2022 Colloquiums & Seminars


Dr. Melanie Noel, Associate Professor, University of Calgary

January 28th, 2022 from 1:00 - 2:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

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). 


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

January 14th, 2022 from 2:30 - 4:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

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.


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

January 14th, 2022 from 1:00 - 2:00PM via Zoom

Event Details

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.