Starting with Immediate Experience: A Presentation by Isabel Clarke

What would it look like if mental health providers were trained to be both deeply humanistic, AND very efficient at helping people identify and cope with the issues at the core of whatever their difficulties might be, including psychosis?

It might look like the approach developed by Isabel Clarke and Hazel Nicholls, which they call “Comprehend, Cope and Connect (CCC).”   CCC starts from the perspective of the immediate experience of the individual -‘what it feels like to be me, now’. This approach to mental health difficulties brings together the impact of past trauma and adversity on present coping (comprehend), and utilizes the latest in mindfulness and compassion-focused approaches to manage change (cope and connect).

In the presentation linked to below, Isabel Clarke focuses on using this approach with people whose experiences might be described as “psychosis.”  Isabel brings a uniquely deep and yet practical understanding to this topic.  On the one hand, she has thought deeply about the nature of psychosis, and she has written several inspiring and insightful books and articles on the intersection of spirituality and psychosis.  On the other hand, she has extensive experience working in acute care settings where making a direct an immediate impact is essential, and this has pushed her to develop an approach capable of accomplishing that objective.

“Simple and yet powerful, this impressive body of work has transformed practice wherever it has been introduced. Mental health practitioners should all be aware of it.” said Dr Lucy Johnstone, consultant clinical psychologist and author of ‘Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy’.


Comprehend, Cope, Connect: An Experience Based Approach to Psychosis & Other Mental Health Challenges

About the presenter:

Isabel Clarke’s work spans two areas: psychosis and spirituality, and clinical psychology. Both draw on the research based Interacting Cognitive Subsystems model of cognition, and both seek to bring spirituality into center stage, founding it in cognitive and other research and theory, and regarding it as a central part of what it means to be human.

Recently Isabel has been developing Comprehend, Cope and Connect (CCC –  previously known as Emotion Focused Formulation Approach, EFFA) in the diverse contexts of Acute, Primary Care and Culture Free Adaptation.  See  “ICS Underpinning 3rd Wave CBT”  and the following book for more details:

Clarke, I. & Nicholls, H. (2018) Third Wave CBT Integration for Individuals and Teams: Comprehend, Cope and Connect.  London & NY: Routledge.

Other books by Isabel Clarke:

Clarke, I. (2013) Spirituality: a new way into understanding psychosis. In E.M.J. Morris, L.C.Johns & J.E.Oliver Eds. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness for Psychosis. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.P.160-171.

Clarke, I. ( 2008) Madness, Mystery and the Survival of God. Winchester:’O’Books.

Clarke, I. (Ed.)  (2010) Psychosis and Spirituality:  consolidating the new paradigm.  Chichester: Wiley

About Ron Unger

I am a licensed clinical social worker and therapist who works with people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, using a respectful and skill building approach called cognitive therapy for psychosis. I also talk and teach seminars related to this approach. You can read more about me and about how I became interested in this field by going to my blog, recoveryfrompsychosis.org, and clicking on the tab "about Ron Unger."
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