Sunday, October 28, 2007

Update: Late October

Entry for 28 October 2007:

Clock change last night after Maggi’s Samhain party. Wet, windy night, rain on the windows. This morning, though, the light has come an hour earlier and the sun is shining again. We’ll regret this extra hour tonight, when the sun sets at 10 to five! I’m off on another train journey, this time to London for an initial meeting of the Training the Trainers project. Sunday is not the best time to take the train; in fact, it’s the worst, because they do repair and service work on Sundays. Today I’m going to have to take a bus from Edinburgh to Newcastle. (This time, I looked at air and bus as alternatives, but wasn’t impressed. Nothing beats the 18:08 train out of London Euston: home tomorrow night by 23.30!)

For whatever reason, the train to Edinburgh is pretty full this morning, lots families. Sun slants into the train carriage, then goes behind cloud. Wet streets flash by. Between the towns, the golf courses are full of puddles and Sunday morning golfers.

Progress report:

1. Two articles of mine have come out in the past week: one in American Journal of Psychotherapy, the other in Psychotherapy (I'll do separate entries on these soon).

2. I’ve learned a lot about the NHS Research Ethics process, and the Social Anxiety Study has now been submitted to the local NHS Research Ethics Committee, to be reviewed at their December meeting. I’ve done the application for the Practice-Based Research Protocol, and finally got it sent off to our research office last night for University (re)approval. This additional ethics process has been a real pain, and has cost the Research Clinic a couple of months of prime recruiting time, and me 4 weeks of work that I’d planned to put in on manuscripts. But it’s been necessary and I’ve learned a lot from it, which I can use in supervising students.

3. Things to look forward to: We’ve made our plans for our 3-week Christmas holiday in Ohio and California, visiting our kids and larger families. We are also in the process of setting up the guest bedroom to function also as a study for me. Yesterday we bought an Ikea table. After a couple months of waiting for the new Apple operating system (“Leopard”), I’m finally ready to buy a new home office computer, and will order it this week. Computer will go on new table in re-functioned spare bedroom.

4. Teaching: Successful new class/workshop offerings on Empathy (Monday Part-time course), Narrative Retelling (EFT-2), Psychometrics/Quantitative Questionnaire Design and Research Ethics (MSc Counselling Course).

5. As I have previously noted, the ominous Improving-Access-to-Psychological Therapies (IAPT)-But-Actually-Making-the-World-Safe-for-Complete-Domination-by-CBT movement has come to Scotland. Fortunately, we (the nonCBT approaches and in particular Person-Centred/Experiential therapies) have been offered the opportunity to make our voice heard. After some initial struggle about how to handle differences in the research evidence for Person-Centred and Process-Experiential therapies in the response we are drafting to the NHS Education Scotland’s request for advice on provision of psychological therapies in Scotland, we came up with a satisfactory strategy that everyone seems satisfied with. (Thanks to Mick for taking the lead on this!)

6. Heather, the Counselling Unit’s long-time secretary has left after 20 years at Strathclyde, to work on a big social neuroscience grant project at the U of Glasgow. This is a great opportunity for her, but has left the rest of us somewhat apprehensive about how we will do on her absence, given that she provided a kind of psychological glue to the place. As Tracey noted, Heather has been taking care of all the little bits that no one else was keeping track of. Now the question is, how many little bits are going to get lost in the shuffle? Until we are able to replace her, we will all have to do our best with grace and good humour.

7. November outlook: November is going to be a challenging month, with three presentations on the new meta-analysis, a presentation at the launch of a new research centre, and a short-course on qualitative analysis in Leicester. We would really like to celebrate American Thanksgiving this year, also! We’ll just have to see how this all falls out.

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