Greenfield Memorial Lecture, Thursday, June 13, 2013, 5:30pm

Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, WI
Refreshments will be served.

Clinical and Neural Perspectives on the Design of Prophylactic Psychotherapies for Mood Disorders

Zindel Segal, PhD, C.Psych

Zindel Segal, PhD, C.Psych

Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Research
Department of Psychiatry
University of Toronto

Zindel Segal, PhD, C.Psych is the Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is Head of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Segal received his undergraduate training in Psychology at McGill University, pursued his graduate studies in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University Toronto.

He is the recipient of several awards, including the Douglas Utting Research Prize and the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario’s Hope Award and has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the past 15 years. His program of research has helped to characterize psychological markers of relapse vulnerability in affective disorder, especially the link between affective and self-devaluation components of dysphoria. This work has in turn provided an empirical rationale for offering training in mindfulness meditation to recurrently depressed patients in recovery.

An author of over 10 books and 130 scientific publications, including The Mindful Way Through Depression – a patient guide for achieving mood balance in everyday life – Dr. Segal continues to advocate for the relevance of mindfulness-based clinical care in psychiatry and mental health.


Clinical and Neural Perspectives on the Design of Prophylactic Psychotherapies for Mood Disorders

Volitional regulation of distressing emotions, a goal common to all forms of psychotherapy, is predicated on cognitive strategies for reappraising aversive events in unemotional terms, or behavioral strategies for suppression of emotionally avoidant behaviors. In mood disorders, a number of reviews have pointed to compromised medial frontal modulation of limbic circuitry as underlying ineffective regulation of negative affects. Compared to controls, effortful down regulation of sadness via reappraisal is rated as more difficult by patients with a mood disorder and is shown to be less successful in decreasing limbic activation. In the presence of these disrupted neural circuits, especially in recovered depressed patients, traditional therapeutic strategies for generating positive affective appraisals may prove less effective. I will present data on the use of mindfulness training to shift regulation strategies from medial and left-lateralized cortical regions supporting cognitive-affective representations of the self to more lateral viscerosomatic representations of body state. Growing evidence suggests that teaching patients strategies for disengaging reappraisal of negative affective content, in favor of engaging attention toward sensory integration, may enhance coping in face of relapse triggering events and significantly improve prognosis following recovery.


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