Lab

 

Mission


Dr. Hadjistavropoulos with doctoral students Michael Edmonds and Joelle Soucy.

To improve the wellbeing of individuals experiencing psychological difficulties via innovative psychological interventions, specifically focussing on:

1) developing, evaluating, and optimizing innovative psychological interventions and therapeutic processes;
2) enhancing engagement in innovative psychological interventions;
3) facilitating implementation of innovative psychological interventions in routine care

Goals

The goals of the Psychology Wellbeing Innovation, Service & Education Lab (Psychology-Wise Lab) are to design, evaluate, and optimize innovative psychological services in routine care by bringing together a collaborative team of researchers, clinicians, students, and community stakeholders; to foster a culture of psychological wellbeing among individuals through engagement and skill development; to promote patient-centered care by transforming mental health services; to train the next generation of researchers and clinicians to perform at the highest levels in developing, evaluating, and disseminating innovative psychological interventions.

Overview

The Psychology-Wise Lab focuses on conducting research designed to improve the psychological wellbeing and overall functioning of individuals suffering from clinical and subclinical mental health conditions, often comorbid with medical conditions. Early lab research focussed on how to optimize face-to-face assessment and treatment of mental health conditions among those with and without medical conditions (e.g., assessment and treatment of health anxiety and chronic pain). We also broadly focussed on how to improve face-to-face healthcare delivery processes (e.g., continuity of care, care pathways). The lab's research has evolved over time to focus on improving access to, and optimising the effectiveness of, Internet-delivered interventions as part of routine care. Through these goals we aim to enhance wellbeing of individuals and reduce suffering related to mental health problems. The majority of our research at this time is conducted via the Online Therapy Unit at the University of Regina, a government-funded clinic that supports the development and delivery of therapist-assisted internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy throughout Saskatchewan. Visit www.onlinetherapyuser.ca. Other research is conducted via PSPNET, which specifically focuses on internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy for public safety personnel.

Research Areas


Luke Schneider, PhD, during an interview with the Leader Post.

Broadly, research in the Psychology-Wise Lab aims to address the following areas:

Engagement:

  • How can we best reach/engage individuals who are suffering from mental health conditions and who could benefit from psychological services to improve wellbeing?
  • How do patients perceive Internet-delivered interventions relative to other interventions?
  • What factors predict interest and engagement in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • Which patient groups have more difficulty engaging in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What therapeutic techniques or materials (e.g., motivational interviewing, content tailoring) can be used to increase patient engagement in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • How does matching therapist support to patient preference or patient characteristics affect engagement?

Interventions:

  • What is the efficacy/effectiveness of diagnostic-specific and transdiagnostic Internet interventions for improving wellbeing and functioning in diverse patient groups?
  • Which clients benefit most/least from Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What are the unique treatment needs of various patient groups (e.g., individuals with insomnia, workplace stress, spinal cord injury cancer, coronary events, postpartum depression/anxiety, chronic pain) or populations (public safety personnel, post-secondary students, agricultural community)?
  • What are patient perspectives on how to improve Internet-delivered interventions?

Therapeutic Process:

  • How can we best train therapists to provide Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What is the nature and quality of therapist-assistance when therapy is delivered via the Internet?
  • What practice guidelines should exist in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • How well do therapists adhere to assigned practice guidelines when providing Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What is the optimal level of therapist support in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • How should patient preferences and patient characteristics be used to individualize therapist support to improve outcomes and engagement?
  • What do patients want from therapists during Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What is the best way to supervise therapists in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What factors predict therapeutic alliance in Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What impact do therapist behaviours during Internet-delivered interventions have on patient outcomes?

Implementation:

  • What are the barriers and facilitators to implementing Internet-delivered interventions in diverse clinical settings?
  • How do healthcare providers perceive Internet-delivered interventions and how do these perceptions impact the adoption of Internet-delivered interventions in routine practice?
  • What policies and procedures impact the implementation of Internet-delivered interventions in routine practice?
  • What implementation strategies improve the adoption of Internet-delivered interventions?
  • What organizational, cultural, and environmental factors within healthcare settings impact the implementation of Internet-delivered interventions in routine practice?
  • What is the cost-effectiveness of varying approaches to delivering Internet-delivered interventions?

Populations


Research Affiliate, Swati Mehta, Ph.D., outside our offices at the University of Regina.

Our studies have explored ways to improve psychological wellbeing for a variety of populations varying in demographic characteristics, including individuals living with:

  • Low mood and depression
  • Anxiety and anxiety-related disorders (e.g., panic, social anxiety)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Post-partum depression/anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes

Methodology

Our lab has published research using a wide range of methodologies, including:

  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Effectiveness trials
  • Longitudinal research
  • Qualitative designs (e.g., patient interviews, focus groups)
  • Online survey research
  • Naturalistic observation
  • Audit and Feedback
  • Cost-effectiveness trials

Training

The Psychology-Wise Lab facilitates training of undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows. Students have the opportunity to volunteer in the lab and may also be employed through research grants or contracts. Students typically gain experience in both qualitative and quantitative data analysis and prospective and retrospective studies.

Affiliations

The Psychology-WISE Lab supports the research conducted in the Online Therapy Unit as well as PSPNET at the University of Regina and collaborates with researchers within the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social Work, and Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy. The lab is also affiliated with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Furthermore, we conduct collaborative research with other researchers in Canada and with international research institutions located in Australia, Sweden, and other countries around the world.

Funding

Students in the lab hold a variety of national and local scholarships. Research in the Psychology-Wise Lab is currently supported by a grant entitled "Advancing Mental Health Care by Improving the Delivery of Therapist-guided, Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Clinical Practice" awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2017 ($971,552 over four years). We are particularly proud of this grant as out of 2887 applications, only 475 applications were funded. Our grant was rated 2nd out of the 99 applications in its cluster with a final rating score of 91.13!

Location

The Psychology-Wise Lab is located in College West at University of Regina in space that was developed with funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund.