Protective factors in the recovery from psychological trauma – insights from social neuroscience

15 May 2018, 12.30 PM - 15 May 2018, 1.30 PM

Dr. Anke Karl (University of Exeter)

OS6 (Seminar Room), Oakfield House

Psychological trauma such as experiencing severe accidents or natural disasters or interpersonal trauma such as physical or sexual assault or combat and political imprisonment can contribute to the aetiology of detrimental mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression. Development of these disorders and recovery from trauma is associated with individual differences in cognitive-emotional processing of the trauma experience. Increasingly, protective factors have become the focus of research interest, in particular because one of the most consistent predictors of better recovery and reduced likelihood to develop PTSD is social support. The mechanisms underlying this finding are however not yet well understood. This talk will explore the possible benefits of using a social neuroscience approach to PTSD and depression and summarise research in analogue and patient samples. It will also discuss possible clinical implications.

Biography: Anke is the Director of the MDC Biobehavioural Lab and has been strategic lead of the Clinical Psychology Research Group and the Mood Disorders Centre between 2014 and 2017. Anke’s research focuses on biobehavioural underpinnings of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recovery from psychological trauma. She is particularly interested in how biopsychological processes and mechanisms inform the development or refinement of psychological therapies for trauma survivors with PTSD and depression. Anke received research training in clinical psychology and behavioural neuroscience at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. After completion of post-doctoral research at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders (CSAD) of the University at Albany, N.Y., USA, she held faculty positions in Germany at the Technische Universitat Dresden and in the UK at the University of Southampton before joining the University of Exeter. Anke has published her research in leading clinical psychology and neuroscience journals, received research and PhD studentship funding from various German and UK funding bodies and was awarded the Young Scientist Award of the Biological Psychology Division of the German Society for Psychology. Anke also received advanced clinical training at the Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Brandenburg, Germany and is a licensed Psychological Psychotherapist (Approbation) and associate therapist at the AccEPT clinic.

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