating psychopathology. This is a topic that I think is important to the way we think about mental health and conduct research into it. And I couldn’t hope to have to have a more qualified guest to discuss the topic with. Professor Krueger was a member of the DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorders Work group, and is an architect of the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology a new, dimensional classification system of psychiatric problems.
45 minutes | Nov 4, 2019
Microdosing - Vince Polito
Today I speak with Dr. Vince Polito, Research Fellow in the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University. Vince works on developing better measures of self representation and investigating how this capacity is altered in different contexts, clinical conditions and states of consciousness. Vince and I discuss microdosing, which refers to regularly taking very small doses of psychedelic substances. Earlier this year, Vince published one of the most rigorous studies conducted on microdosing to date. This is an interesting topic because of its link to the promising therapeutic psychedelic studies currently being undertaken, the positive reports of microdosing in the media, and the lack of empirical research into the practice. We discuss these preliminary investigations and the outlook for this field.
72 minutes | Sep 15, 2019
The Hype and Reality of Mindfulness - Nicholas Van Dam
Today we speak with Dr Nicolas Van Dam, Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Nicholas is a clinical psychologist and directs the Decision Making and Affective Learning in Emotional Conditions lab or DALEC lab. There he investigates the things that make us most like robots, including predictable and algorithmic processes in decision making models, and the things that make us least like robots, including interoception, self-awareness, introspection and meditation. The focus of both streams of work is to help those with high-prevalence psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety, depression and substance-use disorders. In this conversation, we talk mindfulness. We discuss the state of mindfulness-related research and the implications for therapists and clinicians.
46 minutes | Sep 9, 2019
Interoception - Rebecca Brewer
Today we speak with Dr. Rebecca Brewer, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. Rebecca studies social and emotional abilities across a range of clinical and typical populations, and how interoception (the perception of the internal states of one's body) is related to these emotional and social abilities. Interoception is a topic that I’ve been finding fascinating lately. Interoception is important to many processes fundamental to what makes us who we are, from homeostasis to subjective experience itself, from decision making to psychopathology. In this conversation, we focus particularly on the relation of interoception to psychopathology, an area where Rebecca has done interesting work a proposed big ideas.
53 minutes | Aug 20, 2019
Preventative Mental Health Care - Aliza Werner-Seidler
Today we speak with Dr. Aliza Werner-Seidler, a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, affiliated with the University of New South Wales. Aliza works on the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, particularly via school-based and digitally delivered, evidence-based programs. She is currently the Chief Investigator of the largest preventative program of anxiety and depression run in Australia, a randomised controlled trial involving 20,000 young people across 400 schools. In this conversation, Aliza provides outlines the work that she is leading at the Black Dog Institute and gives an overview of the field of preventative and early intervention approaches to mental health care.
47 minutes | Jul 24, 2019
Improving Psychotherapy Outcomes - Tony Rousmaniere
Today we speak with Dr. Tony Rousmaniere, a psychologist in private practice in Seattle and a member of the Clinical Faculty at the University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Tony provides clinical training and supervision to therapists around the world with an emphasis on using deliberate practice to develop the clinical skills that enhance psychotherapy effectiveness. Supporting this work, his research is focused on improving psychotherapy outcomes. We dive into the research around psychotherapy outcomes and how data and technology can be integrated into the training and practice of psychotherapy.
39 minutes | Apr 16, 2019
Positive Psychology at 21 - Peggy Kern
Today we speak with Dr Peggy Kern, Associate Professor at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education. Dr. Kern's research utilises innovative methodologies to investigate: (a) the understanding and measurement of healthy functioning, (b) the individual and social factors impacting life trajectories, and (c) systems informed approaches to wellbeing. Dr. Kern received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Arizona State University, a Masters and PhD in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked directly with many leading researchers in the positive psychology field, including Martin Seligman, Angela Duckworth and Ryan Niemiec, among others. I was really grateful to speak with someone so eminently qualified to discuss the progress, significance and outlook for the positive psychology field some 21 years on from its birth.
53 minutes | Apr 5, 2019
Ultrasound Brain Stimulation with Lennart Verhagen
Today we speak with Dr Lennart Verhagen, a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology who has bet his career on ultrasounic neuromodulation. Lennart and his colleagues at Oxford are pushing the frontier of ultra sound brain stimulation and imagery. This technology has breakthrough even revolutionary potential thanks its ability to stimulate deep brain structures, non-invasively and with great precision. In this conversation, Lennart gives me a crash course in ultrasound and, in particular, low intensity focused ultrasound. We dive into its history, significance and potential as a brain stimulation technology.
33 minutes | Mar 23, 2019
Thriving in the Modern World with Don Hine
Today we speak with Dr. Don Hine, Professor of Psychology in UNE’s Faculty of Medicine and Health. Don’s research is in the area of population level psychology, and specifically environmental psychology. He studies behaviour change strategies around the environmental problems that threaten the stability of life on this planet, such as climate change, pollution, resource over-consumption, and invasive species. However, I spoke to Don primarily about positive psychology and about the recent unit he introduced at the University of New England called "Surviving and Thriving - How to Live Well in the Modern World".
41 minutes | Dec 4, 2018
Anxiety and Depression with Maria Kangas
Today we speak with Dr. Maria Kangas, Associate Professor of Macquarie University's Centre for Emotional Health. Maria is a registered psychologist with dual endorsements from the Psychology Board of Australia in Clinical and Counselling Psychology. Dr. Kangas is also Director of the Clinical Psychology program at Macquarie University. Her research has focussed on coping strategies and emotional regulation relating to stress/PTSD, anxiety and mood disturbances in trauma and medical (e.g., cancer) populations, across the lifespan.
47 minutes | Nov 25, 2018
Humans and Drugs with Stephen Bright
Today we speak with Dr. Stephen Bright, a clinically-trained psychologist, ethnopharmacologist and Senior Lecturer of Addiction at Edith Cowan University. Stephen has over 15 years experience in Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) research, harm reduction and mental health. He is a Member of the AOD Media Watch Reference Group, an organisation that highlights poor examples of journalism regarding AOD-related issues. He is also a founding member and vice-president of PRISM, a not-for-profit organisation supporting research into harm reduction, evidence-based drug policy and the medical application of psychoactive drugs including psychedelics.
34 minutes | Nov 15, 2018
Consciousness and Reality with Bernardo Kastrup
My guest today is Bernardo Kastrup, a philosopher of consciousness with a background in computer engineering. Dr. Kastrup has written 7 books, numerous academic papers and many popular articles, including a slew of the most read articles on Scientific American. Dr. Kastrup makes a case for a universe in consciousness claiming that it both explains more and is more parsimonious which means its simpler, and simpler is better. In making these claims, Dr. Kastrup draws on neuroscience, quantum physics, psychology and philosophy – which made for a fascinating conversation that was both as deep as possible, yet directly relevant to us as mental health professionals and meaning making humans.
15 minutes | Oct 31, 2018
Psychedelic psychiatry with Nigel Strauss
Today we speak with Dr. Nigel Strauss, a psychiatrist with over 40 years experience and Adjunct Professor at Deakin University. Nigel's career has focused on medico-legal psychiatry, in particular Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is Director of Occupational Psychiatry Pty. Ltd. which integrates psychiatry into the workplace. Prompted by the extraordinary results of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD (which was recently granted breakthrough therapy designation by the US FDA), Nigel became interested in the therapeutic potential of MDMA and other psychedelics, a stigmatised but therapeutically promising class of drugs. Nigel now advocates for psychedelic-research in Australia and has published a number of papers on the subject.
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