The primary focus of my research has been to advance the understanding of interpersonal construing and furthering the knowledge of its role in health (both mental and physical) and in the process of psychotherapy. To this aim, personal construct and self-regulation theories have been important sources of inspiration for implementation, both in research and in practice. Our work is conducted using methods derived from these approaches such as textual analysis and the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT). The latter is an instrument that enables the practitioner to better grasp the cognitive structures used by the individual to ascribe personal meanings to ongoing events. These personal meanings are essential for the understanding of how a person responds to the situations he or she encounters (failure, loss, illness, trauma, separation, success, etc.) across his or her life span. One of our main contributions to the existing literature was the identification of conflicts in the cognitive structure of subjects assessed using the RGT. Said conflicts turn into personal dilemmas the person faces in the process of living, thus blocking his or her development or progress either in life or in psychotherapy. We have set up a research network, the Multi-center Dilemma Project (www.usal.es/tcp) aimed to collaboratively research the role of cognitive conflicts in health (including the promotion of physical and mental health, and the improvement of psychotherapy methods). Our studies show that cognitive conflicts, although also present in the cognitive structures of non-clinical samples, are more prevalent and frequent in various clinical conditions (depression, anxiety, bulimia nervosa, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, women victims of intimate partner violence and others). Moreover, people lacking dilemmas in their grids report higher levels of happiness. Our preliminary studies in the areas of loss and trauma suggest that unresolved internal conflicts might hinder the natural healing processes that would facilitate a better life for these people.
A DILEMMA-FOCUSED INTERVENTION FOR DEPRESSION: A MULTICENTER, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL WITH A 3-MONTH FOLLOW-UP
Cã nete J
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY(2016)
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