Presentation: Can we find peace inside the Skinner box?

November 8-10, 2023 Yerevan, Armenia.

Despite numerous efforts and teachings dedicated to fostering peace, humanity continues to grapple with achieving harmonious coexistence on individual and societal levels. This presentation explores the profound concept that our innate human nature is intricately shaped by the complex workings of our brains and neural networks. Taking inspiration from psychologist B.F. Skinner's pioneering Skinner Box operant conditioning chamber experiment, I delve into the depths of neural functioning, human behaviour, and the potential biases of thought. By transcending the confines of conditioned thinking, the argument put forth in this presentation is that we have the ability to transform our perception of others and deepen our self-understanding. Through a critical examination of the complexities of our conditioning, this presentation encourages participants to think beyond the limitations imposed by the Skinner box, liberating their minds and expanding their understanding of peace

Presentation: What causes mental illness? Exploring Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems and the origins of mental disorders

USERN; November, 2022.

Translational research is the application of basic science to promote real-world awareness to improve wellbeing and mental health. Despite a high volume of research globally, the consistent rise in mental health problems is not straightforward to explain, prevent and solve.

In the UK, for example, recent data from the Department of Health epidemiological surveys for England (NHS Digital, 2018), show a steady and relentless increase in mental disorders from 1999 to 2017. Epidemiological data are only descriptive of the phenomenon, and understanding the rise of mental health problems ‘would require a broad [and more complex] biopsychosocial approach’ (Bolton & Gillett, 2019; Engel, 1977).

I therefore propose to return and review Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems as a way to track the origins of mental disorders, such as traumatic experiences, and promote functional awareness to reduce the gap between scientific research, interventions and policies.

Presentation: Can you see the elephant yet? CBT and its candles

USERN; IRAN, November 2021.

On 22 June 2021, the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists tweeted: “If antidepressants are not working we have 3 options: increase dose, switch the drug or add in another medication”.

The rise in specialisation has led to isolating and partitioning healthcare providers, and more worryingly, the activities of the brain, the mind and the body. Contrary to this current, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most widely accepted biopsychosocial treatment for depression and anxiety, which integrates neuroscience and a variety of perspectives such as physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioural – along with their interdependence and the interaction between these dimensions.

Here I present the case of a widowed 51 year old client who presented symptoms of depression as apathy, lethargy, oversleeping, isolating herself, feeling bad about herself, and symptoms of anxiety presenting as feelings of tightness in her chest, headaches, nausea, thoughts of ‘I am going to be sick’ and avoidance of leaving the house, public transport and socialising. Rather than isolate certain components and medicating those, treatment involved providing a safe environment, building a relationship, and teaching emotional regulation. PHQ, GAD7 and PCL-5 were used to assess depression, anxiety and trauma pre and post treatment.

Results show that the client has met full recovery, with her symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma improving significantly. This case study has some clinical implications for psychotherapists providing evidence-based treatments and suggests that biological alterations may support negative cognitions, emotions and dysfunctional behaviours and that the whole person is greater than the sum of its parts.

Sleep tight - CBT tips to improve the quality & quantity of sleep (online)

6th January 2021, 7.30pm to 9pm - £12.

Do you wish you could fall asleep more easily, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed? The Dalai Lama says "sleep is the best meditation" and it's true that we process emotions and difficulties while we sleep, so good quality sleep is a key to feeling healthier and more content.

In this online workshop, psychotherapist Umberto Crisanti will lead you through a sleep assessment to understand what the obstacles might be for you, guided through tips to improve your quantity and quality of sleep without medication, and take part in a relaxation exercise. There will be an opportunity for questions at the end as well.

If one of your new year's resolutions is to sleep better, this could be just what you need to get started! If you are a therapist or counsellor, you might be able to get some ideas to support your clients get more restorative sleep, and learn the principles of CBT-I (CBT for Insomnia).

Sign up now via Eventbrite and you will be emailed the Zoom link the evening before the workshop.

Make 2021 the year that you sleep really well, and you'll be able to handle whatever it throws at you!

Presentation: The Art and Science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

USERN; IRAN, 2020.

The term Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) identifies a family of interventions that are widely recognized as the set of psychological treatments with the most extensive empirical support. However, CBT identity has not been static over time, in fact it has been through several distinct reviews, additions, and waves. For example, with the arrival of the most recent “third wave”, new models and interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindfulness‐Based Cognitive Therapy, and several others have been included. The metaphor of a “wave” suggested to some that previous generations of work would be washed away, but that was not the intent and that was not the result [2]. These waves can instead be both distinct and cumulative, creating a metaphorical sea swell when working together, while each maintaining its origin and direction.

This exposes CBT psychotherapists and their clients to a curious paradox: on one hand we are using objective data - evidence-based approaches. Yet on the other hand, it is the subjective identity, data, and experience of the psychotherapist that steers the course of which wave to ride in each moment, that is, which elements of evidence-based interventions are pursued in each therapeutic liaison. We form our identities between potentially problematic interactions between the old and new brain. As we navigate the two, we see the inseparability of art and science in CBT, the interplay between subjective and objective. Developing people’s metacognitive awareness and understanding of themselves and others will enable us to become more compassionate and be able to choose to steer our own course.

Mindfulness course:

NHS, 2020.

  • Week 1: Why the heck we need mindfulness?
  • Week 2: Recharge your batteries (Stress and Sleep)
  • Week 3: Understanding compassion
  • Week 4: Developing well-being
  • Week 5: I am stuck with unwanted thoughts, pain, and emotions
  • Week 6: Mindful communication

KCPS; Kent, 2019.

Using Compassion Focused Therapy in a Frantic World:

Get in touch

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how therapy works, or to arrange an initial assessment appointment. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of coming to therapy, whether it could be helpful for you and whether I am the right therapist to help.

All enquires are usually answered within 24 hours, and all contact is strictly confidential and uses secure phone and email services.

© Umberto Crisanti — powered by WebHealer