The Attentional Scope Approach

a psychotherapeutic approach to the breadth and attitude of attention

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Expanded attentional scope supports creative adjustment.

There are two attentional processes common to all mental illness

  • Experiential avoidance (Hayes, S. C., Wilson, K. G., Gifford, E. V., Follette, V. M., & al.)
  • Heightened self-focus “an awareness of self-referent, internally generated information that stands in contrast to an awareness of externally generated information derived through sensory receptors” (Ingram, R.)

Both involve a narrowing of attention.

Attentional Scope and Affect 

  • Narrowed attention heightens impact of negative affect
  • Broadened attention lessens impact of negative affect (Gable, P., & Harmon-Jones, E.)

 

  • Negative affect narrows attention
  • Positive affect broadens attention (Rowe, G., Hirsh, J. B., & Anderson, A. K.)

These are bi-directional processes!

Attentional Scope and Creativity

  • Narrow attention restricts creativity
  • Broadening attention expands creativity (Friedman, R., Fishbach, A., FÃOrster, J., & Werth, L.)
  • Cues associated with narrowed perceptual attention narrow conceptual attention
  • Cues associated with expanded perceptual attention expand conceptual attention (Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C)

Attentional Attitude and Creative Scope

  • Avoidance related cues narrow creativity
  • Approach related cues expand creativity (Friedman, R., Fishbach, A., FÃOrster, J., & Werth, L. )

 

Attentional Scope applied

  • Notice narrowing of attention. Evoke expanded scope of attention.

Watch for The Bounce – a recursive narrowing of attention into self-focus

Feeling about what we think about what we feel about what we think about what we feel….

Concepts are the glue of fixed gestalts.

Nuzzle and Savour

An attitude of approach and savouring, “tasting” for its own sake (I-Thou) the qualities of negative experience. Without “thinking about”, meaning making, “going into head” (a narrowing of attention). Developing presence and contact counters experiential avoidance.

Embrace Space – the whole present situation

Finding the space around the figure. Expanding the margins. Grounding. A deliberate return again and again to an appreciative (I-Thou) panoramic awareness of the present situation, THIS, the unified field, which is the creative void. The basis of inclusion counters self-focus and nurtures possibility of creative adjustment.

 

References and Further Reading

 

Bloom, K. (2011). Ed Tronick: The Neurobehavioral And Social-Emotional Development Of Infants And Children. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 33(2), 214-216.

Bogels, S., & Mansell, W. (2004). Attention Processes In The Maintenance And Treatment Of Social Phobia: Hypervigilance, Avoidance And Self-focused Attention. Clinical Psychology Review, 24(7), 827-856.

Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring: a new model of positive experience. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Cohen, S. (2011). Zero degrees of empathy: a new theory of human cruelty. London: Allen Lane.

Colzato, L. S., van den Wildenberg, W. P., Hommel, B., & García, A. V. (2009). Reduced Attentional Scope In Cocaine Polydrug Users. PLoS ONE, 4(6), e6043.

Davidson, R. J. (2004). Well-being And Affective Style: Neural Substrates And Biobehavioural Correlates. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359(1449), 1395-1411.

Farb, N. A., Segal, Z. V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., Fatima, Z., et al. (2007). Attending To The Present: Mindfulness Meditation Reveals Distinct Neural Modes Of Self-reference. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2(4), 313-322.

Fosha, D., Siegel, D. J., & Solomon, M. F. (2009). The healing power of emotion: affective neuroscience, development, and clinical practice. New York: W.W. Norton & Co..

Fredrickson, B. L. (2000). Cultivating Positive Emotions To Optimize Health And Well-being.. Prevention & Treatment, 3(1), 1-10.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The Role Of Positive Emotions In Positive Psychology: The Broaden-and-build Theory Of Positive Emotions.. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218-226.

Cognition & Emotion, 19(3), 313-332.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The Broaden-and-build Theory Of Positive Emotions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359(1449), 1367-1377.

Friedman, R., Fishbach, A., Förster, J., & Werth, L. (2003). Attentional Priming Effects On Creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 15(2), 277-286.

Förster, J., Friedman, R., Özelsel, A., & Denzler, M. (2006). Enactment of approach and avoidance behavior influences the scope of perceptual and conceptual attention. . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 133-146. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ayelet.fishbach/research/paper_creativity%20research%20journal.pdf

Gable, P., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2012). Reducing attentional capture of emotion by broadening attention:Increased global attention reduces early electrophysiological responses to negative stimuli. Biological Psychology, 90(2), 150-3.

Greenberg, L. S. (2002). Integrating An Emotion-focused Approach To Treatment Into Psychotherapy Integration.. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 12(2), 154-189.

Greenberg, L. S. (2002). Integrating An Emotion-focused Approach To Treatment Into Psychotherapy Integration.. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 12(2), 154-189.

Hayes, S. C., Wilson, K. G., Gifford, E. V., Follette, V. M., & al. (1996). Experiential Avoidance And Behavioral Disorders: A Functional Dimensional Approach To Diagnosis And Treatment.. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(6), 1152-1168.

Hicks, J., Friedman, R., Gable, P., & Davis, W. (2012). Interactive effects of approach motivational intensity and alcohol cues on the scope of perceptual attention. Addiction, 107(6), 1074-80.

Ingram, R. (1990). Self-focused attention in clinical disorders: review and a conceptual model.. Psychological Bulletin, psychological bulletin(109), 156-176. Retrieved June 23, 2013, from http://www.people.ku.edu/~reingram/PDFs/self-focused%20attention%20in%20clinical%20disorders.pdf

Maclean, K., Johnson, M., & Griffiths, R. (2011). Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(11), 1453–1461. Retrieved July 19, 2013, from http://www.heffter.org/docs/2013pdf/Openness-psilocybin%202011.pdf

Mansell, W. (2011, December 21). Manchester Psychiatry Society Blog: Exploring the Underlying Processes of Mental Illness – An interview with Dr Warren Mansell on the Transdiagostic Approach. Manchester Psychiatry Society Blog. Retrieved June 23, 2013, from http://mancpsychsoc.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/underlying-processes-of-mental-illness.html

McLeod, K. (2001). Wake up to your life: discovering the Buddhist path of attention. San Francisco: HarperSanFranciso.

Najmi, S., Kukertz, J., & Amir, N. (2012). Attentional impairment in anxiety: inefficiency in expanding the scope of attention.. Depress Anxiety, 29(3), 243-9.

Rathunde, K. (2000). Braodening And Narrowing In The Creative Process: A Commentary On Fredrickson’s “Broaden-and-build” Model.. Prevention & Treatment, 3(1), 122.

Rowe, G., Hirsh, J. B., & Anderson, A. K. (2007). Positive Affect Increases The Breadth Of Attentional Selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(1), 383-388.

Scope of attention – Psychlopedia – psych-it.com.au. (n.d.). Free Personality Tests, Psychological Questionnaires, Self-Awareness Tools and Much More- psych-it.com.au. Retrieved June 28, 2013, from http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=351

Segal, Z. V. (2006). Cognitive Reactivity To Sad Mood Provocation And The Prediction Of Depressive Relapse. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63(7), 749-755.

Smith, B. (1997). The ambiguity of play. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Srinivasan, N., & Hanif, A. (2009). Global-happy and local-sad: Perceptual processing affects emotion identification. Cognition & Emotion, 24(6), 1062-1069.

Stern, D. N. (2004). The present moment in psychotherapy and everyday life. New York: W.W. Norton.

Stern, D. N. (2010). Forms of vitality: exploring dynamic experience in psychology, the arts, psychotherapy, and development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Trungpa, C., & Gimian, C. R. (2004). The collected works of Chögyam Trungpa. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala.

Trungpa, C. (1973). Cutting through spiritual materialism,. Berkeley: Shambhala.

Unintuitive findings – Performance and creativity – Psychlopedia – psych-it.com.au. (n.d.). Free Personality Tests, Psychological Questionnaires, Self-Awareness Tools and Much More- psych-it.com.au. Retrieved June 28, 2013, from http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=428

Waal, F. B. (2009). The age of empathy: nature’s lessons for a kinder society. New York: Harmony Books.

Whitmer, A., & Gotlieb, I. (2012). An Attentional Scope Model of Rumination.. Psychological Bulletin, Dec(17), 1-30.

Williams, J. M. (2007). The mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. New York: Guilford Press.

Yan, S. (2008). The method of no-method: the Chan practice of silent illumination. Boston: Shambhala.

 

 

APA formatting by BibMe.org.

 

 

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