Neuroticism: A New Framework for Emotional Disorders and their Treatment

06/03/2022 - 9:00am to 12:00pm
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Shannon Sauer-Zavala, Ph.D.
Type of Event (for grouping events):

3.0 hours Continuing Education Credit for Psychologists. Co-sponsored by the Kentucky Psychological Foundation, Kentucky Psychological Association and the Jesse G. Harris, Jr. Psychological Services Center (Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky). Pre-registration is required; register for this Continuing Education workshop at Registration closes on June 1, 2022. 

Workshop Description: Neuroticism—the tendency to experience negative emotions, along with the perception that the world is filled with stressful, unmanageable challenges—is strongly associated with anxiety, depression, and other common mental health conditions. This workshop will demonstrate how targeting this trait in psychotherapy can benefit a broad range of clients and reduce the need for disorder-specific interventions. The presenter will describe and illustrate evidence-based therapies that address neuroticism directly, including her own Unified Protocol for transdiagnostic treatment. She will examine how neuroticism develops and is maintained, its relation to psychopathology, and implications for how psychological disorders are classified and diagnosed.

Workshop Objective 1: Participants will be able to articulate the public health implications of neuroticism, as well as the rationale for target this trait in treatment instead of focusing on symptoms

Workshop Objective 2: Participants will be able to describe the therapeutic strategies (e.g., mindfulness, exposure) that have shown promising in addressing neuroticism.

Workshop Objective 3: Participants will be able to describe how personality traits integrated into cutting edge models of psychopathology, and how this information can be used to craft treatment plans.

Primary Presenter Info: Dr. Sauer-Zavala is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky (UK) and is the founding Director of Clinical Services at the UK Clinic for Emotional Health. Dr. Sauer-Zavala received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from UK in 2011; she completed her predoctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at Boston University. She then spent seven years on the faculty in BU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Science before returning home to UK in 2019. Her research is focused on exploring emotion-focused mechanisms that maintain psychological symptoms (particularly high-risk symptoms such as suicidal thoughts and behaviors) and using this information to develop more targeted, easily-disseminated intervention strategies. Her research has been supported by NIMH, NIAAA, Templeton Foundation, the Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Dr. Sauer-Zavala has co-authored over 75 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, and three books. In particular, she is a co-developer of the Unified Protocol and the founding director of the Unified Protocol Institute; she remains involved in consultation and training for this intervention.

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