Your worried character who lives in the past

I'd never thought of worry and a compulsion to think on past events as a gateway to mental illness, but according to this release and the articles referenced, it is.

We probably all know someone who seems overcome if not obsessed by some past event or series of events.  Perhaps we've even been there ourselves.  I have, but it was something that passed as I worked through it.

But what of someone who can't seem to work through it?  Who continues to struggle.  How does this mind set effect people, say a character in a story you're working on?  Where does it take them?  What is the worst case outcome?  How does it effect the people around them, the other characters in your story?  Or in your life?

As always, it's important to remember that research shows that people suffering a mental illness are unlikely to become violent - they're much more likely to be the victim of violence.

Here's the story with a link to the series in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science.
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Illuminating mechanisms of repetitive thinking

The ability to engage in mental time travel -- to delve back into past events or imagine future outcomes -- is a unique and central part of the human experience. And yet this very ability can have detrimental consequences for both physical and mental well-being when it becomes repetitive and uncontrolled.

The Mindful Path
Worry and Rumination
 Letting Go of Anxious
and Depressive Thoughts

by Sumeet M. Kumar Ph.d.

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A special series of articles in the July 2015 issue of Clinical Psychological Science (CPS) investigates this kind of repetitive thinking, exploring the core psychological processes that underlie maladaptive thought processes like worry and rumination. The series highlights cutting-edge research and methodology with the aim of advancing our understanding of the processes that contribute to mental health and illness.

"Our interest (as a journal) in repetitive thinking is in the role it may play in clinical dysfunction but also in mental health and physical health more generally. Apart from the role of repetitive thinking in clinical dysfunction, such thinking plays a pervasive role in everyday life and more broadly is central to the human condition," writes CPS Editor Alan Kazdin in his introduction. "This series is rich in the facets of repetitive thinking that are discussed and illustrated, including the role of rumination in dysfunction and therapeutic change."

According to special series guest editors Rudi De Raedt, Paula Hertel, and Edward Watkins, the articles collectively provide clear evidence for the advantages of taking a procedural, transdiagnostic approach to understanding repetitive thinking and other cognitive phenomena.

"Conceptualizing disorders with respect to converging patterns could stimulate the development of a new generation of interventions focused on changing the processes of disordered thought and affect," De Raedt, Hertel, and Watkins write in their introduction to the special series.

"Soon gone are the days of believing that clinical psychology can advance merely by describing people's thoughts and labeling them according to diagnostic criteria," the guest editors conclude.

The special series can be found at:

Related stories:
Story Source:  Materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.  "Illuminating mechanisms of repetitive thinking." ScienceDaily, 28 July 2015


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