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Understanding and treating anxiety: Making sense of the transition between a necessary emotion and an unnecessary disorder Seminar

Time:
15:00 - 16:30
Date:
13 June 2012
Venue:
Lecture Theatre A, Level 1 Shackleton Building (Building 44) University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 599645 or email A.Marchi@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Anxiety can be both good and bad. In its most common usage, Anxiety is understood as a normal emotional response which is essential for life and wellbeing because of the way it alerts us to and prepares us for threat and potential danger.

This talk is part of the Psychology Postgraduate Conference

 Anxiety can be both good and bad. In its most common usage, Anxiety is understood as a normal emotional response which is essential for life and wellbeing because of the way it alerts us to and prepares us for threat and potential danger. However, anxiety can and does run out of control, taking the form of the clinical conditions known as Anxiety Disorders (including Panic and Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and so on) and can also become part of a malignant interaction with physical health problems, impairing both quality of life and health itself, and creating unnecessary levels of distress and disability. It is clear that normal anxiety and clinical anxiety lie on the same dimension, an understanding which has been key in the development of relatively brief and highly effective psychological treatments. Such treatments have rapidly advanced in the last half century to the point where it is reasonable to conclude that all anxiety disorders can be effectively treated although the requirement for psychological input varies hugely.

In this lecture, Professor Salkovskis will explain developments in the understanding and anxiety and the ways in which it can go beyond being adaptive and become an exaggerated and self-perpetuating response in anxiety disorders. He will focus on the importance of misinterpretation and the behaviours which are motivated by these misinterpretations and which in turn maintain them. The research clearly indicates that people are helped not by psychological treatment per se, but by the way in which such treatment makes it possible for people suffering from anxiety to reach and apply a better understanding of their own reactions. The way in which research into the nature and treatment of anxiety have been extended to the understanding and treatment of both "psychosomatic" and physical health problems will be explained. It is concluded that these developments have reached the point that it is clear that no one should suffer from severe and persistent anxiety; anxiety should be thought of as an unnecessary disorder. The psychological understanding of anxiety also has the potential to considerably reduce the distress and disability experienced by people suffering from a range of physical problems and disease. Finally, future research directions will be considered.    

Speaker information

Professor Paul Salkovskis, University of Bath. Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science. Research interests include: cognitive behavioural factors in obsessive-compulsive disorder and its treatment, health psychology, health anxiety (hypochondriasis), specific phobia, panic disorder and agoraphobia.

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