Psychology Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

2022 Events and Seminars

Dr. Melanie Noel, Associate Professor, University of Calgary

Title: Remembering the Pain of Childhood

Abstract:

From the first days of birth, infants can form memories of pain. Once formed, these memories play a powerful role in shaping future pain and health care experiences. As children acquire language and their explicit memory system develops, these memories become constructed and reconstructed in their interactions with others, and particularly for young children, in their interactions with parents. Memory is not like a tape recorder. You can’t play back an experience and have it recounted exactly as it happened. Rather these memories are highly susceptible to distortion. Children who develop negative biases in memory (i.e., they recall more pain than they initially experienced) are at risk for developing fears and avoidance of pain and heath care, and are also at risk for pain transitioning from an acute to chronic state. Moreover, emerging research suggests that brain regions associated with memory are implicated in the chronic pain state in youth. Once pain become chronic in adolescence, more pathological forms of remembering (e.g., in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) develop which further exacerbates pain and decreases quality of life. Dr. Noel will describe a program of research that is establishing factors implicated in the development of children’s memories for pain, the role of pain memories in future pain experiences, and the development and evaluation of a parent-led intervention to reframe children’s pain memories to buffer against the development of memory biases and lead to better pain outcomes in the future.

Bio:

Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and a Full Member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. She directs the PEAK (Pain Education, Advocacy, Knowledge) Lab within the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada. Dr. Noel’s expertise is on children’s memories for pain and co-occurring mental health issues and pediatric chronic pain. She published guiding conceptual models of children’s pain memory development, co-occurring PTSD and chronic pain, and fear-avoidance (137 peer-reviewed publications; H index = 35). In recognition of her contributions to advancing knowledge of the psychological aspects of children’s pain, Dr. Noel received early career awards from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the Canadian Pain Society, the American Pain Society, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Society of Pediatric Psychology. She was named Avenue Magazine Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (Class of 2017) and a Killam Emerging Research Leader (2020). She also received the inaugural Killam Memorial Emerging Leader Chair (2021). 

January 28th from 1 - 2:30 PST (zoom link will be sent closer to the date to dept members)

Brianne K. Layden, Ph.D., R.Psych., Protect International Risk and Safety Services

Title: Self-Care in Forensic Mental Health

Abstract:

There has been increased awareness in recent years of the impact that working on difficult cases (e.g., assessing and managing general violence, sexual violence, self-directed violence, trauma), or with difficult clients, has on professionals in forensic contexts (e.g., Fansher et al., 2020; Pirelli et al., 2020). Studies of judges, lawyers, psychologists, social workers, and child protective service workers have found some endorsement of indicators of compassion fatigue (CF), vicarious trauma (VT), or burnout (BO) ranging as high as 92% (Bride et al., 2007; Jaffe et al., 2003; Maguire & Byrne, 2017) of respondents. Arguably, the stressors faced by these professionals have only increased during the current global pandemic. To manage and hopefully prevent the problem of CF, VT, and BO in forensic contexts, both the professional and the workplace share some responsibilities in identifying and responding to warning signs. This presentation will: (1) identify the nature and scope of the problem of CF, VT, and BO within forensic contexts and among both trainees and professionals; (2) discuss promising self-care practices for mitigating and managing warning signs for CF, VT, and BO; and (3) highlight the possible roles that each party (i.e., the service provider or professional and the workplace) may play in effectively preventing or responding to CF, VT, and BO by supporting self-care.

Bio:

Dr. Layden obtained BA, MA, and PhD degrees in psychology at Simon Fraser University. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in forensic psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her expertise involves the assessment and management of violence, self-directed violence, and personality disorders. She currently works as a Threat Assessment Specialist at Protect International and provides psychological services under contract to the British Columbia Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission. She has co-authored more than 50 articles and conference presentations and served as an ad hoc reviewer for more than 15 journals. She has provided scores of training workshops for mental health, law enforcement, corrections, security, victim services, human resources, and higher education professionals, including as a certified HCR-20V3 trainer. She serves as an executive committee member (Member-at-Large) of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services, and is the associate editor of Intelligence, an e-newsletter that keeps professionals up to date about recent advances in threat assessment around the globe. She has been qualified to give expert testimony regarding risk assessment in district courts of Massachusetts in the United States. She has received various distinctions throughout her training, including several national scholarships for her research abilities and the Outstanding Psychology Student Award from Division 18, the Criminal Justice Section of American Psychological Association, in recognition of her research and clinical work with forensic populations during her academic training.

January 14th from 2:30 - 4:30 PST via zoom

Dr. Christopher Martell, Director of Psychological Services Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Title: Clinical Sciences Area Seminar 

Abstract: 

There has always been a natural fit for CBT in work with sexual minority and, to some extent, gender diverse, clients given the emphasis on individual differences in treatment planning.  However, not until early in the 21st Century were researchers and scholars looking at the literature on mental health of these populations with a goal of targeting CBT interventions to particularly address mental health disparities.  Dr. Christopher Martell, a leader in this scholarly activity, will provide an overview of recent developments in CBT with lesbian, gay, bisexual clients, and gender diverse individuals. Current research is often conducted through the lens of minority stress theory, which will also be presented.  Specific suggestions for treatment, and introduction of exciting research on treatment protocols, developed by a new generation of CBT experts, will be presented.

Bio:

Christopher Martell, Ph.D., ABPP is Director of the Psychological Services Center and Lecturer in the Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  He is the first author of “Cognitive Behavioral Therapies with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Clients,” the first book to combine literature on sexual minority individuals with empirically supported CBT treatments. He is an internationally recognized speaker and instructor in behavioral treatments for depression and in affirmative-CBT for sexual minority clients.  He is a past president of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 44, Society for the Study of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and a certified supervisor in cognitive therapy through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

January 14th from 1 - 2:30 pm PST via zoom

2021 Events and Seminars

Dr. Dixon-Gordon, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Title: Borderline personality disorder:  The role of emotions in development, presentation, and treatment

Abstract: 

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition characterized by emotional instability, relationship difficulties, poor sense of self, and self-damaging behaviors. Despite the theoretical role of emotional difficulties in models in etiological models, further empirical work is needed to disentangle the role of emotions in the development and presentation of BPD. The present talk summarizes studies identifying the role of emotions in the prediction of BPD features in children and adolescents, and the influence of emotions on behavior among adults with BPD. In addition, implications for treatment of BPD are discussed.

Participants will be able to:

1.       Describe patterns of emotional responses in BPD

2.       Identify the links between emotions and other problem domains in BPD

3.       Discuss treatments for BPD

Bio:  

Dr. Dixon-Gordon is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Research in her lab focuses on the role of emotional processes in the development and maintenance of psychopathology, with an emphasis on borderline personality disorder (BPD). In her work, she utilizes laboratory-based methods to examine the influence of emotional processes on other domains, such as interpersonal functioning. Given the complexity of these phenomena, she employs multimethod research designs, using self-report, behavioral, biological, psychophysiological, and naturalistic assessment (i.e., ecological momentary assessment). Furthermore, she translates this basic research to applied settings, with the aim of streamlining existing treatments, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for BPD and related pathology.

November 12th from 1:00 - 2:30pm PST via Zoom

Dr. Jeremy Wolfe, Harvard Medical School

Title: How do we find what we are looking for? The Guided Search 6.0 model

Summary: 

The talk will give a tour of Guided Search 6.0 (GS6), the latest evolution of the Guided Search model of visual search. Part 1 describes The Mechanics of Search. Because we cannot recognize more than a few items at a time, selective attention is used to prioritize items for processing. Selective attention to an item allows its features to be bound together into a representation that can be matched to a target template in memory or rejected as a distractor. The binding and recognition of an attended object is modeled as a diffusion process taking > 150 msec/item. Since selection occurs more frequently than that, it follows that multiple items are undergoing recognition at the same time, though asynchronously, making GS6 a hybrid serial and parallel model. If a target is not found, search terminates when an accumulating quitting signal reaches a threshold. Part 2 elaborates on the five sources of Guidance that are combined into a spatial “priority map” to guide the deployment of attention (hence “guided search”). These are (1) top-down and (2) bottom-up feature guidance, (3) prior history (e.g. priming), (4) reward, and (5) scene syntax and semantics. In GS6, the priority map is a dynamic attentional landscape that evolves over the course of search.  In part, this is because the visual field is inhomogeneous. Finally, in Part 3, we will consider the internal representation of what we are searching for; what is often called “the search template”. That search template is really two templates: a guiding template (probably in working memory) and a target template (in long term memory). Put these pieces together and you have GS6.

October 28th, 12:30 - 2:00 PST via Zoom

A Talk By Dr. Cornelia Wieman


Dr. Cornelia Wieman, MSc, MD, FRCPC


The Department of Psychology’s Indigenous Reconciliation Committee will be hosting a talk by featuring Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, Dr. Cornelia (Nel) Wieman, MSc, MD, FRCPC.

Cornelia (Nel) Wieman, Anishinaabe (Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Manitoba), is the Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority and has served as the President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) since 2016. Dr. Wieman’s specializations include COVID-19 Response, Vaccine Confidence, Mental Health and Wellness, Addictions, Trauma-Informed Practice, Cannabis, Communications and Wellness Initiatives. Dr. Wieman completed her medical degree and psychiatry specialty training at McMaster University. As Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, Dr. Wieman has more than 20 years' clinical experience, working with Indigenous people in both rural/reserve and urban settings. Her previous activities include co-directing an Indigenous health research program in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and the National Network for Indigenous Mental Health Research, being Deputy Chair of Health Canada's Research Ethics Board, and serving on CIHR's Governing Council. She has also worked and taught in many academic settings, has chaired national advisory groups within First Nations Inuit Health Branch - Health Canada, and has served as a Director on many boards, including the Indspire Foundation, Pacific Blue Cross and the National Consortium on Indigenous Medical Education.

Thursday May 6, 2021

10:00AM via Zoom

Psychology Department Colloquium

Dr. Geoff MacDonald, University of Toronto

Singlehood and Sexuality

Worldwide, long-term singlehood is on the rise and understanding predictors of well-being in singlehood is becoming increasingly important. Sexual satisfaction may be a particularly important predictor given that the sexual aspects of romantic relationships are harder to replace than other aspects like emotional support. In Part 1 of my talk I will provide evidence that sexual satisfaction is an important predictor of life satisfaction and satisfaction with singlehood. In Part 2 of my talk I will provide evidence that sexual satisfaction for singles is particularly low amongst those who desire partnered sexual activities but are not experiencing them. In Part 3 of my talk I will use qualitative reports of singles’ sexual and dating lives to examine who sexually active singles are having partnered sexual experiences with. Overall, I argue that understanding long-term singlehood must involve understanding how singles resolve their sexual desires.

Friday, Mar 26, 2021

2:30pm via Zoom

CSAS Lecture

Dr. Zach Walsh, University of British Columbia

Macrodosing, Microdosing, and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy: New Developments in the Psychedelic Renaissance

The past decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in interest in the therapeutic application of psychedelic medicines including “classic” 5HT2A receptor agonists such as psilocybin and LSD, and associated medicines such as ketamine. This presentation will focus on research from our group examining mechanisms that might underly the actions of large (macro) doses of classic psychedelics and implications for psychedelic psychotherapy.  We will also examine new findings regarding the use of smaller (micro) doses of psychedelics for improving mental health and well- being. Finally, we will explore the use of ketamine in mental health and the potential role of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in the broader psychedelic landscape.

Zach Walsh, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, a Research Affiliate with the BC Centre on Substance Use, and a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where he directs the Therapeutic, Recreational, and Problematic Substance Use lab and the Problematic Substance Use clinic.  Zach is a member of the Advisory Board of MAPS Canada and a member of the International Research Society on Psychedelics. He has published and presented widely on topics related to psychedelics, cannabis, mental health and psychotherapy, and is an investigator on several ongoing studies of psychedelics and cannabis.

Friday, Mar 26, 2021

1:00pm via Zoom

Dr. Evelyn Stewart, University of British Columbia

Title: Risk, Manifestation and Treatment of Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Abstract:

OCD is a disabling, childhood-onset illness affecting 1-3% of the population. Known to be a complex genetic disorder, environmental and other factors have important influences on its onset and expression. In this talk, genetic, endophenotypic and neuroimaging aspects of OCD will be discussed, including a genome-wide association study and a more recent cohort study led by the presenter. Moreover, aspects of OCD manifestation will be explored, with reference to emergent findings from an international collaboration of pediatric OCD researchers. Finally, evidence-based standards of treatment for this disorder will be reviewed, in addition to novel approaches to treatment provision and family support.

Bio:

Dr. S. Evelyn Stewart is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and a clinical and neuroscience researcher. She is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is the founding director of the BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) Provincial Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Program. She is also the Research Director for BCCH Child, Youth and Reproductive Mental Health program and a member of BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services. She leads the Brain, Behaviour & Development theme at the BCCH Research Institute.

Thursday Feb 25, 2021

1:00pm via Zoom